Rules up for vote on signs, quarries, timber

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

Bridgton voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to:

• limit the use of temporary business signs,

• enact new language governing rock quarry operations and,

• loosen the rules on timber harvesting in the shoreland district.

The proposed to the SPR Ordinance changes also include new rules for abutter notification of building projects, and housekeeping changes throughout the ordinance to make the language more consistent.

Voters will act on these at the polls at the Town Hall on North High Street on Tuesday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mineral extraction

An Aggregate Committee has worked for more than a year on the new standards for mineral extraction, which clearly spell out acceptable noise and dust levels. Hours of operation will be limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. No more than 5,000 gallons of groundwater will be allowed to be extracted each day in order to protect groundwater supplies.

The maximum limit of material that may be extracted per year will be 100,000 cubic yards.

Planning Board Chairman Steve Collins said Chet Homer has withdrawn his application for a quarry operation on Pleasant Mountain, which sparked a six-month moratorium and a six-month extension until the committee could come up with standards. He said he did not know whether Homer will pursue the project under the new standards.

“I think the town responded well with the moratorium, and the planning board was very pleased with the job done by the Aggregate Committee. They were very thorough,” Collins said.

Currently, the only mineral operation in town is a sand pit on the north side of Route 302 near the Fryeburg line that was approved by the board four or five years ago. Not as invasive as an actual quarry operation, the pit is wooded and has a berm in front and is “quite unobtrusive,” Collins said. “A rock quarry is quite different, in that it involves blasting.”

Sign ordinance

The Planning Board’s proposed changes to the sign ordinance probably won’t satisfy all of the concerns of businesses who value the use of temporary signs near the roadside to attract customers, Collins said. But provisions allowing removable letters on reader boards under the permanent signs should allow businesses to advertise their special deals, he said.

“Temporary signs become self-defeating” when they aren’t regulated and compete for the attention of drivers, said Collins. The board asked Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker to crack down on them, and the revisions to be debated by voters next Wednesday are the result.

“We considered their objections to the greatest extent possible,” Collins said of businesses who objected when Baker told them the signs were in violation of the ordinance.

Under the proposed revisions, “Portable signs are considered temporary . . . (and) shall be replaced by a permanent sign within 60 days,” the new rules state. Sandwich board will still be allowed, but must be removed at the close of business each day.

Timber harvesting

Voters will also be asked if they want to adopt state rules for timber harvesting that permit limited harvesting in shoreland zones.

The changes came about after resident Bear Zaidman pointed out that Bridgton’s rules are stricter than state regulations. The Planning Board is recommending that the shoreland zoning ordinance be redrafted to reflect the state regulations.

Please follow and like us: