Selectmen to continue hearing on Comp Plan

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen agreed Tuesday to continue the formal public hearing on the updated Comprehensive Plan until Aug. 26, so that changes can still be made on unresolved questions before sending the plan to voters in November.

No one from the public had questions or comments on the plan, which is the result of over three years of work by the Comprehensive Plan Committee. Committee Chairman Bob Wiser told the board the committee will not disband until the plan has been accepted by the state, and that they would meet on an as-needed basis or upon request by citizens or the town.

The committee made several changes to the plan in response to questions raised by selectmen in two joint meetings held recently to review the draft plan. But on Tuesday, one issue remained unresolved regarding proposed changes to the Planning Board’s authority.

The committee wants the planning board to be empowered to implement the management plan that will arise from the new Comprehensive Plan. When selectmen, in the joint workshops, disagreed on that point, the committee revised the plan to recommend that a citizen group would work with town staff to review staff-generated language on ordinance revisions.

Selectman Paul Hoyt said Tuesday he didn’t think selectmen had agreed to create such a citizen group, and Chairman Bernie King agreed. Selectmen also noted that Planning Board members still needed to give their opinion about taking on the task of ordinance implementation in addition to their current enforcement and review responsibilities.

CPC member Greg Jones said that the action section of the plan is just recommendations, and that there is no requirement that the recommendations be acted upon.

Hoyt disagreed, pointing to the written strategy to allowing the Planning Board to implement the management plan.

“There’s no gray area (here),” Hoyt said. “It says modify.”

The actual strategy language is as follows: “Modify Town Ordinance to allow Planning Board to undertake amendments to all land use ordinances as part of their charge.”

CPC member Chuck Renneker noted that the Planning Board, in undertaking ordinance amendments, “is actually taking actions that are not part of their charge,” and the intent is simply to make it part of their formal charge.

Please follow and like us: