2017-05-19 / Front Page

Zone change tie vote means 'no go' for Sanford Kiwanis project

By TAMMY WELLS
Senior Staff Writer

SANFORD — A proposal to change a zone from residential development to single-family residential died at its second reading by the City Council on Tuesday in a 3 to 3 tie vote.

Concerns over the use of septic systems near the headwaters of Goodall Brook, inconsistency with the city’s comprehensive plan and other issues lead to the deadlock, which has the same effect as a negative vote would have had.

The proposal had been put forth by the Sanford Kiwanis Club, which had requested the change in order to facilitate a building project in collaboration with Sanford Regional Technical Center. The Kiwanis Charity Fund owns 5.5 acres on the wooded portion of Hanson’s Ridge Road.

The Kiwanis had proposed changing the zone in order to place single-family dwellings on the property, built by the SRTC students — the number of houses has fluctuated from five to three as the proposal was aired over several months, first by the Planning Board and later by the City Council. Proceeds from the sale of the properties would have benefited the Kiwanis Charity Fund — and ultimately, Kiwanians said, the community.

As a result of the City Council tie vote, which means the zone stays as it currently is, there can be one house on the property — the city’s current zoning allows one single-family dwelling there, with a septic system. Any additional dwellings would require a hook-up to Sanford’s sewerage district. That is considered cost-prohibitive at present, as public sewer is not currently available there. Kiwanian Mark Patterson, who was heading the project, estimated the cost at $250,000.

The city’s Planning Board recommended against the change, saying the project was inconsistent  with Sanford’s Comprehensive Plan, and the area is one where the extension of public services is called for, according to the Planning Board’s record of action.

According to the city code, the purpose of the Residential Development zone is to provide areas in Sanford and Springvale for the extension of a compact pattern of residential development in areas where public sewer and water service can be extended. The RD zone allows for 6 to 10 dwelling units per acre.

Voting in favor of the change was Mayor Tom Cote, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Lucas Lanigan. Voting against were councilors John Tuttle, Robert Stackpole and Fred Smith.  Councilor Joseph Hanslip, who had been at the council meeting earlier in the evening,  said he had to leave to attend to a family matter and was unable to return for the vote.

Several members of Bauneg Beg Lake Association were in the audience and a couple of them spoke against the zone change.

Member Dana Peterson said the lake association likes the collaborative project — but just felt it should go in a different location — or connect to the public sewer.

Bauneg Beg Lake Association President Ann Whitten said the association is concerned because the parcel is in the area of the headwaters of Goodall Brook. 

Smith, chairman of the zoning subcommittee that looked at the matter before it came to the City Council, noted the subcommittee had twice recommended a no vote. He said the council should uphold the Planning Board’s decision.

Mayor Tom Cote began his remarks by saying he was “on the fence” about the matter, but when it came time for the vote, raised his hand in the affirmative.

“It comes down to balance,” he said, noting there are three single-family dwellings across the street from where the project was proposed. He pointed out a yes vote by the council would still mean the project would come under Planning Board scrutiny.

Herlihy pointed out the 5.5 acre tract can’t support enough homes for the extension of public sewer, and noted the parcel itself presents challenges, indicating a zone change wouldn’t necessarily mean three houses could be situated there.

“If people want it vacant forever, they should buy it,” Herlihy said pointing out she believed many Bauneg Beg Lake dwellers used septic systems.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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