KITTERY, Maine – The Town Council will meet with the Planning Board Monday night to discuss a proposed amendment to the town’s sewer system and septic disposal code that will curb subdivisions in rural parts of town.
The code change was the impetus for the resignation last week of Planning Board member Susan Tuveson, who said she felt members of the current board are “self-focused advocates” who want to stop residential development in town.
Under terms of the amendment, the proposal would disallow subdivisions with four or more lots or dwelling units in all parts of Kittery without sewer. Currently, sewer is confined to the more densely populated parts of town. Rural areas of town north of Spruce Creek are not sewered.
This is not the first time the council has met with the Planning Board on this issue. Following a meeting last month, the council asked the board members to list the pros and cons, and most have done so.
Board members expressed a wide range of opinions. Mark Allesse and Karen Kalmar, who Tuveson named specifically as having a “conflict of interest” on the amendment because they live in non-sewered Kittery Point, support the changes.
Kalmar indicated in her list that the proposed amendment preserves the rural character of town, helps “prevent overbuilding, protecting property values of homeowners” and discourages suburban sprawl, among other reasons.
Allesse said in his comments that to “permit suburban style development in rural areas would be philistine, at best, self destructive, at worst.”
But not all board members agree. Bob Melanson wrote that he was concerned the amendment “puts the ‘planning’ cart before the rights of property owners’ horse.” A proposed 24-lot cluster subdivision on Betty Welch Road would go from 24 lots to three-fourths of a lot, he said.
Board Chairman Tom Emerson in his comments listed a litany of concerns, including the fact that it “repudiates” the cluster subdivision ordinance passed by the Planning Board several years ago that would allow a density of houses to be clustered while the remaining land in a subdivision is open space. He wrote he is also concerned that the town leaves itself open to lawsuits.
The workshop begins at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.