Town Council Looking Into New Growth Management Ordinance

By Alex Malm

During the Monday, March 6, Town Council meeting, Town Councilor, Jim Butler, raised the possibility of having a growth management ordinance in town reinstated.
He said they had two previous ones, with the latest one being in 2017.
“We do not have a growth management ordinance in this town,” Butler said.
Butler explained that one of the areas they look at is whether or not they can absorb growth for their police department, fire department, and the school district.
“Can we absorb the growth, that’s key,” Butler said.
He explained that each morning he looks at the police reports that are online and he has seen an increase in the number of police calls to multi-family developments.
“I have some concerns now,” said Butler.
Butler pointed to a number of units expected to be built in town and is concerned that emergency responders are already stained. With more units built, he’s afraid it may begin to impact response times for emergency responders.
“I hope not,” Butler said.
He said they also have vacancies in different departments, which means they are short handed and have to look at overtime in order to provide the services people in the community expect.
“Well that becomes budgetary,” Butler said.
In addition to the number of emergency response calls as of recently, Butler pointed out that during the budget period, the school district talked about looking to renovate and add classrooms. He added that even though they have had a decline in enrollment, the school district still has needs.
Butler said he thinks they should consider looking at an ordinance before it’s too late.
“I think we really need to have an open discussion about providing a new growth management ordinance in this town. We need to control it,” Butler said.
Town Council Chairman, John Farrell, said it has to start at the Planning Board and they would have to follow the criteria from the state.
“I’m all for it,” Farrell said.
Assistant Town Manager, Kellie Caron, said they would need to get legal advice to learn what their options are.
“We would need some legal advice before we would proceed on anything like that,” Caron said.
Councilor, Deb Paul, said she agreed with Butler completely and noted that the growth management plan can include infrastructure, sewer, water, and traffic. She added that if those areas aren’t addressed they’d be allowed to continue it.
Farrell said he agreed with expiring it, but they need clear direction from their attorney.
“It should be something we’re working on,” said Farrell.
The next Town Council meeting is slated to take place on March 20 at 7 p.m.

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