Town Council Meeting Report

At the November 13, 2023 Town Council meeting, the council voted on the agenda items listed below.  All members of the council were present.

1.  Approval of Draft Minutes from October 11, 2023; 6-0 vote.

2.  Approval of Item #133-2023  Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance Relating to LD 2003; 6-1 vote.
Following a public hearing which lasted approximately 40 minutes, Councilor Nicole Boucher made the motion to approve the Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance Relating to LD 2003; Councilor Penny Jordan seconded.  The motion did not include the Ordinance Committee's Statement of Findings.  Councilor Timothy Reiniger made an amendment to Boucher's motion which sought to substitute the proposed amendments with his own amendments from September 29, 2023; Councilor Susan Gillis seconded his amended motion. The council first voted to reject the motion with a 2-5 vote. However, Reiniger asked for Town Clerk Debra Lane to take a roll count vote. Upon the roll call, the motion again failed by a vote of 1-6; Gillis voted in favor, while Reiniger voted against his own motion. The original motion to approve the proposed amendments, but not the Statement of Findings, passed 6-1; Reiniger voted in opposition.

3. Item #134-2023 Request from Councilor Reiniger to Dismiss the Lawsuit Against The Lumbery; Approval of Motion to dismiss lawsuit without prejudice: 7-0 vote.
Reiniger made a motion to dismiss the Town's lawsuit against The Lumbery; Gillis seconded.  Town Attorney Mary Costigan informed that lawsuit is stayed until mid December; how soon the lawsuit would reach the courts is unclear.  Given that the Ordinance Committee is working on amendments to Outdoor Storage which could conceivably aid The Lumbery with compliance issue, Reiniger made a friendly amendment to his motion to include dismissing the lawsuit "without prejudice."  Costigan explained that a motion which includes "without prejudice" permits the Town to go back to court on this same issue, should it be necessary.

3.  Approval to set Item #135-2023 Proposed Home Business Amendments to a Public Hearing; 7-0 vote. 
The Town Council voted unanimously in favor of setting the Proposed Home Business Amendments to a Public Hearing on December 11, 2023.  Following the public hearing the council will consider voting on the amendments on the same date or setting a vote to a future date.  Chair Jeremy Gabrielson said that the intent of the amendments is support the environment in which local businesses currently operate, many business owners working from home.

4.  Approval to refer Item #136-2023 Proposed Project Submission Amendments to the Planning Board to the Ordinance Committee; 7-0 vote.
The Town Council voted unanimously in favor of referring to the Ordinance Committee, the proposed Project Submission Amendments to Chapter 19 Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 16 Subdivision Ordinance, and the Planning Board Rules as recommended by the Planning Board.  On June 12, 2023 the Town Council referred to the Planning Board amendments to update submission deadlines and digital submission of materials. The Planning Board reviewed the amendments package at a workshop held on June 6, September 5, and October 3.  Following a Public Hearing on October 16, the Planning Board voted unanimously to forward recommendations to the Town Council.  The amendments seek to increase transparency and ease of submission of documents to the Planning Board for their review.  In addition, to make changes to submission deadlines that work in conjunction with the Town's new four-day work week.

5.  Motion to table Item #137-2023 Consider Acknowledging Enactment by Voters to Adopt a Cape Elizabeth Residential Pesticide Use Ordinance and Adoption of the Ordinance; 7-0 vote.
Although the citizen referendum relating to Residential Pesticide Use Ordinance was passed by the voters at the November 7, 2023 election, State law requires that the State be notified of ordinances relating to pesticides 30 days prior to taking effect. As a result, the item has been tabled in order to give staff needed time to comply with state requirements. Gabrielson indicated that the citizens behind the Ordinance are aware of the delay and are in agreement with the necessary procedural steps. Councilor Gretchen Noonan pointed out that scheduling a future workshop to clarify the list of pesticides on the ordinance would be appreciated by the public; the council will look to early January of 2024 to schedule such a workshop.

6.  Approval of Item 138-2023 Proposed Carry Forward Balances; 7-0 vote.
The council voted unanimously in favor of approving and authorizing a total of $358,042 to be carried forward from the FY 2023 budget to the FY 2024 budget as recommended by Finance Director Kristie Bradley.  Normally any remaining balances are approved in August.   However, with the death of former Finance Director John Quartararo, the agenda item was moved to November.

7.  Motion to Adjourn; 7-0 vote.
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