Town Council Meeting Report

At the May 13, 2024 Town Council meeting, the council voted on the agenda items listed below.    Councilor Jordan Harriman was absent.

1.  Approval of Draft Minutes for April 8 Regular Meeting, Draft Minutes for April 23 Special Meeting, and Draft Minutes for April 29 Special Meeting; 6-0 vote. 

2.  Consent Calendar for Items #92-2024 - Item #97-2024; Item #93-2024 and Item #94-2024 were removed; Approval of Items #92-2024, #95-2024 - #97-2024; 6-0 vote to approve.
Item #92-2024 Consider a Recommendation from the Fort Williams Park Committee to Approve Use of Fort Williams Park for a Regional Military Training Event.
Item #93-2024 Consider a Recommendation from the Fort Williams Park Committee Regarding an Add-On Request for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.
Item #94-2024 Consider a Request from Councilor Anderson to Refer to Workshop Recommendation #5 of the Accessory Dwelling Unit Section of the Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee Final Report and #6 to Develop a System to Track the Number of ADU's.
Item #95-2024 Consider a Request from Councilor Anderson to Refer to the Ordinance Committee Parking Issues Generated by Access to Cliff House Beach.
Item #96-2024 Acknowledge Receipt of the FY 2023 Audit Results
Item #97-2024 Appointment of an Alternate to ecomaine Board of Directors

Councilor Anderson removed Item #93-2024 from the consent calendar.  Councilor Jordan removed Item #94-2024 from the consent calendar

3.  Item # 93-2024 Consider a Recommendation from the Fort Williams Park Committee Regarding an Add-On Request for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K; 6-0 vote.
Councilor Anderson said that given recent community feedback the council received on this item, she felt it was important for the council to discuss.  The request to show a documentary on Joan Benoit Samuelson includes the serving of alcohol, which raised concerns.  Town Manager McGovern said that concerns over paying for alcohol and over consumption will be address with guests receiving a limited amount of tickets ahead of the event.

4.  Item #94-2024 Consider a Request from Councilor Anderson to Refer to Workshop Recommendation #5 of the Accessory Dwelling Unit Section of the Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee Final Report and #6 to Develop a System to Track the Number of ADU's; 6-0 vote.
Councilor Jordan, who requested to remove this item from the consent calendar, said she preferred that all of the recommendations regarding ADU's be considered at one workshop, "I would rather look at it more holistically."  She also said that she would like the council to prioritize recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Committee and look a grid prepared by councilor Anderson.  Anderson amended the motion to, "Send the grid that Councilor Anderson prepared to a Town Council workshop."  

5.  Public Hearing on Update to the Floodplain Management Ordinance
No members of the public provided public comment.

6.  Item #98-2024 Consider Update to the Floodplain Management Ordinance; 6-0 vote.
Upon the Town Council's referral, the Ordinance Committee reviewed the draft Floodplain Management Ordinance on March 6.  At this meeting Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal explained the need for updating the ordinance to comply with federal flood insurance rules.  No revisions to the ordinance were proposed by the Ordinance Committee.  

The motion repeals and replaces the Floodplain Management Ordinance and floodplain maps with updates as recommended by the Ordinance Committee.  The areas of special flood hazard, Zones A, AE, AO, AH and VE for the Town of Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, Maine, identified by the FEMA in a report entitled "Flood Insurance Study-Cumberland County, Maine" dated June 20, 2024, with accompanying "Flood Insurance Rate Map" dated June 20, 2024, as amended, are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this Ordinance.

7.  Public Hearing - Residential Pesticide Use Ordinance
Resident Richard Bryant, who crafted the language for the Citizen's Pesticide referendum from 2023, spoke in support of the revised ordinance.  Saying that the new language, "Expands the referendum language by clarifying it with better definitions," and revamps the structure of the ordinance to better "mesh" with the rest of the town's ordinances.  In addition, it is incoproated with, "The town's existing policy with regard to the integrated pest management."

9.  Approval of Item #99-2024 Pesticide Ordinance Amendment; 6-0 vote.
Councilor Anderson made the motion to approve the proposed amendments to Chapter 28 Residential Pesticide Use Ordinance as recommended by the Ordinance Committee.  Councilor Thompson seconded the motion.

10. Public Hearing on Placing a Non-Binding Referendum on the November 5, 2024 Election Ballot Re: Affordable Housing Referendum Question at Gull Crest.
Two people provided public comment.  One resident spoke against the request to place this item on the November 2024 election ballot.  The second resident said, that he questions the, "Rightness of the question," since only one recommendation from the Gull Crest Feasibility Report issued by Sebago Technics has been completed. "Why put a question to the voters when so many issues are outstanding," he asked.

Councilor Thompson agreed that the studies need to be completed, but that the town "Needs to be continually talking about, looking at, and researching ways in which we can come up with affordable housing projects that can be supported." Councilor Anderson said she would rather see the results of an environmental study on methane gas and PFAS before taking a vote on putting this question on the ballot. Chair Reiniger said that as further reports are forthcoming regarding affordable housing on Gull Crest, the item will be revisited in June pending more information.

11. Item #100-2024 Presentation on Tilson Infrastructure Relating to a Potential Cell Tower Project and Motion to send to workshop and Fort Williams Park Committee; 6-0 vote.
Tilson Infrastructure provided a presentation for a proposal to build a 120' communications tower at Fort Williams Park where the current playground is, with a lease with the town of Cape Elizabeth.  The tower would  provide solutions to "dead spots" to improve capacity and coverage on and around Shore Road with minimal visual impact of the tower.  In 2023, Tilson was hired by Verizon Wireless to provide a macro build-to-suit option for cell coverage improvements without impacting the character of Fort Wiliams and surrounding neighborhoods.  The tower will be able to serve up to four wireless carriers' equipment.  Tilson would aim to build one tower that can maximize coverage for all carriers, reducing the need for additional towers.  Should the town agree, the next step would be for Tilson to produce photo simulations from a variety of vantage points in and around the park to determine visual impact.  Tilson will also complete all environmental and historical due diligence.

Chair Reiniger said that the lack of cell coverage in this area is a matter of public safety.  Councilors Jordan and Gabrielson both said that they are in favor of sending this to a Town Council workshop to discuss the project and possible next steps.  Town Manager McGovern said that usually, the Fort Williams Park Committee is the first body to review any projects concerning the park.

Councilor Gabrielson made a motion to refer the proposal to a town council workshop concurrent with Fort Williams Park Committee's review.  Jordan seconded the motion.

12.  Item #101-2024 Fiscal Year 2025 Municipal General Fund Operating Budget Approval; 6-0 vote.
The Town Council, having held a public hearing on May 6, 2024 adopts the Municipal General Fund Operating budget for Fiscal Year 2025, of $20,976,578 and county assessment of $2,114,494, with estimated non-property tax revenues of $9,817,893, use of fund balance and carry forwards of $850,000 and estimated property taxes of $10,308,685 and hereby adopts the following revenue budget and gross appropriations for each listed department. Proforma FY 2025 Proposed Budget as of 4-17-2024. FY 2025 Budget Revenues, Expenses, and Capital Improvements Program Projects 4/29/2024.

13. Item #102-2024 Fiscal Year 2025 School Department Budget Approval; 6-0 vote.

The Town Council, following a public hearing on May 6, 2024, approves the School Department Budget as recommended by the School Board for Fiscal Year 2025 for a total appropriation of $35,446,986 and estimated revenues of $4,109,749.  Proposed FY 2025 School Budget Binder Section 1; Section 2; and Section 3.

14.  Item #103-2024 Proposed Fiscal Year 2025 General Fund Budget Summary Motion Concerning Property Taxes adoption;  6-0 vote.
The Town Council, following a public hearing on May 6, 2024 does hereby adopt the following items concerning property taxes:  Fix October 15, 2024 and April 15, 2025 as the dates upon each of which one-half of such tax is due and payable.  Interest to accrue upon taxes due and unpaid after each date at the interest rate of 8.5% per annum.  Authorize the Tax Collector and Town Treasurer to accept or decline prepayments of taxes not yet committed or prior to any due date, and pay not interest thereon. Fix the interest rate for taxes paid in excess of the assessment 4.5% per annum.

15.  Item #104-2024 Property Tax Level Limit Increase; 6-0 vote.
The Town Council hereby increases the property tax levy for municipal services to $10,308,685.

15.  Item #105-2024 Consider Recommendations from the Planning Board Relating to ADU Amendments; 6-0 vote.
The council referred to the Planning Board Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Amendments on April 8, 2024.  The Planning Board voted 5-0 in favor sending recommendations to the Town Council for consideration on April 16, 2024.  Upon the Planning Board's recommendations, the council voted to set the ADU amendments within Chapter 19 of the Zoning Ordinance to public hearing on Monday, June 10, 2024.

16. Item #106-2024 Report from the Planning Board Relating to Outdoor Storage Amendments; Council moves to send amendments to Public Hearing; 5-1 vote.
The Planning Board reviewed proposed amendments to Outdoor Storage from the Ordinance Committee.  The Planning Board reviewed the amendments on March 5, April 2, and April 16, 2024 and voted 4-1 against recommending the Outdoor Storage Amendments to the Town Council. In a Planning Board Memo dated April 17, 2024, the board expressed concern with unintended consequences of, "Allowing 2-times existing building footprints for outdoor storage." The Planning Board would rather the 2-times allowance be given to structures no greater than 2,000 square feet. In addition, the Planning Board expressed concerns that the proposed zoning change follows problematic "spot zoning" and has not received input from the public or other business owners.

The draft motion before the council was to refer the amendments back to the Ordinance Committee.  Councilor Anderson, a member of the Ordinance Committee said that the committee had reviewed the changes with the town attorney and changed the motion to send the Outdoor Storage Amendments to a public hearing on June 10, 2024.  Jordan seconded the motion.  The motion passed 5-1 with Councilor Gabrielson voting against.

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