Camden approves plastic bag, polystyrene ban; votes down one municipal measure

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 12:00am

CAMDEN — Voters in Camden favor a plastic carry-out bag ban, as well as a ban on polystyrene containers. They don’t, however, want to decrease the number of requisite signatures for nomination papers.

Approximately 3,313 Camden voters visited the polls, voted early or sent in absentee ballots. Along with the local questions, Camden voters favored Janet Mills for governor, Angus King for U.S. Senate, Dave Miramant for State Senate, Vick Doudera for house representative and Natasha Irving, for District Attorney.

Voters approved all the municipal warrant articles in Camden except one, which concerned reducing the number of qualified voter signatures required from 75 to 25 for nominations for an elected position by petition. Voters also approved a citizens’ initiative to ban plastic carry-out bags.

The results on the individual municipal warrant articles are as follows:

Article 2: Shall Camden vote to amend the Camden Zoning Ordinance, Traditional Village District, to allow the town to facilitate the re-use of the Mary E. Taylor School Building by allowing commercial uses currently permitted in a nearby business district in “publicly owned public schools in use as of 2018” subject to approval of the Zoning Board of Appeals?

This article amends the Camden’s Zoning Ordinance to allow for the re-use of the Mary E. Taylor School Building. The proposed amendment will allow commercial uses, which are currently permitted in a nearby business district, to occur specifically on this property. Any approval for a commercial use will need to be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

YES: 2,233

NO: 890


Article 3: Shall Camden vote to amend the Camden Zoning Ordinance, Article X Performance Standards Part II Section 4 regarding Off-street parking to change parking requirements for Congregate Living Facilities, housing for the elderly, and multi0family residential units in three downtown business districts by reducing the parking spaces required from two to one per unit?

This question changes parking requirements for multi-family residents units in three downtown business districts by reducing the spaces required from two to one per unit, and for Congregate Living Facilities and senior housing where parking re- quirements far exceed need.

YES: 1,750

NO: 1,254


Article 4: Shall Camden vote to amend the Camden Charter to allow the second day of town meeting to occur within 7 days of elections and secret ballot voting?

This amendment to the Town of Camden Charter will allow the Annual Town Meeting date to be scheduled any day on the week following the June elections. Traditionally, annual town meeting has been scheduled on the Wednesday evening immediately following poll voting on the preceding Tuesday. There has been discussion about trying different times and days of the week for annual town meeting in order to attract more citizens to the meeting.

YES: 2,270

NO: 636


Article 5: Shall Camden vote to amend the Camden Charter to remove the required fixed amount of compensation from the Charter and the Wastewater Commissioner’s compensation established by vote at annual town meeting?

A yes vote would remove the stated $500 annual compensation for Wastewater Commissioners and allow the annual rate of compensation to be determined at town meeting. The Wastewater Commissioners are the five members of the Camden Select Board.

YES: 1,969

NO: 899


Article 6: Shall Camden vote to amend the Camden Charter to reduce each Planning Board member’s appointed term from five years to three years.

The Select Board proposed this article after agreeing that it is difficult for citizens to volunteer their time at five-year stretch, and may serve to attract more volunteers to be on the planning board.

 YES: 2,381

NO: 398


Article 7: Shall Camden vote to amend the charter to reduce the number of qualified voter signatures required from 75 to 25 for nominations for an elected position by petition.

The amendment follows Maine’s revised statues, Title 30-A.

YES: 1,132

NO: 1,559


Article 8: Shall Camden add a new ordinance, Prohibition on Polystyrene Containers, which will ban all retailers in Camden from serving or selling all prepared food in polystyrene foam containers and the Town of Camden from using polystyrene foam containers at any town or town department?

This question comes courtesy of the Camden Conservation Commission. A similar proposal is before Rockport voters on Nov. 6.

YES: 2,176

NO: 635

According to the Conservation Commission: “Polystyrene foam is a petroleum-based plastic made from the styrene monomer. A lightweight, good insulator, polysty-rene is largely air. Many products use polystyrene to either keep items warm or cold, or use the product to pack and ship items safely. Polystyrene is not easily recycled and when littered or discarded, creates undesirable impacts on water quality, stormwater, and wildlife, especially since it disintegrates easily into small particles and becomes difficult to retrieve. There are alternatives that are reusable, recyclable or compostable, which are already on the market and readily available.”