June Town Meeting: On the warrant

Camden voters to consider rules for commercial marijuana cultivation, littering, formula restaurants

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 3:45pm

CAMDEN — Camden has five unique ordinance amendments it is placing before voters on June 11, at the annual town meeting polls. The proposed amendments cover new rules governing where — and how much — one can grow marijuana for commercial purposes; the zones where a businessperson can establish a formula-based restaurant; how an inn in one district can serve meals to the general public; how farmers and independent food processors can package and sell their products; and what constitutes littering, and its associated fines.  

Voting will take place 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Camden Public Safety Building on Washington Street, and in addition to the proposed ordinance amendments, citizens will also consider a line of candidates for various municipal offices. (Read: A lean roster of candidates running for Camden’s open municipal, school seats) 

The Tuesday voting precedes June Town Meeting 2019, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House. There, the town will consider a 2019-2020 $6 million municipal budget with a 2.5 percent increase over the current budget.

The warrant articles that will appear at the polls on June 11 are as follows:

Article 3: Allow Food Service in Existing Hotels in Village District

These amendments would authorize all Hotels in the Traditional Village District (Camden Harbour Inn, Norumbega Inn and Whitehall Inn),to serve the public as well as their guests within the limit described above.  Permission to initially establish food service to the public will be granted only after review for a Special Exception by the Zoning Board of Appeals, including a public hearing where citizens can provide comments/concerns. Hotels currently grandfathered and already serving the public are not affected by this change as long as that practice continues.

The history of this amendment dates back a year to when current Camden development director and planner Jeremy Martin first assumed the job and got acquainted with Camden zoning. He met the owners of the Norumbega Inn, on Route 1 north, and learned that two hotels in Camden’s Traditional Village District were allowed to serve meals to the public, but the Norumbega, under existing zoning, was not.

“The Norumbega was interested in serving food the public,” said Martin.

Planning Board Recommends:  4-0-0     Select Board Recommends:  5-0-0

To read the proposed changes in entirety, click here.


Article 4: Marijuana Cultivation Facilities

These amendments would authorize the two smallest sized indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation (growing, harvesting, curing, grading and trimming) facilities as defined by the State of Maine.  There is no part of this amendment that addresses the retail sale of marijuana.

An application to establish a marijuana cultivation facility would require Special Exception review by the Zoning Board of Appeals which includes a public hearing and a review of the Performance Standards developed to protect the general public and to mitigate potential adverse impacts on abutting properties.  In addition, a Marijuana Cultivation Facility license from the town will be required.  The actual licensing procedure and enabling ordinance, yet to be enacted, will be similar to other annual municipal licensing reviews and approvals.

This zoning ordinance amendment follows more than a year of discussion and planning by Camden’s Marijuana Working Group to create rules for where and how much marijuana can be cultivated for commercial purposes in the town of Camden. 

In November 2016, Maine residents approved a citizens’ initiative to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Camden assembled its own committee to draft local rules and subsequently drafted a tiered system for the cultivation of pot.

A Tier 1 facility of the proposed ordinance allows for cultivation of not more than 30 mature plants and an unlimited number of immature plants.

A Tier 2 facility allows cultivation of not more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy.

Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 indoor and outdoor facilities, if the ordinance is approved, would be allowed in Rural 1 and Rural 2 Districts on lots of 1.5 acres or more in size.

Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 indoor and outdoor facilities, if the ordinance is approved, would be allowed in Coastal Residential District and the Village Extension District on lots of 1.5 acres or more in size, as a special exception.

Just Tier 1 and 2 indoor marijuana cultivation facilities would be allowed in the Highway Business District (B-1) and just Tier 1 would be allowed Transitional Business District (B-3), as special exceptions.

Tier 1 and 2 indoor facilities would be allowed in the Harbor Business District (B-H) as a special exception, as well as in the Transitional Business District.

The town has added language that reads: “Facilities Operators should not that town permits or approvals provide no protection or indemnification against enforcement of federal or state applicable laws that may prohibit operation of a marijuana cultivation facility.”

Click here to read the entire ordinance amendment

Planning Board Recommends:  5-0-0           Select Board Recommends:  5-0-0


Article 5: Formula Based Food Service

These amendments would prohibit large chain restaurants from locating in Downtown Business Districts and limit their location to a single district, the B-2, where Camden's only Formula-Based Food Service is located.  The current existing Ordinance provisions allow chain restaurants of any size to locate in any of the Districts where a Restaurant is presently a permitted use.

The genesis of these amendments rests on a 2009 bid to establish a Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Camden. General opposition to that business proposal lead to an intention to craft rules against food chains establishing storefronts in the downtown, but that did not happen. 

Last year, another exploratory inquiry concerning Dunkin’ Donuts was made and after word of that got around the town, Martin said he was approached by citizens asking what the rules were.

In response, the Camden Planning Board drafted language designating where formula-based food services could be established in Camden. There were multiple conversations and refinements of the amendment, ultimately resulting in language that relegates such establishments to the Highway Business District (B-2), which comprises essentially three lots on Route 1 south toward the Rockport town line, and another three lots on Union Street near the Rockport town line.

Planning Board Recommends:  5-0-0            Select Board Recommends:  5-0-0


Article 6: Local Food Sovereignty Ordinance

Consistent with the Maine Food Sovereignty Act and Home Rule Authority, this ordinance amendment would allow direct transactions of locally prepared food products between the producer and the consumer without requiring State of Maine licensing or inspections of the home-based or farm-based kitchens where the food was prepared.  This Ordinance is not applicable to any meat, seafood, or poultry products.

Camden, like other towns in the region, are proposing local food sovereignty ordinances. The trend is grass-roots in origin, and reflects Maine’s independent streak to produce and sell homegrown and homemade products without excessive bureaucracy. But, as towns craft their local ordinances, they also are cognizant of public health and safety considerations.

Local food sovereignty ordinances follow the state’s 2017 adoption of the first-in-the-nation Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems.

The law gave municipalities the right to regulate by ordinance local food systems.

The Camden ordinance added seafood to the list of products that the ordinance does not cover.

All production places must have adequate signage and labels affixed to their products.

Click here to read the entire ordinance.

Select Board Recommends:  5-0-0


Article 7 - Clean Community Ordinance

This ordinance reflects the ongoing Camden discussion about litter, from cigarette butts to alcohol shot bottles and other trash and debris. A vote in favor amends the Camden Police Ordinance to provide for the uniform prohibition of littering in its many forms throughout the Town.

The ordinance amendment also proposes fines to impose on the public for violating the rules.

The amendment is long, and “details what is littering in all aspects,” said Camden Planner Jeremy Martin. “It goes into detail and makes sense to me.”

The rules prohibit dropping, discarding or disposing of litter in town; trash from being blown off the backs of trucks going to the transfer station; debris from being scattered at construction sites; pet waste left behind on public and private property; illegal dumping; and certain kinds of balloon releases. 

Select Board Recommends:  5-0-0

The entire ordinance follows:

Chapter VIII

Police Ordinance

Town of Camden

 

Part XVII

Clean Community Ordinance

 

Section 1 Purpose

Camden possesses unique natural assets and amenities which enhance the value and enjoyment of the community by residents, businesses and visitors.  These assets are irreplaceable and must be preserved and protected in order to allow the public’s continued enjoyment of these natural resources, prevent nuisances, protect public health and safety, and protect the safety of wildlife.  Thus, this Ordinance is intended to provide for the uniform prohibition throughout the Town of Camden of littering in its many forms.  In addition, it is the intent of this ordinance to prevent the accidental scattering of litter from unsecured loads and uncovered receptacles.  Standards and prohibitions outlined in this ordinance shall also apply to the Town of Camden and its employees.

 

Section 2 Definitions

“Litter” means all forms of discarded materials including but not limited to rubbish, waste material, cans, refuse, garbage, trash, debris, dead animals, animal waste, bottles, glass, boxes, containers, plastic, unclaimed papers or paper products, cigarette butts, all tobacco and nicotine products, tires, appliances, balloons, furniture, tree and landscape materials, mechanical equipment or parts, building or construction materials, tools, machinery, wood, motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, vessels, aircraft equipment, waste oil, batteries, antifreeze, sludge, or any other discarded material or substance of every kind and description.

 

Section 3 Prohibitions

A. No person shall drop, deposit, discard or otherwise dispose of litter in or upon any public or private property within the town including but not restricted to, any street, median, right-of-way, sidewalk, park, vacant or occupied lot, body of water, except in litter receptacles or in an area designated by the state department of environmental protection as a permitted disposal site

B. No person shall drive or move any truck or other vehicle within the Town of Camden unless such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any loads, contents or litter from being blown or deposited upon any street, alley or other public place.

C. Litter Receptacles at Places Frequented by the Public. Every owner, occupant, tenant, or lessee in control of any property that is held out to the public as a place for assemblage, for the transaction of business or recreation, or as a public way shall provide adequate receptacles that are clearly marked and designed to prevent the escape of litter and waste.

D. Duty of Owners and Occupants.  It shall be the responsibility of each owner, agent, occupant, or lessee to keep his or her property free of litter. No owner, agent, occupant, or lessee of any property shall allow the storage or accumulation of litter on the exterior of said property outside of a receptacle that is covered, secured, and maintained so as to prevent blowing, spilling, scattering, or leaking of the litter and waste contained therein.

E. Placement of litter in receptacles so as to prevent scattering. Persons placing litter in public receptacles shall do so in such a manner as to prevent it from being carried or deposited by the elements upon any street, sidewalk or other public or private property. If a public trash or recycling receptacle is full, persons are responsible for finding another lawful place to dispose of litter properly.

F. Duty of Merchants.  Merchants are required to use their own trash receptacles and not place business waste in the public trash receptacles.

G. Control at construction sites.  No individual or person in charge of a construction site shall cause or allow any litter from the site to be deposited by the elements or otherwise upon any adjacent public or private property. During such time as the construction site is not actually being used, all litter shall be stored or deposited in a container or receptacle to the extent practicable in such a manner as to prevent the litter from being deposited upon adjacent property by the elements.

H. Pet waste. All pet owners and keepers are required to immediately and properly dispose of their pet’s solid waste deposited on any property, public or private, not owned or possessed by that person.

I. Illegal dumping. No person will deposit materials which would normally be deposited at designated waste disposal facilities in any town designated receptacles. Said receptacles are those designated for the disposal of small articles from pedestrian traffic only.

J. Dumpsters. Any person who controls, whether owned, leased, or operated, a permitted refuse container or dumpster must ensure that refuse is prevented from spilling out or overflowing. In addition, the person in control of the dumpster must ensure that such container or dumpster does not leak or otherwise discharge liquids, semi-liquids or solids to the municipal stormwater system. Any items that are blown out of the dumpster should be collected immediately to prevent further scattering.

K. No person shall sell or distribute any balloon filled with a gas lighter than air without affixing an object of sufficient weight to the balloon or its appurtenance to counter the lift capability of the balloon.

L. Balloon releases. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to intentionally release or organize the release of balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air with the Town of Camden except for:

    1. Balloon released by a person on behalf of a governmental agency or pursuant to a governmental contract for scientific or meteorological purposes.
    2. Hot air balloons that are recovered after launching.
    3. Balloons released indoors.

Section 4 Penalties

In accordance with Maine State Statute, persons violating this Ordinance have committed a civil violation and are subject to the following penalties:

A. A person who disposes of less than 15 pounds or less than 27 cubic feet of litter shall be subject to a civil penalty of $200.00 for the first offense, $500.00 for the second offense, and $750.00 for the third and subsequent offenses.

B. A person who disposes of more than 15 pounds up to 499 pounds, or between 27 cubic feet and 99 cubic feet of litter shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500.00 for the first offense, $1,000.00 for the second offense, and $1,500.00 for the third and subsequent offenses.

C. A person who disposes of more than 500 pounds or more than 100 cubic feet of litter for commercial purposes is subject to the penalties under Title 38, Section 349.

When any litter is thrown or discarded from a vehicle, both the operator of the vehicle and the person actually disposing of the litter are in violation of this Ordinance. If a person dumps litter from a commercial vehicle, that person is presumed to have dumped the litter for a commercial purpose.

 

Section 5 Additional Penalties

In addition to the penalties imposed in Section 5 of this Ordinance the Court and/or Chief of Police may order a person to perform one or more of the following:

A. Remove all litter dumped in violation of this ordinance;

B. Pay the owner of the property, or in the case of public property the Town, triple the cost of cleanup and removal;

C. Pay the person, or in the case of Public Property the Town, sustaining damages arising out of a violation of this ordinance amounting to triple the actual damages of $200 whichever is greater, plus the injured party’s court costs and attorney fees if action results in a civil proceeding;

D. Perform public service relating to the removal of litter or to the restoration of the area polluted.

 

Section 6 Waiver/Payment of Fines

Any person who is charged with violating this Article may choose to pay a waiver fee to the Town as an alternative to having the Town proceed with prosecution of the complaint in court. The waiver fee must be received at the Town Office within thirty (30) days following issuance of the summons. Waiver fees that are tendered more than thirty (30) days after issuance of the summons shall only be accepted by the Town upon payment of an additional sum of money equal to any expenses, and fees that have been incurred by the Town in preparation for the court hearing. If the waiver fine is paid, no appearance in court shall be required. If the offender pays the waiver fine, the matter will be closed in the Camden Police Records system and listed as a prior offense for future violations.

If the offender chooses not to pay the waiver fine, he/she shall appear in court on the specified date to answer for the ordinance violation. If the offender is found to have committed the offense in court, fines, applicable court fees, attorney’s fees, and prosecution costs may apply.

The waiver fee schedule shall be equal to one half of the civil penalty.

Historical Note:  Adopted on June 11, 2019