What’s on the municipal warrant?

Camden voters to consider zoning and charter changes; polystyrene container and plastic bag ban

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 2:45pm

CAMDEN — Camden voters will enter the voting booth Nov. 6 armed with five ballot sheets, all pertaining to the election of political candidates, as well as as state referendums, a School Administrative District 28 referendum, and seven questions pertaining to Camden.

The town will also consider one citizens’ proposal concerning a ban of single-use carry-out plastic bags.

Voting takes place at the Camden Fire Station, on Washington Street, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The municipal warrant articles are as follows (Article 1 is always to elect a moderator): 

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.

It is the result of the ongoing consideration of the future of the 1925-built MET building on Knowlton Street. A SAD 28 questions asks voters whether they want to spend $4.9 million to save and refurbish the MET building for office space, for the high school alternative Zenith program, and perhaps a third-party use, as approved by the school board. Read more: Camden, Rockport voters consider fate of Mary E. Taylor school building: Save or raze?

 

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.

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.

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?

Click here to read the charter amendments.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

 

Citizens’ petition, Ban plastic/fee paper

This ordinance proposal was placed on the ballot as the result of a citizen campaign, spearheaded by members of the Camden Conservation Commission. The entire proposed ordinance will be before voters at the polls. (See attached PDF for the complete language).

The intent is to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacture and transportation of single-use bags.

The ordinance would, if approved, prohibit single-use plastic carryout bags at retail establishments, and would make available for sale to customers a single-use paper, compostable or biodegradable bag for 10 cents each. The 10 cent fee would remain in the store coffers.

In mid-August, the Camden Select Board declined to put the ordinance on the November ballot, paving the way for a citizen petition to do so. 

Read: Camden Select Board declines placing single-use plastic bag ban on November warrant