Lincolnville Town Meeting: Select Board election, affordable housing zoning, town budget

Fri, 06/09/2023 - 10:30am

    LINCOLNVILLE – Voters will elect two Select Board members and weigh in on affordable housing amendments at the polls June 13. They will decide on the 2024 town budget June 15 at the in-person Town Meeting.

    Select Board election

    Three candidates, Jean Botley, Michael Ray and Robyn Tarantino, are running for two open seats on the Select Board. Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region. On the June 13 ballot are uncontested elections for town budget committee and School Committee members, as well as the yes or no vote on the Lincolnville Central School budget and Article 4 on housing. There is a separate ballot for voting on the Five Town CSD School Budget.

    Housing Opportunities

    Article 4 on the ballot proposes to amend the town’s Land Use Ordinance for the purpose of increasing housing opportunities. If approved, lots with one single-family dwelling would be allowed one accessory dwelling exempt from minimum lot standards, except in the Shoreland Zone. Also allowed would be the building of two additional dwellings, either attached to or separate from the existing dwelling, subject to minimum lot size requirements. Vacant lots may be developed with two dwellings in a single structure or two separate dwellings. Any new housing is subject to town-wide land use standards. The full text of Article 4 can be found here.

    The intent of the proposed housing amendments is to have the Town of Lincolnville’s Land Use Ordinance be consistent with state law, according to Town Administrator David Kinney.  The State law was designed to remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to housing production in Maine, while preserving local ability to create land use plans and protect sensitive environmental resources, he said.

    The amendments, “add the ability, under certain circumstances, for a property owner to obtain approval for accessory dwelling unit(s) where and accessory dwelling units (ADU) might not have previously been allowed,” Kinney said.

    The ordinance takes a step towards defining land use rules that would allow denser housing, such as four-unit subdivisions and affordable housing developments, in locations described in the town’s Comprehensive Plan as ‘designated growth areas.’ 

    Regarding affordable housing development, the amendments alter off-street parking requirements and allows for a greater density for dwelling units, both examples of removing unnecessary regulatory barriers to housing production, according to Kinney.

    The growth areas have not been approved by voters, and Article 4 on the June 13 warrant article does not establish growth areas, Kinney explained. The growth areas can only be established by voters at a Town Meeting, according to the Comprehensive Plan.

    Lincolnville’s proposed land use changes follow recommendations of the State Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions.

    Municipal budget

    At Town Meeting June 15, registered voters have the opportunity to discuss and vote on Articles 6-16, each of which is a separate spending category in the $2.9 million 2023-24 municipal budget.

    Voters also weigh in on using $1.7 million in non-property tax revenues to reduce the tax burden (Article 17), as well remaining Coronavirus Recovery Funds (Articles 18, 19). The FY  2024 municipal budget document can be viewed here.

    Town meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at the Lincolnville Central School. 523 Hope Road, Lincolnville.