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Lisbon Council to host public forum on planning board

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LISBON – The Town Council will host a public discussion with the Planning Board concerning recommendations to revise the board’s scope of powers.

No date was set for the discussion at Monday’s council meeting. Town Council Member Alan D. Dailey said the meeting will not take place in the near future, but the public is invited to come whenever it does take place.

In September the Town Council requested Code Enforcement Officer Christopher J. Sherwin make recommendations about limiting the powers of the Planning Board. Council members specifically were interested in removing the ability of the Planning Board to restrict building on plots less than one acre and taking away their oversight of residential permits.

Mr. Sherwin presented the council with the requested changes, which the council will discuss with the Planning Board before moving ahead.

Two members of the Planning Board, Glen Harris and Secretary Patrick Madlin, have said they intend to resign because of the Town Council’s actions, although neither has officially resigned. Until then, the Town Council is unable to appoint new members.

Mr. Sherwin said 2012 represented a decline in new building from 2011. According to Mr. Sherwin, while there were 153 building permits issued in 2012, there were only five new houses built, down from 23 last year.

Council member Susan M. Duffy said removing restrictions on building is one of the ways the town can encourage new growth, expand the tax base, and keep tax rates down.

Mr. Dailey said unless the tax base grows, “We may have to start looking at tax increases.”

This year’s budget lowered the tax rate from $5.37 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2012 to $5.35.

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