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Lisbon Town Council to host 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 last week’s council meeting.

Town Councilman Alan D. Dailey said the meeting will not take place soon, but the public is invited whenever it takes 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 an acre and taking away its 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, Glenn R. Harris and Secretary Patrick M. Madlin, have said they intend to resign because of the Town Council’s actions, although neither has done so yet. Without those resignations, the Town Council is unable to appoint new members.

Mr. Sherwin said new building declined from 2011 to 2012. According to Mr. Sherwin, while there were 153 building permits issued in 2012, only five new houses were built, down from 23 the previous year.

Councilwoman 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.”

The 2013 budget lowered the tax rate to $5.35 per $1,000 of assessed value from $5.37 per $1,000 in 2012.

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