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Amish man keeps working while Lisbon Planning Board fails to act

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LISBON — An Amish businessman is doing business as usual even though an application for Planning Board approval hasn’t yet made it through the pipeline.

The site plan review application submitted by Jonas Miller, who operates a shed-building business out of his home on Route 68, has not received approval by the town Planning Board due to board delays and missing information.

Located near the intersection with Brown Road, Mr. Miller’s business builds sheds for customers who order in advance.

And business is good, he said, though he isn’t sure how many sheds he has moved this summer.

Mr. Miller said he has been building sheds for four years but moved to his current location in April.

He submitted a site plan review application early in the summer but has yet to hear back from the Planning Board.

“It’s nothing to me,” said Mr. Miller, who has been continuing with his work as usual.

Mr. Miller said he isn’t bothered by the Planning Board so long as they don’t interfere with his business.

Planning Board Chairman Steven Wallace said a series of delayed meetings and gaps in Mr. Miller’s application are to blame for the long wait for approval.

Mr. Miller is using a portable mill to construct the sheds, but Mr. Wallace said the Planning Board isn’t sure whether that will be used as if it’s a permanent mill or not. The application is also missing information about how far back from the road the business is operating and what his property lines are.

“Without that information, we really couldn’t act upon it,” Mr. Wallace said.

In addition, the Planning Board is currently down one member. That has made it harder than usual to get enough people to attend meetings, Mr. Wallace said, noting that this time of year is difficult as it is with people on vacation.

In September there were not enough members at the meeting to form a quorum and earlier this month, confusion over the meeting date between the board and Code Enforcement Officer Christopher J. Sherwin prevented any board action.

Members of the board are appointed by the Town Council.

But Mr. Wallace said he is confident that there is nothing wrong with Mr. Miller’s business and, once they get the necessary information, his application will be easily approved.

“We’d rather have all our questions answered before we go ahead,” he said.

Mr. Sherwin said he is waiting for the board to take action on the application – by approving it or rejecting it – before going up to Mr. Miller’s business and getting the rest of the information.

“Whatever they decide I’ll go out and check that he’s got all his setbacks,” Mr. Sherwin said.

For his part, Mr. Miller said members of the planning board are welcome to come out to his business and take a look around for themselves.

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