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Lisbon hosting Planning Board public forum

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LISBON – The Town Council is planning a March 13 public forum at 6:30 p.m. to discuss revising the mandate of the Planning Board. The Council is considering revising the Planning Board’s mandate to include only multi-family dwellings and businesses.

“The proposal is that [the code enforcement officer] takes over single family dwellings,” Town Supervisor James W. Armstrong said.

Changes to the Planning Board’s authority require changing the local law.

The Council instructed Code Enforcement Officer Christopher J. Sherwin recommend revisions to the Planning Board’s authority in September. Mr. Sherwin’s recommendations were presented in December and included placing the authority over granting residential building permits entirely within the jurisdiction of the code enforcement officer.

Two Planning Board members have resigned recently.

Donald Merkley resigned this month because he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to the Planning Board, Mr. Armstrong said.

But Planning Board Secretary Patrick M. Madlin resigned in January citing tensions between the Board and the Town Council.

The Town Council is responsible with filling those two positions.

Mr. Armstrong said he has not had any official discussions with the Planning Board considering the law, but said there has been an ongoing “back and forth.”

“If any of the public, including members of the planning board, has a problem, all they have to do is come to the public hearing. That’s why we do that. That’s why the process is like that so nothing is shoved down anyone’s throat,” Mr. Armstrong said.

Mr. Armstrong also noted that Monday’s Planning Board meeting was indicative of the need for change.

“They had three applicants but they didn’t have enough planning board members to form a quorum,” Mr. Armstrong said. “[The applicants will] either have to wait another month or have a special meeting so they can be approved.”

Mr. Sherwin said, “I think it might be a little easier now to get members because you’re not going to have to have a board meeting every month unless someone’s putting in a business or a multi-family dwelling on their property.”

Town Council Member Alan D. Dailey said, “We want to have [the law] in place for this building season.”

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