June 06, 2020

Planning board bylaw changes to be aired

DEXTER – Proposed changes in the bylaws of the local planning board will be reviewed Thursday by the Town Council during a 7 p.m. public hearing.

The changes, proposed by the planning board, are meant to update the aging document, according to Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson.

Simpson said Tuesday that the most significant of the proposed changes deals with issues related to voting and conflicts of interest.

Any question of whether a planning board member is disqualified from voting on a particular matter now is decided by a majority vote of the members, with exception to the member who is being challenged.

Under the proposed change, a member could abstain from voting on any matter before the board by telling the board chairman after the agenda item was introduced. The board member would then briefly describe the conflict of interest and would be excused from any debate on the subject and be excused from voting.

If a board member should become aware of a conflict of interest after the start of the discussion on a matter, then that board member would immediately notify the board chairman, Simpson said.

In addition, a quorum would consist of four planning board members. Four members or associate members authorized to vote now constitute a quorum.

The Town Council also will act on the disposition of two tax-acquired properties.

Bids on a 3.5-acre undeveloped parcel adjacent to the Owlsborro Road and a 10.1-acre parcel, including a 1996 double-wide mobile home on Zion’s Hill Road, closed Tuesday and will be reviewed Thursday.

Simpson said a financial institution holding the mortgage had foreclosed on the Zion’s Hill Road property late last year. Dexter town officials notified the lender on three occasions of the impending tax foreclosure, but no response was received before the Jan. 23 foreclosure date, he said.

Now the lender has asked the council to consider accepting payment of all back taxes and charges instead of accepting public sale bids, according to the town manager.

Even though it was an oversight of the lending agency, the town’s attorney said the town was in compliance with Maine laws regarding automatic tax foreclosures, notification requirements and the sale of property through public bid.

Therefore, Simpson has recommended that the council decline the lender’s proposal and proceed with the public sale.

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