Proposed ordinance changes aimed at streamlining appeals processPublic hearing slated for Wednesday, Jan. 30
Searsport — A matter involving town ordinances governing the appeals process that arose during the ongoing review of DCP Midstream's proposal to build a 22.7 million gallon liquefied petroleum gas storage tank at Mack point will be taken up at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30.
According to scheduling information posted at the Searsport Town Office, the hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Union Hall.
In mid-January, just as the second round of public hearings got underway regarding the application from Colorado-based DCP, Searsport Planning Board Chairman Bruce Probert was notified of a request from the Zoning Board of Appeals seeking clarification of the procedure to be followed when appealing a Planning Board decision. That undertaking, explained Probert at the time of the request, will mean amending existing ordinance language about the appeals process, which require a public hearing and a subsequent town meeting vote in order to approve the changes.
"Right now, they all use different language to describe the appeals process," said Probert of existing ordinances. "We have to make sure we're all going in the right direction."
According to the public notice posted in the Jan. 24 edition of The Republican Journal, the proposed changes to the ordinance governing the Board of Appeals include a provision stating the board may elect to hold a consolidated hearing if more than one party files an appeal on the same decision, even if the arguments detailed in each of the appeals involve different facets of the same issue. The notice also stated the ordinance changes, if approved, would apply retroactively to any appeal of an order or decision on applications that were the subject of review as of Jan. 15, 2013.
The proposed changes also specify that all appeals shall be considered on an appellate basis rather than that starting from scratch, meaning the Appeals Board would consider information provided in the existing record from the original body that made the initial decision.