Residents in Prospect decided to change the order of the warrant March 30 during the annual town meeting, to take up the most controversial item — a proposed mining ordinance that’s been years in the making — first instead of last.

Deputy Town Clerk Jamie Fitzjurls said it is the first time the town has had an ordinance regulating mining. It was approved by paper ballot, with 44 residents in favor of the ordinance and 11 opposing it.

The ordinance, which is nearly two dozen pages long, requires all extraction areas larger than 1 acre have a public hearing as part of the permitting process. It aims to regulate removal, processing and storage of topsoil, loam, rock, flat rock, sand, gravel and other similar materials.

Existing, permitted operations — those disturbing less than 20,000 square feet of material, less than 1,000 yards annually — or personal use of property owner are exempt from the ordinance, as are stockpiles of winter sand. Any new operations or expansions will require review by the Planning Board.

If no activity has taken place one year from approval of a Mineral Extraction Permit, it will expire. New owners or operators of an active mining/extraction operation must notify the town within 30 days if they wish to continue the same use of the property and will be subject to additional public hearings.

The ordinance also outlines rules intended to lessen the impact on the community by limited times for blasting, crushing and processing, drilling and loading of trucks. It lists holidays during which no operations may take place. Each issued permit must be reviewed every five years.

Penalties for violating the ordinance range from $100 per day to $25,000 per day, depending on the type of violation and any prior violations.

The full ordinance is available on the town website at prospectmaine.org.

A moratorium on mineral extraction was approved in June 2018 while the ordinance was refined after town officials requested the Planning Board continue to work on it.

“The rest was business as usual,” Fitzjurls said.

In elections the day before, Elwin Boynton was chosen as road commissioner over Harland Gamble and Joe Rego ran unopposed for selectman.

Outgoing Selectman Diane Terry was recognized for her many years of service to the town. Fitzjurls said Terry joined the Planning Board in 1977 and has been a selectman since 1992.