PROSPECT — Voters approved a moratorium on industrial development near the shoreland setback zone and adopted a new town way on Bowden Point Road but rejected a recreational marijuana ordinance at the April 30 annual meeting.

Residents moved several Town Warrant articles up at the roughly 2 1/2-hour meeting, which had about 50 people in attendance. There was very little discussion among residents about the moratorium before voters overwhelmingly approved the article.

The moratorium prevents industrial development near the town’s shoreland zone. The shoreland zone prohibits any development within 250 feet from high tide. Town officials were concerned that a company could develop something right on the edge of that shoreland zone and it could impact the setback area, Select Board Member Calvin Cooper said at a March 28 special town meeting.

The moratorium prevents permitting industrial developments near that shoreland zone for the duration it is enacted and will give the town 180 days to develop a growth management plan, which consists of developing a Comprehensive Plan and creating zoning based on that plan. The moratorium can be extended for two more 180-day periods if needed.

Voters also overwhelmingly approved a revision to the town’s road adoption ordinance that now allows the town to accept roads as town ways with the understanding that the entity giving the road to the town must bring it up to town standards within a year. The previous ordinance prevented the town from accepting a road before it was brought up to town standards.

The revision was prompted by a Maine Coast Heritage Trust proposal to have the town accept a 900-foot parcel on Bowden Point Road. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is working to acquire land currently owned by the trust on that road to place it in protection where it would be open to public recreation. Because of state rules, DIFW could not accept the land until the town accepted the road.

Under the revised ordinance, if a road accepted by the town is not brought up to town standards within a year, then the acceptance is void.

A proposed recreational marijuana ordinance that would have allowed growing and manufacturing in the town, excluding retail sale, was narrowly defeated at the meeting, with 12 votes to approve the ordinance and 14 votes against the ordinance.

Select Board members had the ordinance drafted for voters to consider because there were some people at one point considering a recreational marijuana business in town but nobody has come forward with a serious project proposal, Cooper said.

Though Select Board members took no stance for or against the ordinance, Select Board Member Joe Rego said if it is rejected it will cost the town more money to draft a new ordinance and go through the process to get it in front of voters again.

Select Board Member Diane Terry said there are some setback requirements around schools, churches and some other buildings, but because the town has no formal zoning, aside from the shoreland setback ordinance, the businesses could potentially go anywhere in town. Developing a Comprehensive Plan could allow the town to develop zoning.

One resident thought it might be a good idea to vote the article down and consider it when developing the new Comprehensive Plan.

If the ordinance had been approved before the town created zoning for recreational marijuana, any business opening in town before zoning is enacted may be “grandfathered in” and allowed to continue operating in a district not zoned for recreational marijuana.

Voters raised $439,570 through property taxes at the meeting, a 19.2% increase from the $368,835 raised at last year’s meeting. Voters approved $810,462 for the town’s overall budget, a 33.7% increase from the $606,285 approved at last year’s meeting.

Joe Rego was reelected to a three-year Select Board term and Charles Boynton was reelected to a one-year term as road commissioner term.

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