VIENNA — After voters approved a trio of changes to the town’s building and zoning rules Friday, including a citizen-backed amendment that conflicts with two changes proposed by a town committee, local officials plan to seek outside advice about how to resolve the discrepancy.

The town will not accept any building applications until the discrepancy can be resolved, First Selectwoman Dodi Thompson said Saturday after Town Meeting ended.

On a bitterly cold morning, about 50 voters turned out for the meeting and approved a proposed municipal operating budget of $553,811, up about $7,000 from the current year’s budget. The new budget includes increases in the winter roads budget and $5,000 for Vienna’s share of upgrading the Lakes Region Mutual Aid radio communication system.

Residents asked a few questions throughout the hourlong meeting but raised no objections about the spending items.

The secret-ballot portion of Town Meeting was held Friday. Besides approving the conflicting ordinance changes, taxpayers also re-elected the three incumbent members of the Select Board: Thompson, Second Selectman Christopher Smith and Third Selectman Jeffrey Rackliff.

Thompson was challenged by Charles Yates for a three-year term, but kept her seat in a 134-90 vote. Rackliff won his race for a one-year term against Crystal Whittier, 129-96. No one challenged Smith in his bid for another two-year term, but a handful of voters wrote in names for each of the Select Board seats.


The challengers for Thompson and Rackliff’s seats, Yates and Whittier, also gathered signatures for the citizen-backed amendment to the town’s Building Ordinance. That ordinance was originally adopted a year ago at Town Meeting.

According to a copy of that citizen-backed amendment available on the town website, it adjusts how far certain structures can be set back from the road and creates a uniform residential building permit fee of $10, as opposed to the current fee of $50.

The amendment also allows recreational vehicles and campers to be used as housing for up to six months a year without requiring the owners to obtain a special permit, while the existing ordinance allows them to be used as housing for just 30 days a year without a permit. Another change would exclude some types of portable or prefabricated sheds from the town’s definition of a permanent building.

Before the election, Yates said he had been inspired to propose the changes after the town brought a Building Ordinance violation complaint against the owner of the property where he lives.

Those changes were approved Friday in a 124-94 vote, but two changes proposed by the town’s Ordinance Review Committee also passed with similar margins. They establish separate setback limits for buildings, impose a $25 fee on portable or prefabricated sheds and preserve the existing fees for residential, commercial and industrial buildings, among other measures.

“They contradict each other, so we’re going to have to go back and do some work on them,” Smith said Saturday during Town Meeting. “We may have to do an extra town meeting.”


After the meeting, Smith said that the citizens who proposed the changes and the Ordinance Review Committee would have to meet to discuss a possible resolution. Next week, Smith said, local officials will be contacting the Maine Municipal Association and possibly consulting with a lawyer about the discrepancy.

“The way it is now, they all passed,” she said. “It’s confusing, and I think at this time the town wouldn’t issue any permits until it’s settled. That’s what the code enforcement officer indicated. … We have to try to get it resolved somehow, even if it requires a new town meeting or proposals. I don’t know yet without consulting.”

During the voting portion of Town Meeting on Friday, residents chose write-in candidate Lydie Robbins to represent the town on the Mount Blue Regional School District board of directors.

They also re-elected several incumbent and unchallenged local officials: Annie Tibbetts, town clerk and tax collector; Martha Gross, treasurer; and Daniel Goucher, road commissioner. On Saturday, residents also approved an article that converts the town clerk, tax collector, treasurer and road commissioner posts into three-year positions.

Vienna has a population of 573, according to the most recent census. According to the 2016 annual report, the town spent $1.38 million that year, which included $755,305 for education, as well as money for the county tax.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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