RICHMOND — Two more citizens’ petitions proposing changes to Richmond’s land use ordinance have been submitted to town officials and are expected to be added to the warrant on which residents will vote Nov. 3.

Corey Munsey, who helped with the drive to collect signatures on the latest petitions, said the proposals honor the wishes of the people who wrote the documents guiding development in the town’s agricultural district, which is about 80% of Richmond.

“Our whole position all along is that the people who wrote the comprehensive plan and the people who wrote the original ordinances were pretty clear that they put things thing there in terms of not having development after development after development out in the agricultural land,” Munsey said.

“We’re trying to find a way to honor our 10-year Richmond comprehensive plan as well as not getting in the way (of development), and make sure that they’re following the laws.”

Tom Webster and Munsey submitted the two petitions.

The first petition would increase minimum lot sizes in major subdivisions from about 11/2 to 3 acres, not including open space; require developments to set aside open space; and allow no waivers to be granted to any of the provisions spelled out in the regulations for planned unit developments or cluster developments.

The second would allow no cluster developments or major subdivisions in the agricultural zone for at least 24 months to allow the Planning Board, the Board of Selectmen and Richmond residents to undertake a review of the impact of any changes to the land use ordinance.

Webster did not respond Friday to a request for an interview.

Munsey, who was recently appointed as an alternate to the Richmond Planning Board, said his actions with these petitions is on his own behalf, not the Planning Board’s.

He said the petitions would complement the first petition that was submitted in late August.

“If all of them passed,” he said, “they all sort of work in harmony.”

Jeremy Purington, who submitted the first petition, said there is no insurgence of new developments in Richmond — other than the one he has proposed — over the past decade. And he said he does not believe they will work together.

“I could understand if we had a petition brought forward by someone around town,” he said. “But they are the same abuttors that came to the first Planning Board meeting (when Purington’s proposal was considered) and said they would do whatever it took to keep my project from happening.”

Purington’s petition asks Richmond residents to consider several changes, including removing the requirement developers provide a single source of water and sewage disposal in residential subdivisions to serve the entire development.

His proposal would require subdivisions of 10 lots or more be clustered to minimize fragmentation; require a buffer of 200 feet between a development and agricultural land, pasture or field; adjust standards for private roads; and require cluster or planned unit developments meet all the standards, unless a finding is made that a standard required in state law does not apply.

In 2019, Purington, owner of Shoreline Properties and Purington Construction, brought a proposal for a 14-home subdivision on about 35 acres in the western part of town to the Planning Board.

Neighbors objected to the development, saying 14 new houses would affect the groundwater and dry up wells and wetlands.

The proposed Pleasant Ridge subdivision sits on the east side of U.S. Route 201, also known as Brunswick Road, on a forested parcel.

Purington said earlier this month he submitted his petition because the Richmond Board of Selectmen had declined in May to put a series of changes to the land use ordinance drafted by the Planning Board in front of town voters at the Town Meeting in July, and had voted at the end of June to send the matter back to the Planning Board.

Some of those changes resulted from consideration of his proposal, but Purington did not ask the Planning Board to make those changes and did not take part in the review process.

“And they only reason that this has gotten to this point is that I have some angry neighbors that just don’t want (my) subdivision,” he said.

Munsey lives on Stillwater Lane, which abuts Purington’s proposed development to the north.

On Friday, Munsey said his family created a four-lot subdivision several years ago, just for family. In creating that subdivision, he said, several waivers from the land use ordinance requirements were requested and granted.

When Purington submitted his proposal, it had been discovered the Planning Board did not have authority under state law to grant the waivers.

Munsey said at the time the town’s attorney had said the board could not change the waivers it had already granted, but it could not grant more.

Richmond last updated its comprehensive plan, the policy document that guides development in the town,  in 2016. It contains this provision:

“The existing Land Use Ordinance has reduced development into the rural areas. While home-based businesses, small-scale residential and agricultural uses should continue to be allowed, the Town should restrict commercial and industrial uses that would negatively impact existing uses as well as impact important natural and agricultural resources. Provisions for cluster subdivisions with open space should be considered for residential development.”

The Richmond Board of Selectmen is expected to take the matter up when it meets Monday.

Under state law, selectmen are obligated to bring citizens’ petitions that meet the required signature threshold to voters, either on the next Town Meeting warrant or at a special election within 60 days.

Adam Garland, Richmond’s town manager, said he would recommend to the selectmen Monday the two petitions be added to the Town Meeting warrant that voters will see Nov. 3. The other option is to hold a special Town Meeting within 60 days, which would fall in the days after the general election.

“Given the potential turnout on Nov. 3,” Garland said, “that’s why my recommendation to the selectmen is that they do it on Nov. 3.”

If all three petitions pass, he said, the selectmen would address any conflicts that result, and any changes they propose would go before Richmond voters at a Town Meeting.

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