WINSLOW — An ordinance that would rezone parts of a highly-residential neighborhood to a mixed-use zone was tabled at the Winslow Town Council meeting Tuesday night, but councilors did approve the contract of the new police chief.

The ordinance to rezone lots on Lee and Marie streets from high-density residential to mixed-use passed twice, most recently at the Sept. 14 council meeting. However, after a workshop on the property Oct. 1, a decision was made to bring the resolution back before the council.

The land, currently owned by Chuck Lambert, would be used by Steve Martin to build a garage to house equipment for his contracting business, S B Martin Excavations.

At the public hearing before the previous council meeting, residents shared their concerns about changing the lot to mixed-use, which allows a bevy of businesses including retail and dining establishments. After the workshop earlier this month, it was decided to bring the ordinance back before the council.

“I bought in a neighborhood, and I feel like it should stay a neighborhood,” said a rain soaked Marcia McCarthy Kalter. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, limits on how many people were allowed in were put in place, forcing Kalter and others to wait outside. Kalter, who described herself as a “bulldog” during the process, was one of 10 residents to share their thoughts in opposition to changing the land to mixed-use during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“If you look over the years at the lots that are mixed-use, they are crushing the neighborhoods,” Kalter said. “People come here for the neighborhood.”

Lambert said the garage would not disrupt the neighborhood.

“It’s not a business where there are trucks going in and out all the time; it’s just where (Martin) wants to have his garage,” Lambert said.

District 2 councilor Ben Twitchell, who represents residents in the neighborhood, motioned to reconsider the ordinance. Twitchell expressed concern over Lee Street being changed to a mixed-use zone. He and Councilor At-Large Lee Trahan suggested keeping lot 90 as high density residential, but changing 87, 88 and 89 to mixed-use. A motion was made and then dropped in order for a motion to reconsider, which essentially reversed the order to what it was after the first reading.

Mary Brow, a 57-year resident of Lee Street, speaks Tuesday against a mixed-use zoning rule during a meeting at the Winslow Parks and Recreation Department building. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We’re really doing the work, and this is my opinion of the Planning Board when we’re doing the zoning,” Council Chairperson Ray Caron, District 4, said. “I think it has to be decided on whose jurisdiction it is.”

Councilor At-Large Jeffrey West brought up the discussion of the mixed-use designation of the Lee Street right-of-way. It later became clear that Lee Street is not a town street. It is part of the property.

“The recommendation to do what we’re doing came from a Planning Board member,” Martin said. “It was your recommendations, and I brought it up to the board. Everything that you asked for, it’s on there.”

Caron suggested opening up the ordinance for consideration and not making a final decision during the meeting. Twitchell agreed.

Town attorney William A. Lee III said he wanted to review the documents before making a legal decision.

“If there’s a legal issue here, I would need more information to be comfortable answering a legal question,” Lee said.

Patricia Ayer, District 1, questioned putting the ordinance back before the Planning Board because the proposal could come back unchanged. Code Enforcement Officer Adam Bradstreet suggested making the lot a contract zone. Trahan made a motion to table and resolve the ordinance in a special meeting to be held no later than Oct. 27. The motion passed unanimously.

NEW POLICE CHIEF

Leonard Macdaid’s contract to become Winslow’s new police chief was approved. Macdaid, who was in attendance at the meeting, currently serves as the police chief in Newport.

The town advertised the position and got 10 applications and a search committee interviewed three. Macdaid emerged as the top candidate. The search committee consisted of nine people made up of town councilors, town employees and citizens.

Winslow’s town charter states the town manager appoints department heads upon approval of the council.

Ayer said she wanted to table the vote until incoming Town Manager Erica Lacroix got a chance to review the contract. However, the vote passed 5-2, with Trahan and Ayer voting against the contract. District 5 councilor Steve Russell made a motion to bypass the second reading, which again passed 5-2.

Raymond Caron, chairperson of the Winslow Town Council, listens as residents speak Tuesday during a meeting at the Winslow Parks and Recreation Department building. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

OTHER BUSINESS

The council authorized Interim Town Manager Paul Fongemie to prepare a quit claim deed which will allow the transfer of properties located in the area of 150 China Road for the amount of taxes owed. It passed 5-2, with Russell and Trahan voting no.

The council tabled an ordinance to authorize the tax collector to sell 101 acres of tax acquired property on Maple Ridge Road with a minimum bid of $85,000 and an easement from Farm Land Trust. Waterville resident Scott Fenton, who owns the abutting property, attended the meeting and spoke about his desire to purchase the woodland part of the property. The vote to table passed 4-3 with West, Caron and Russell voting no. The council wants to wait until it learns how and if it can split up the property.

The council also unanimously voted to:

• Authorize up to $1,902,000 of the town’s general obligation bonds to finance sewer and stormwater improvements.

• Approve the sale of tax acquired property.

• Participate in the Maine Municipal Association Workers’ Compensation Safety Initiative Program.

• Pass a resolution to authorize the town manager to list town-owned property on Bellevue Street for sale.

• Pass the first of two votes to accept Halifax Heights as a town street. Halifax Heights is located in a mobile home park by the same name.

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