MONMOUTH — A proposed rezone that could allow the expansion of Camp Kippewa is headed to the town’s selectboard for placement on this year’s Town Meeting warrant.

Following a public hearing Thursday, the Planning Board moved the matter on to the selectboard for inclusion on the warrant.

Planning Board Chairperson Steve O’Donnell said even if the amendment is placed on the warrant, more steps would have to be taken before the camp could expand. Voters would first have to approve the rezone and Kippewa’s plan would have to be accepted by the Planning Board before coming to realization.

Camp director Ginger Clare said the girls sleepaway camp on Kippewa Drive is looking to expand into a lot it already owns. She said the camp is pushing for an amendment to the town’s Monmouth Shoreland Zoning Ordinance that would allow the expansion.

According to town tax documents, the camp’s LLC owns 74.57 acres of property at 1 Kippewa Drive, which is on Cobbossee Lake.

After the public hearing, the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance amendment, the rezone request for the camp’s lot and an amended shoreland map were advanced to the selectboard, who may vote to place the amendment on the upcoming Town Meeting warrant in the spring.

The proposed amendment adds a “Recreation Business Lake Protection District.” As part of that addition, only recreation businesses that have existed in the district — including summer camps — would be permitted to expand “on an abutting lake front panel with an area of at least two or more contiguous acres.”

Summer camps and recreation businesses are only permitted in the newly proposed Recreation Business Lake Protection district and the General Development district.

The amendment also states that principal or accessory structures shall not exceed 30 feet in height, and lot coverage shall not exceed 15%.

O’Donnell said the camp currently sits in the General Development district, but it existed before that district was formed and was grandfathered into the district.

O’Donnell said the camp applied for an expansion a year ago, but it did not fit into the existing zoning. As a result, he said, the camp asked for a rezone.

An earlier proposal asked for a limited commercial district called a “Limited Commercial District,” O’Donnell said, but the camp and Planning Board heard feedback from lake residents worried about “commercial development” near the town’s lakes.

Rebecca Stanley, a resident in the town’s Shoreland Residential zoning district, said she and her husband were concerned that changes to shoreland zoning for the camp’s proposed expansion could have opened up land along Monmouth’s lakes to a wide range of commercial uses. She said those uses may negatively affect the water quality of the lakes.”

Stanley said she and her husband hired legal counsel to review the camp’s proposal, which led to what she believed was an improved concept that narrows the scope of commercial uses in the proposed district.

“We can live with that proposal as it was presented and discussed before the Planning Board last month,” Stanley said in an emailed statement. “We’re also encouraged that the camp’s managers have called us, and hope that we can continue to communicate with them in the future on issues and concerns regarding the camp.”

Clare said the camp shares concerns about water quality as well, and called the proposed rezone “environmentally friendly.”

“Frankly, we share a lot of the same priorities,” she said. “We want a good quality lake just as much as anyone else does.”

Kippewa’s attorney, Andrew Hamilton, said Monmouth uses a slightly modified version of the state’s minimum shoreland zoning. He said the camp’s proposal is stricter in some areas than current zoning, including a “number of uses that are prohibited in this zone, which could be allowed in the current zoning.”

O’Donnell said that Kippewa officials narrowed the proposed zone and communicated with local groups interested in the region’s watershed. He said the newer proposal has less opposition than the previous proposal.

“Fifteen percent of the land mass in Monmouth is water,” O’Donnell said. “A lot of people have cottages and year-round homes and they’re concerned about … water quality and the effect of noise and development.”

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