Civic Affairs

Civic Affairs Update March 2018

  • The Highland Lake LeadershipTeam is moving forward on all cylinders, starting to move into high gear on the watershed survey, ordinance recommendations as well as road association outreach for road condition evaluation.  Since we know that gravel roads are a large part of the source of phosphorus getting into Highland Lake, it is important for us to look at ourselves, understand the ways we impact the lake, evaluate our roads, get expertise to help find low cost, effective solutions to runoff from our roads.  Both from this effort as well as the watershed survey, we will be able to identify critical areas that should be addressed.  There will be some grant money available along with matching funds from the road association and contractors to help cover the costs for the needed repairs.

 

  • Windham Town Council has agreed to move our recommended retroactive subdivision phosphorus control ordinance recommendations to the Planning Board for comments.  These three recommendations are to bring the subdivision ordinance up to the same level of individual house phosphorus controls that were put into Town ordinance in December.  These individual house controls bring Windham and Falmouth to roughly the same standards.  The retroactive subdivision recommendations from the HLA require that any subdivision that was not fully approved by the start of the moratorium (September 5, 2017) would:

1.     Be required to meet the current phosphorus budget levels from the DEP to determine how much phosphorus would be allowed to leave the developed site rather than the generously high previous amount.

 

2.     Not be able to pay a onetime fee to go over the allowed phosphorus export from the development.  This is a State ordinance that allows developers who can use natural buffers to cover at least 60% of their required phosphorus removal to pay a fee for what they cannot remove.  The fee is then used to help address other phosphorus issues within the Highland Lake watershed.  It is our firm belief that when a lake is in serious trouble that no onetime fee should allow a developer to forever exceed their allowed annual phosphorus export to the lake.  This Town ordinance will put further restrictions on developers than the State ordinance described above.

 

 

3.     Prevent adding extra houses to a development above what the ordinance allows within the Highland Lake watershed if they make any green space within the development open to the general public.  Adding the additional houses will increase the amount of phosphorus coming from the development, and even with additional phosphorus removal, this increases the amount of phosphorus that leaves the site over what could have been achieved if the additional houses weren’t allowed.  This is especially true with the onetime fee to cover phosphorus removal that cannot be achieved as above.

 

  • The DEP has called Chase Custom Homes and Finance and HLA to a meeting to determine where the outstanding appeal of their 2017 proposed development should go now that it is clear that the proposed development doesn’t meet either Town or State ordinance requirements.  Chase Custom Homes and Finance cannot build what they had originally proposed:  24 houses within the Manufactured Home Park Overlay Zone.  Both Town ordinance and State regulations prohibit anything but true mobile homes within the Overlay Zone unless the developer meets all of the requirements of the underlying zone.  So, instead of being able to put three bedroom houses on 12,000 square foot lots (just over ¼ acre), each lot needs to be 80,000 square feet or about 1.8 acres.  With this change, the development will have to be completely redone.  The meeting will be to decide if the project will have to start all over in the application for its Stormwater Permit, or if the changes can be done under a “modification” to the existing submittal.  In either case, the HLA will be able to review in detail the whole design and comment/appeal if necessary going forward.
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