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Lisbon two months late on Planning Board powers recommendations

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LISBON – The Town Council has delayed revising the scope of the Planning Board’s powers until the community gets a chance to weigh in.

The delay comes more than two months after the Town Council requested Code Enforcement Officer Christopher J. Sherwin make recommendations about limiting the powers of the Planning Board.

Mr. Sherwin was originally expected to give his recommendations at the October council meeting.

Town Supervisor James W. Armstrong said he couldn’t remember if Mr. Sherwin was at the Dec. 12 meeting, although Council Member Susan M. Duffy, liaison to the Planning Board, said she believed Mr. Sherwin was at the meeting. No action was taken.

Ms. Duffy said the council intends to present any proposed changes to the Planning Board next month.

She said council members expect to have a better idea about how they are going to move forward at the year-end meeting Dec. 27.

Mr. Armstrong, who has stressed that there is no hostility between the Town Council and the Planning Board, said nothing has changed and no recommendations have been made.

“I don’t think we’re rushing it,” he added.

But Ms. Duffy said the council intends to continue moving forward with plans to limit the ability of the Planning Board to oversee residential building projects.

“The bottom line is it’s not going to happen overnight,” Ms. Duffy said. “But we need to work with the Planning Board, too. We want them to embrace it.”

Ms. Duffy, with the support of the rest of the council, has asked Mr. Sherwin to look at removing the Planning Board’s oversight of residential properties at September’s meeting, due to a perception that the board’s actions might be hindering residential development.

Several attempts to reach Mr. Sherwin for comment were unsuccessful.

Two members of the Planning Board, Glen Harris and Secretary Patrick Madlin, have said they intend to resign because of the Town Council’s actions. Neither has submitted an official resignation to Donna D. McBath, town clerk.

Until they officially announce their resignation, the Town Council is unable to appoint new members.

Mr. Harris has not attended meetings for the past several months.

“If anything, there are conflicting ideas about what direction the Planning Board should be taking,” Ms. Duffy said. “The bottom line is they are all volunteers; I don’t want them to feel like they are being dictated to.”

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