Dozens of residents attended Monday night’s Planning Board meeting. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — The Planning Board Monday reviewed proposals for a 46-unit subdivision and a mineral extraction operation but not before the chairman told anyone concerned about overdevelopment in town to take it up with the Town Council, not his board.

It came to my attention today that through social media there was a discussion going on about the Planning Board and its role,” Chairman David Douglass said, alluding to a comment Town Councilor Donna Chapman made on a Windham community Facebook page about how the board was not working to slow growth in town.

In responding to a post by Bryan Forbes regarding the proposed Kettle Estates subdivision, Chapman wrote, in part, “Once the planning board members are appointed the council has no authority over the board. They are, however, supposed to work for the will of the council and since we have a concern on growth I find this a little disturbing. They are a judicial board they know how the council feels on growth and slowing growth down.”

To clarify the board’s role, Douglass read from a document that included information from the Maine Municipal Association’s manual for local planning boards.

He emphasized that “the board should not base its decision on the amount of public opposition or support displayed for the project” and that “its decision must be based solely on whether the applicant has met his or her burden of proof and complied with the provisions of the statute/ordinance.”

I suggest you tell your councilors to change the ordinance and stop blaming the Planning Board for pushing our own agenda because we do not have one,” he said. 

Chapman said in an interview Wednesday that she had not watched the meeting.

“I don’t care what David Douglass says,” Chapman said.

Kettle Estates, mineral extraction plans

The board then discussed the major subdivision sketch plan review for Kettle Estates, a proposed 46-unit residential subdivision to be constructed in two phases, located off Briarwood Lane. The subdivision would consist of a 44-unit condominium development as well as one lot with a duplex on an 18.14-acre parcel. Dustin Roma of DM Roma Consulting Engineers presented on behalf of the applicant.

Douglass asked Roma to have a conversation about the proposed development with members in the community. The room was packed with dozens of people Monday night who turned out in response to the project; however, public comment was not allowed.

The board unanimously voted to schedule a public hearing and site walk for the project. The town planner will schedule those events at a later date.

The board then debated a sketch plan review for a proposed 4.8-acre mineral extraction operation on Maysens Way. Approximately 60,000 cubic yards of sand will be removed from the site for projects as needed.

Roma explained that the project is meant to prepare the 18-acre parcel for a future development. Maysens Way is part of the nearby Highland Woods subdivision, which is currently under construction, so the land will eventually be claimed for additional dwelling units.

Town Planner Jenn Curtis clarified that no blasting will be taking place during the project.

Board member Michael Devoid asked Roma to “narrow down a scope of what the timeline is and how long the houses (in the Highland Woods subdivision) are going to have to deal with” trucks driving past. He was also concerned about the amount of wear and tear on the road and its condition after the project is finished.

The board voted to hold a public hearing and site walk for the project, to be scheduled by the planner at a later date.

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