KENNEBUNK – The select board on Jan. 11 voted against hosting a Special Town Meeting on March 15.

The vote casts into doubt the immediate resolution of two issues – the proposed contract zone that would allow the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops to build a home for a wounded veteran on Perkins Lane and a zoning request change on York Street.

The board had voted after public hearings on each of the two matters to send them “to the next Special Town Meeting on March 15, 2022.” They unanimously declined to send a third, a proposal to sell town-owned land on Plummer Lane, which according to former planning board member Tom Murphy was intended to be a wildlife preserve.

The board ultimately decided not to schedule the town meeting.

Some other items  –  a vote on the comprehensive plan, public works facility and proposed charter changes – had been thought to be destined for a March 15 meeting, but those were moved to the June annual town meeting, leaving just the two items, the veteran’s home and a York Street zoning amendment.

Select board member Shiloh Schulte asked why the two remaining items were not moved to June.


Chris Osterrieder said the Homes for Our Troops contract zone is time sensitive. “This started back in September,” he said.

Schulte asked the cost of the referendum-style town meeting, and was told about $1,000. He asked if any of the developers involved were covering part of the cost, as has happened in prior initiatives.

Osterrieder said staff typically “makes folks aware up front,” but he had not spoken with the parties involved. “I feel it’s a bit late to thrust it on them,” he said.

Select Board Chair Blake Baldwin and board member Bill Ward were proponents of sending the two measures to town meeting, with Schulte, Kortney Nedeau, Sally Carpenter, Lisa Pratt and Frank Paul voting against.

In an email, Town Manager Mike Pardue said if so inclined, any of the select board members who had voted against holding the special meeting  could vote to move it forward for reconsideration.

“Should that occur, the select board would then engage in additional discussion, which could include the two topics,” said Pardue. “They could also discuss other topics they may wish to consider for advancement to a Special Town Meeting, or possibly defer to the June town meeting.”

He said if the board decided to revisit, public hearings would be scheduled followed by a vote.

Attempts to reach Homes for Our Troops attorney Ralph Austin for comment were unsuccessful.

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