The Westbrook City Council on Monday voted to remove ward residency requirements tied to the Planning Board.

The change comes after talks of redistricting in the city and councilors noted the Westbrook charter and rules do not call for board members to live in the area they represent.

City administrators argued that, unlike councilors, members of the Planning Board consider what is best for the city as a whole, not just their own ward.

Planning Director Jennie Franceschi supports the change, which would allow alternates to step in when members of the Planning Board step down. As it stands, new members have to be from the same ward as the person who is vacating the board, drawing out the appointment process.

The move aligns the Planning Board with the Zoning Board of Appeals and brings Westbrook in line with the majority of surrounding communities, including South Portland, Windham, Yarmouth, Portland, Scarborough and Gorham.

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