Buxton’s Keith Emery is retiring from the Planning Board after three decades. Robert Lowell / American Journal

A legend in his own day is stepping down after dedicating more than 30 years to the Buxton Planning Board.

Keith Emery, the board chair for most of his time in office, is not seeking reelection for another three-year term and will step down on town meeting day, June 15.

From a family with deep roots in Buxton, Emery was first elected to the Planning Board in 1993.

It’s no secret that Emery has been at odds at times with the town Select Board. A few years ago he objected to an addition being built on the police station without prior Planning Board approval and wanted a stop work order. More recently, Emery objected to the Select Board’s handling of a town communication tower it proposed on the Mary Jane Road. “They don’t like to follow the proper channels,” Emery said.

He admittedly is not politically correct.

“Some of our meetings do get heated,” Emery said. “I speak my mind.”

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Select Board member Chad Poitras said Emery is willing to ask the “tough questions and provide answers” to ensure town ordinances are being followed.

“Keith has dedicated himself over the years to the town in various roles. His long-term leadership in the Planning Board is especially appreciated,” Poitras said. “His memory of town ordinance creation and purpose is unparalleled.”

Emery said he has worked with some pretty good Planning Board members through the years, like the current Jerimiah Ross and Christopher Baldinelli.

“We don’t agree all the time either,” Emery said.

He lists the most notable changes in town during his tenure as the building of the Buxton Center Elementary School, the Hannaford store and a dental office, along with many subdivisions.

Emery grew up in Buxton and as a young man delivered the Portland Evening Express and Maine Sunday Telegram newspapers. He graduated from Bonny Eagle High School in 1979, then entered construction and built his own home. At one time, he was one of four generations of the Emery family plowing snow at the same time in Buxton. One of his nieces, a high school student, operated the plow wing in the rig he drove, he said.

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On June 21 he’ll retire from his job as an auto technician at Portland Public Works.

He and his wife Linda plan to travel and he has a “honey do list,” he said.

It appears doubtful he’ll be available for any consulting on Planning Board matters.

“When I walk out that door as a board member, I’ve forgot everything I knew,” Emery said.

“He will be greatly missed by our townspeople and we all hope he enjoys his retirement,” Poitras said.

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