CHINA: Half dozen questions may be on November ballot

by Mary Grow

If relevant town committees’ plans work out, China selectmen will be asked in early August to approve half a dozen Nov. 2 local ballot questions. China’s elections for selectboard, planning board, budget committee and Regional School Unit #18 board will also be held Nov. 2.

The planning board is working on two draft ordinances, a Solar Energy Systems Ordinance and a Shoreland Stabilization Ordinance.
At their June 28 and July 13 meetings, planning board members developed a separate question related to the proposed solar ordinance.
Planning board members also intend to propose amendments to the shoreland regulations in China’s Land Use Ordinance, as required by a May letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The China Broadband Committee plans to ask selectmen to ask voters to approve a bond issue to build new broadband infrastructure.
The 2020 revision of China’s Comprehensive Plan is ready for voter action.

The Solar Energy Systems Ordinance is planned as a new chapter in the Land Use Ordinance, to guide planning board members as they review applications for solar installations, from rooftop or backyard panels serving one house to fields of panels generating electricity to be sold. At the June 13 meeting, board Chairman Randall Downer said the draft ordinance had been forwarded to the selectboard.

The related question members want to hand on to voters is whether the amount of a lot that can be covered by solar panels can be limited, and if it can, how strict the limit should be (see The Town Line, July 22, p. 2).

Projects approved in China so far, on Route 32 North (Vassalboro Road), off Route 32 South (Windsor Road) and on Route 3 (Belfast Road), have been limited to a maximum 20 percent lot coverage. Board members cite the development on Route 3 just east of Augusta as a local example of unlimited lot coverage.

The Shoreline Stabilization Ordinance is intended to clarify requirements for constructed barriers, as differentiated from buffer strips, intended to limit shoreline erosion.

China voters approved an amended Shoreland Zoning Ordinance in the spring of 2019. State regulators wrote that they need changes before they can give the document full approval.

The broadband committee has no firm estimate of construction costs; committee members expect to have one before the Nov. 2 vote. Previous estimates started at around $9 million and have decreased to around $6 million, a figure committee members think might still be high.

The revised Comprehensive Plan – 160 pages plus 14 pages of maps – is on the town website,, under the Comprehensive Planning Committee (which is under Officials, Boards & Committees). It is currently under review by state officials.

According to the website, the following local positions will be open in November 2021:

On the Board of Selectmen, seats currently held by Irene Belanger and Wayne Chadwick. Selectmen are elected from the town at large.
On the planning board, District One (incumbent Randall Downer), District Three (vacant) and the alternate at-large position (incumbent Natale Tripodi).
On the budget committee, District One (incumbent Kevin Maroon), District Three (incumbent Dana Buswell) and the chairman, elected from anywhere in town (incumbent Robert Batteese).
On the Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 Board, the position held by Neil Farrington. Farrington said in an email he does not intend to seek re-election.

For the planning board and budget committee, District One is northwestern China, District Three southeastern China. Copies of the district map are on the website under the Budget Committee and the Planning Board (which are under Officials, Boards & Committees).

Selectmen, planning board and budget committee members are elected for two-year terms. RSU directors are elected for three-year terms.

Nomination papers have been available at the town office since Monday, July 26. For a candidate’s name to be on the Nov. 2 ballot, signed papers must be returned to the town office by 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 3.


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