Planning board: subdivision permit on Lakeview Dr. land has expired

by Mary Grow

With two pending permit applications postponed, China Planning Board members had a short meeting Sept. 28.

They did not hold a public hearing on, or discuss, Miguel Rivera’s application to convert the former Knowles Mechanical Building at 1097 Route 3 to a medical marijuana business (see The Town Line, Sept. 23, p. 3). Codes Officer Jaime Hanson said preliminary steps had not been completed.

Board members hope they will be able to hold the public hearing at their Oct. 12 meeting.

They did not review an amended subdivision plan involving relocation of Fire Road 19. This project, Hanson said, is awaiting a surveyor’s report. It might be ready for planning board review at the Oct. 26 meeting.

Hanson informed board members that the subdivision permit for the town-owned 39-acre lot on Lakeview Drive that is for sale for the second time (see The Town Line, Sept. 30, p. 3) has expired.

Subdivision permits do not expire under state law. However, municipalities are allowed to have stricter rules. The China Subdivision Ordinance says, “Failure to commence substantial construction of the subdivision within five years of the date of approval and signing of the Plan shall render the Plan null and void.”

Hanson said the last recorded activity on paper was an amendment approved in June 2015. There has been no on-the-ground activity, he said; the planned road is not built and no lots have been cleared or sold.

Planning board members voted unanimously that the five-year period to start construction has been exceeded and the subdivision permit is no longer valid. They think it is the responsibility of the landowner – the Town of China – to put a notice in the Registry of Deeds.

The other action taken, also without opposition, was adoption of the remote participation policy recommended by the Maine Municipal Association. Adoption allows municipal board and committee members to participate in meetings via zoom or other on-line technology, if criteria are met.

Other China boards have adopted the policy, with the understanding that it does not allow a whole municipal committee to meet remotely, as was legal during the proclaimed state of emergency due to the Covid pandemic. If a member is sick, or is temporarily unable to travel to the meeting, he or she may participate on line.

Downer is pleased that China meetings are routinely broadcast on Live Stream and taped for later viewing; he thinks the procedure benefits interested residents. However, he expressed concern about the cost.

The next regular China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the portable building behind the town office.


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