[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Shapleigh 3-13-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to Article VIII, Pt. 2, Section 1 of the Maine Constitution and 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3001, the Town of Shapleigh hereby establishes a Planning Board.
[Added 3-14-2009 ATM by Art. 8]
The purpose of the Planning Board is to administer the priorities of the Town of Shapleigh Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and Growth Ordinance in order to maintain the safe and healthful conditions and the general welfare, prevent and control water pollution, protect spawning grounds, fish, aquatic life, bird and other wildlife habitat, control building sites, placement of structures and land uses and conserve shore cover, visual as well as actual points of access to inland and coastal water and natural beauty, and to encourage the preservation of farmland.
Board members shall be appointed by the municipal officers, (henceforth known as the Board of Selectmen) and sworn by the Town Clerk or other person authorized to administer oaths.
The Board shall consist of five members and two alternate members.
The term of each full voting member shall be five years. The term of alternate members shall be five years.
When there is a permanent vacancy of either a full or an alternate member, the Board Chairman shall notify the Board of Selectmen who shall, within 60 days of its occurrence, appoint a person to serve for the unexpired term. A vacancy shall occur upon the resignation or death of any member, or when a member ceases to be a legal resident of the Town, or when a member fails to attend four consecutive regular meetings without prior satisfactory explanation, or fails to attend at least 75% of all meetings during the preceding twelve-month period. When a vacancy occurs, the Chairman of the Board may recommend to the Board of Selectmen that the attendance provision be waived for the cause, in which case no vacancy will then exist until the Board of Selectmen disapprove the recommendation.
Any member of the Board may be removed for cause by the Board of Selectmen before expiration of his/her term but only after an advertised public hearing at which the member in question has had an opportunity to refute specific charges.
If a member disagrees with the decision of removal by the Board of Selectmen, the member may request a fair hearing, in writing, within five working days of receiving a written notice of removal.
The Board of Selectmen must schedule a fair hearing within five working days of receipt of written notice by the dissatisfied member, and a fair hearing authority must be established. The FHA shall be compromised of three members appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
The decision made by the FHA shall be reached solely on the information presented at the hearing. The FHA must give the member a written decision of their findings within five working days of the hearing.
A member of the Board of Selectmen may not be a member or alternate member of the Planning Board.
The annual organizational meeting shall be held on the first regular Planning Board meeting in May, and the election of officers shall be immediately thereafter. The Board shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its full members. The candidate receiving a majority vote shall serve for one year or until his or her successor shall take office. Vacancies of officers shall immediately be filled by regular election procedures. Officers may be elected for consecutive years.
There shall be a Secretary hired by the Board of Selectmen and voted upon by the Planning Board each year. The Secretary may be a Board member, but it is not required.
The Secretary shall be responsible for the minutes and records of the Board, agendas or regular meetings and special meetings with the Chairman, notice of the meetings and hearings, correspondence of the Board, and other duties as are normally carried out by a secretary. The Secretary shall keep a record of all resolutions, votes, transactions, correspondence, findings and conclusions of the Board. All records shall be deemed public and may be inspected during normal business hours.
The Chairman shall preside at all meetings and hearings of the Planning Board. The Chairman has the authority to appoint all committees, to call work sessions, designate which alternate member shall serve in place of a regular member, and to preside over executive sessions. The Vice Chairman shall act for the Chairman in his or her absence.
Alternate members may attend all meetings and participate in the proceedings but may vote only when designated by the Chairman to sit for a member.
When a member is unable to act because of interest, physical incapacity, absence or any other reason satisfactory to the Chairman, the Chairman shall designate an alternate member to sit in that member's place.
Any question of whether a member shall be disqualified from voting on a particular matter shall be decided by a majority vote of the members, except the member who is being challenged.
The Board may employ such staff and/or experts as provided in local ordinances or regulations within budget limitations to assist in planning matters and issues as needed. This assistance shall include the hiring of independent engineering and traffic consultants and legal counsel. Appointments shall be made by a majority vote of the entire membership. Opinions presented by the Board's legal counsel shall not be binding upon the Town of Shapleigh.
Meetings shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at the time specified on the municipal calendar. The meetings shall be at the Town Hall or other suitable meeting place. The Chairman, or upon the request of a majority of the Board, may schedule a special meeting; provided, however, that notice thereof shall be given to each member and to representatives of the press at least 24 hours in advance and that no business may be conducted other than as specified in said notice. All meetings shall be open to the public.
No meeting of the Board shall be held without a quorum consisting of three members or alternate members authorized to vote. It shall not include anyone who cannot participate due to a conflict of interest."Conflict of interest" means direct or indirect pecuniary interest, which shall include financial benefit to any member of the person's immediate family, to his employer, or the employer of any member of the person's immediate family. It shall also include a situation where the Board member by reason of his interest is placed in a situation of temptation to serve his own personal interest instead of the public's interest. Any question of whether a member shall be disqualified from voting on a particular matter shall be decided by a majority vote of the members present, except the member who is being challenged. In the event a quorum is not present, the Board members are authorized to request that the Chairman reschedule the meeting to another date and to adjourn the meeting. If the date is other than a regular meeting date, the Secretary shall have the responsibility of providing adequate notice to the Board members, municipal officials and the general public.
The Board shall adopt rules for the order of business, work sessions, hearings and include these in its bylaws. The Secretary shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, correspondence, findings and determinations. All records shall be deemed public and may be inspected at reasonable times.
1 A. Decisions by the Board shall be made within the time limits established by state law and local ordinances and regulations. The final decision on any matter before the Board shall be issued as a written order signed by the Chairman. The transcript of testimony, if any, and exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceedings, and signed minutes of the meetings/hearing, shall constitute the record. All decisions shall become a part of the record and shall include a specific statement of findings and conclusions. At a minimum, the record should specifically state that the applicant has/has not met all applicable state statutory requirements, all applicable municipal ordinances, and all applicable municipal regulations, and those legal documents shall be specifically referenced.
The Board, in reaching said decision, shall be guided by standards specified in the applicable statute, ordinance, or regulation as well as by community goals and policies as specified in a Comprehensive Plan, if any, and by the findings of the Board in each case.
Notice of any decision, including the findings and conclusions/minutes, shall be sent by mail or hand delivered to the applicant, his representative or agent within the time limits established in the Shapleigh Zoning Ordinance and/or Shapleigh Subdivision of Land Ordinance.
Decisions of the Board, shall be immediately filed in the Town office, shall become part of the Board's permanent record and shall be made public record in compliance with the Right to Know Law.
The Board may reconsider any decision at the same meeting or at a subsequent meeting within 30 days of its original decision; provided, however, that both a vote to reconsider and any action taken pursuant thereto shall occur and be completed within 30 days.
Notice of any reconsideration shall be given to all interested parties in a reasonable time in advance of the reconsideration. The Board may conduct additional hearings and receive additional evidence and testimony.
Reconsideration should be used for a record which contains significant factual errors due to fraud or mistake regarding facts upon which the decision was based or, when the Board misinterpreted the ordinance, followed improper procedures, or acted beyond its jurisdiction.
Appeal of the decision of the Board is governed by state and local law.