A citizen’s petition to repeal the Wiscasset Historic Preservation Ordinance has enough signatures to force a vote.
According to Town Clerk Linda Perry, the petition has 197 certified signatures, eight more than the necessary 189. The number represents 10% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
Judy Flanagan, a former selectman and member of the budget committee, turned in the petition. Flanagan said many people gathered signatures.
The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen will review the petition at its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 31. According to Town Manager John O’Connell, the selectmen may conduct future meetings remotely due to the coronavirus issue.
State law requires the selectmen to either place the question on the warrant for the annual town meeting by referendum in June or call a special town meeting within 60 days of receiving the petition.
Wiscasset voters approved the historic preservation ordinance in 2015. The ordinance requires a certificate of appropriateness from a five-member historic preservation commission for construction, including exterior renovations, in historic districts.
Many homeowners and property owners in the historic districts have criticized the ordinance and the commission’s application of the ordinance.
The current petition is the second attempt in three years to repeal the ordinance. In 2017, voters rejected the repeal effort, 536-437.
The current petition asks for language similar to the wording of the 2017 referendum.