Bremen voters approved a change in the fiscal year 125-50, rejected a new land use ordinance 124-59, and elected Christa Thorpe to the Bremen School Committee at the polls the morning of Saturday, April 1.
Voters braved the spring snowfall to make their way to the town center.
With the passage of the change in the fiscal year, the town will switch from a calendar year to a fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) effective in 2018. The Bremen Board of Selectmen backed the change in order to align the town with state budgeting practices.
The proposed land use ordinance would have combined the existing building permit ordinance, industrial site plan review ordinance, and minimum lot size ordinance into one document.
The selectmen and the Bremen Planning Board backed the change, citing a need to adopt regulations better suiting the town, while removing inconsistencies, contradictions, and gaps in the existing ordinances.
But during the course of three public hearings, members of the public raised concerns about combining multiple ordinances into one and adopting the new ordinance before fully resolving potential issues with the new ordinance.
Addressing voters after the defeat of the new ordinance, Selectman Wendy Pieh thanked residents for casting their ballots on the matter and attending the public hearings.
“I am so pleased people came out and voted. We got a lot of input in the three different meetings,” Pieh said.
She said one point of input was to add a representative of the public to the town’s ordinance review committee, which now consists of Pieh, planning board Chair Walter Voskian, and budget committee member Harold Schramm. Harbor Master Melanee Osier-Gilbert will be appointed to the committee as a representative of the public.
Pieh said that despite the election results, the town would continue working to streamline and clarify the town’s ordinances.
“We aren’t going to give up trying. We think there are real problems with these ordinances. For me, it’s not so much who comes out on top but that people feel they have the freedom and opportunity to represent their opinions,” Pieh said.
The next meeting of the town’s ordinance review committee will take place at the town center at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 6.
Election results were read at the start of the open town meeting at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 1.
According to moderator Don Means, a total of 185 ballots were cast.
The only contested election on this year’s ballot was between Thorpe and Diana Blair-Monkman for a seat on the school committee. The incumbent, Judith Mohr, did not seek Voters chose Thorpe with 98 votes to Blair-Monkman’s 37.
In uncontested elections, Pieh was re-elected to the board of selectmen with 136 votes,
harbor committee member Bruce Poland was re-elected with 142 votes, and S. Blair Kauffman and David West were elected as alternates to the planning board with 95 votes and 125 votes, respectively.