PARIS – There will be no wind farms or strip clubs in Paris, if the town’s Land Use Committee has anything to say about it.
“We’re trying very hard to create a land-use plan that will make the most amount of people happy and step on the least number of feet, while at the same time help our community grow in a positive way,” said Dennis Creaser, reporting on behalf of the town’s Land Use Committee to the Paris Board of Selectmen on Monday evening.
“After much debate, we unanimously agreed that the intense controversy which always seems to be generated by wind farming was not something we felt was good for the town,” said Creaser. “Since we didn’t have the authority to ban them altogether, we designated the [Route 26] corridor as the wind farming zone, hoping that the technology will have to improve dramatically for anyone to build one there.”
Proposed wind farms have been the subject of fierce debate in neighboring communities, including Sumner and Buckfield.
Creaser said that the committee was also actively trying to discourage sexually-oriented businesses, which he said Oxford has been “recently afflicted” with.
“No one felt that this was the sort of industry we wanted in our town,” said Creaser. “Again, we didn’t feel we had the authority to ban them outright.”
Instead, Creaser said that the committee was recommending regulations “to the point where it would be difficult to find an appropriate building lot. We then assigned the use to the [Route 26] corridor, assuming that the further away from the casino we allowed them to be, the less likely it would be that anyone would actually try to build one.”
Creaser reported that the committee would recommend other major changes to the town’s comprehensive plan by altering the character of existing zones, starting with the Route 26 corridor.
“According to the comprehensive plan, the corridor seemed to be designated as an uninhibited highway into our town,” he said. “We have concluded that the corridor is the only zone in Paris that is suitable for having manufacturing, aggregate mining and other types of business and industry that would require large amounts of space … and access to the highway. We therefore expanded its use to include more types than any other zone.”
Creaser said that the committee would also like to create a new zone centered around Market Square.
“It is our eventual intention to create performance standards that will encourage, not mandate, the gradual evolution of Main Street into an attractive, quaint … village, particularly in the immediate area of Market Square.”
Creaser said that the committee would also favor the creation of a commission that would have the power to restrict construction on historical buildings in the Paris Hill Historical Buildings zone.
The committee, said Creaser, “will be in charge of issuing certificates of appropriateness regarding construction-related issues on historic buildings in the district. We felt that since the district was so unique, it would be better to have a commission to oversee it.”
Creaser received thanks from several members of the board, and agreed to submit a written version of his report.
In response to a question from Board Chair Bob Kirchherr, Creaser said that the committee members had no plans to recommend an ordinance mandating the changes, but that they intended to forward its findings to the Board of Selectmen for its review.
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