Saturday, December 7, 2013
NORRIDGEWOCK -- Selectmen are sending to the Board of Appeals a decision by the Planning Board to dismiss construction fees for Redington-Fairview General Hospital.
Selectmen voted 4-1 Wednesday night to send the decision to the appeals board.
Earlier in the week, the Planning Board met to discuss the decision, which originally was made in January and dismissed $12,475 in construction fees for a Mercer Road construction site where the hospital has built new offices. Acting Planning Board Chairwoman and Selectwoman Charlotte Curtis said at the time that the decision was made on the basis of being friendlier to businesses.
However, selectmen last month asked the board to reconsider its decision after code enforcement officer Frank Tracey brought it to their attention. Tracey said it might set a poor precedent to charge construction fees based on what constitutes a good business.
Curtis said the Planning Board had a "lengthy discussion" about the decision but that no one wanted to make a motion to change it.
"Nobody felt strongly enough that we could change what we did or what we should do now," she said.
Curtis said she still thought the board had made the right decision, but that some of the wording in the town ordinance was confusing and possibly should be reconsidered.
She also announced the resignation of one of the board members, Etta Tappan, at Tuesday night's Planning Board meeting.
Tappan said her resignation stemmed from the board's decision to not charge Redington-Fairview, which she said was a decision she supported.
"I believe the decision we made as a board was the correct one. Otherwise, I wouldn't have voted for it," she said.
Tappan said she had served on the board for almost two years and that in that time this was the only disputed decision.
"I think it's perfectly OK if the town wants to go to the Board of Appeals. That's what it is there for," she said.
According to the ordinance, commercial construction projects are subject to application fees based on the value of the project, with projects costing less than $500,000 charged a 1 percent fee and projects of more than $500,000 being charged a 2.5 percent rate.
The hospital initially was assessed a $5,000 application fee for a project costing $499,000.
Later, when the hospital submitted final documents showing the cost of construction to be $699,005, the additional fees were not charged.
"We based the application fee on the initial estimate, and the reason for that was that these people were fully prepared and had all their documentation in order when they came to us. The board felt this would be a wonderful addition to our community," she said at a selectmen's meeting last month.
Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368