Houlton property owner frustrated by zoning hoops

6 years ago

To the editor:

My mother Ruth and I own the building at 38-40 North Street in Houlton, i.e. Portland Glass/ACAP daycare building.

There is a church in town that has outgrown its facility and would like to lease with an option to buy said building.

As this area is not zoned for a church I have been to the planning board twice; the last time included a public hearing. Jim Thompson, a taxpayer in this zone spoke favorably for the church, the only taxpayer in said zone to attend the meeting. Bob Anderson, a business owner in the abutting zone also spoke in favor of the church.

There are 74 total uses for the buildings in this zone, I was hoping to add one more, but the planning board is concerned that a church might affect any business that may want to serve alcohol.

Though I’m trying to jump through the hoops needed to get the church permitted in that location, they keep getting smaller and higher and I’m not as young as I once was.

As a result of my researching the codes, consulting with attorneys and bending every ear within the sound of my voice, I’ve had an inquiry about leasing to a medical marijuana cultivator. To find that there are no restrictions in any zone on cultivating medical marijuana in town but there are on churches has me dumbfounded.

I’m meeting with the town council on Feb. 26, to present my case for an additional use — a church — in this R/B zone. I’m asking the taxpayers of town to take five minutes to write a letter expressing their preference for the use of this property or take 15 minutes  and attend said meeting and voice your opinions, or better yet do both. This is your town and what happens with this property is in your hands.


Larry Holmes