TREMONT— Lack of a quorum on the Planning Board Tuesday night prevented members from proceeding with a site plan review for what is proposed as the Pointy Head Campground in Bass Harbor.
Four members of the seven member board attended the meeting, which represents a quorum, but member Margery Buck is an abutter to the Harbor Drive property where the proposed campground is located. Buck recused herself from a previous discussion regarding the project.
During the meeting, Buck asked if she could sit on the board in order to move the process forward because attendance of the remaining three members has been inconsistent. Chairman Mark Good said by doing so the board would be opening themselves up to an appeal.
Voters approved an ordinance change at this year’s Town Meeting that reduces the number of Planning Board members from seven to five and shortens the term from five years to three. The change was proposed because consistent attendance of all the board members has been a challenge.
At the start of the meeting, Good asked the board to excuse members Geoffrey Young, Maynard ‘Gus’ Young and Wayne Stanley. All voted in favor.
“At some point that motion we keep making pro forma has got to change,” said Planning Board member Brett Witham, explaining that the blanket excusal does not hold members often absent accountable. “Next meeting, we need to be more thoughtful about that and start the clock ticking.”
An Ordinance to Establish the Tremont Planning Board states that a vacancy can occur for several reasons. One is when a member fails to attend four consecutive meetings or 75 percent of the meetings in a 12-month period without excusal. Witham pointed out that the absences have been excused by the board, which makes it difficult to remove any member who has not been attending regularly.
Geoffrey Young has informed the board that he is not comfortable attending meetings in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members at the meeting asked Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar to check the legality of Young attending the meetings electronically in order for the board to have a quorum. They also said going to an all-Zoom meeting might be an option, except when it came to holding a public hearing for projects before them.
Dunbar, who was hired as the town’s CEO in March, told the board he has never met member Wayne Stanley, who has not attended any meetings at least since then. Witham said he also had not met Stanley.
“For the folks that are just repeatedly not showing up, we need to find someone else,” he added.
Review of the application for the proposed Pointy Head Campground is scheduled to go before the Planning Board at its Aug. 18 meeting, if there are enough members to review it.
Members of the board found the application to be incomplete at their July 21 meeting. There have been three notices of violations issued to property owner Madelon ‘Bunny’ Brogdon, two of which have been cleared, according to Dunbar. He said the third is cleared upon Planning Board approval of the campground. It was issued in January for unpermitted structures on the property that are part of the plan for the 15-unit project.