Boards put into action

Committees will help Lisbon revitalization

LISBON — Two more committees are being activated to assist in the mayor’s plan to revitalize the downtown business district.

Mayor Joe Morenz announced at last week’s Village Council meeting existing village code calls for them to have a five-member planning committee, which is to review proposed zoning changes recommended by the board of zoning appeals before being brought to council.

Morenz is using the BZA to review the zoning code for the purpose of recommending what changes needed to be made to help with enforcement of the downtown revitalization plan being put together by Town Center Associates, the consulting firm hired for that purpose by council and the Lisbon Area Chamber of Commerce.

Once the BZA has completed its review and compiled a list of recommended changes, the recommendations will be presented to the planning committee for its review and recommendation to council, which has the final say.

The village zoning code allows for a five-member a design and review board, and Morenz wants this committee staffed as well, although he can only envision it being used on an as-needed basis when a property owner wants to demolish a historical building.

“If someone wants to demolish a historic building they (the committee) can stop that from happening,” he said. Preserving as much of the historic downtown as possible is a key component of the revitalization plan.

Morenz needs volunteers to serve on both committees and asked anyone interested in doing so to forward their name to the mayor’s office. Neither position comes with compensation.

When the newspaper showed up early for this week’s council meeting, it found zoning critic Herb Chesney speaking with Morenz and several council members who showed early to sign bills before the meeting. Chesney indicated he continues to have a number of problems with the zoning code that he would like to present to council by getting on the agenda.

Chesney resides above the storefront building he owns in the downtown business district that would be affected by the proposed changes. He maintains that the village frequently fails to follow its own zoning rules, and much of what officials want to accomplish falls under the auspices of a building inspector, and the zoning inspector does not have the authority to perform those duties as the position is currently constituted. He is also concerned about some of what is being proposed as part of the revitalization plan.

Morenz told Chesney he was already working to address many of his concerns, and Council President Roger Gallo suggested he first bring his questions to village solicitor Megan Bickerton.