CONWAY — It's already a no-no, but Conway selectmen made sure at their regular meeting that there will be no chance of property owners misunderstanding: No portable toilets are allowed in the floodplain conservation overlay district, unless it's a temporary one placed there for a special — and permitted — event. The town's zoning ordinance does not allow the enclosed, plastic toilets in the floodplain district, and the health regulation approved by the Conway Board of Selectmen on Tuesday just strengthens that prohibition.
Earl Sires, town manager, said that the town had received inquiries from individual campsite owners, specifically in Transvale Acres, the neighborhood of campsites, camps, and a several year-round residences that is bordered by the Saco River. “We are telling people at this point they can't,” he said.
Selectmen Mike DiGregorio asked how many property owners the regulation affected. Sires said that although some would like to have a portable toilet, they don't, and that he is not aware of them being anywhere else in town on the floodplain.
Chairman Dave Weathers pointed out that on the Transvale Acres campsite lots everything has to be portable now, and “on short notice, how do you move a portable toilet?” Many of the sites, Sires said, have campers parked on them, which, in theory, are used for short-term camping. He said some come with toilet facilities, and that it's “not so much the kind of toilet, but the portability.” In case of an evacuation due to a flood warning, the recreational vehicles and travel trailers could be quickly driven off the property.
In his report to selectmen, Sires said that town budget expenditures are on target, except in the legal budget line item. He said much of that is due to Transvale Acres issues, where the town stepped up enforcement of flood plain ordinances in the aftermath of tropical storm Irene in late August 2011.
Many Transvale Acres property owners have had to remove structures from their land after being denied variances from the zoning board. Several have appealed the zoning ruling and have challenged those rulings in court.
Sires said it isn't only the court costs that were adding up, but that town staff and officials have had to get up to speed on the legal issues involved.
Lot owners with damaged structures on their properties are coming up against another deadline — the town's floodplain ordinances call for non-conforming buildings within the district to be repaired within one year, so long as they meet the minimum standards of regulations of the National Flood Insurance Program, or be removed completely.
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