Moratorium voted down in Westbrook


The Westbrook City Council voted in a 3-3 tie Monday night to deny the proposed 180-day moratorium on large scale residential development in the city.

The vote, which surprised some in the council chambers, was the culmination of months of discussion on such a measure. If approved, it would have stopped all residential developments of more than 10 units for the next six months.

Supporters of the moratorium have argued that such a pause would give officials time to revise the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances, and that current ordinances are not equipped to handle an explosion of growth highlighted by the Blue Spruce Farm subdivision off Spring Street and overcrowding at city schools. But developers and some city officials believe a moratorium would open the city up to costly litigation, and would send the wrong message to the business community.

During the roll call vote, councilors John O’Hara, Mike Sanphy and Victor Chau supported the moratorium, while Anna Turcotte, Michael Foley and Gary Rairdon voted against it. Council President Brendan Rielly recused himself from the vote because a partner at his law firm represents Risbara Bros., the developer of Blue Spruce Farm.

This story will be updated.