At our board meeting last week on March 25, we held a public hearing on a rezoning request for 102 Center Street, a property on the east side of the street. There are several properties on Center Street of an historic nature, and the hearing prompted discussion about this.

The applicant’s request was to rezone the property to B-2 from R-7.5, so that they could operate certain businesses not currently allowed in the R-7.5 zone. The consensus of all of the neighbors who spoke was that while the current owner of the property planned to use the land for non-intrusive businesses, they feared that rezoning it to B-2 would allow future owners to have more intense uses, and might subject the entire block (and perhaps even the west side of Center Street) to eventual total B-2 zoning.

The board’s discussion also clearly leaned in favor of wanting to allow the applicant to operate the businesses it was proposing, but with hesitation about re-zoning the property to B-2. Several members felt that we should review this type of “fringe” zoning (properties on the fringe of commercial and residential); in other words, is there a type of zoning that would fall somewhere between B-2 and R-7.5 that might need to be explored and adopted? Or, should we explore a type of zoning that deals more specifically with properties of an historic nature? (Click HERE for details about this matter, and to read about the historic properties on Center Street).

Ultimately, the Board approved a recommendation from the Town Attorney to establish conditional zoning in the Town, thus providing a mechanism through which both the applicant and the Town can get what they want with this re-zoning. It also will give us time to take a prudent look at a new zoning scheme that we might want to consider, so that we assure conservation of our historic past.

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