Friday, April 16, 2010
Changes proposed to Site Plan Review Zoning Bylaw
Selectmen Tim Hult and Doug Stevenson participated in the April 12 Planning Board Public Hearing on Article 27 for the May 10 Town Meeting. As summarized by Planning Administrator George Mansfield, “The proposal is to revise Section 7.6 of the Zoning Bylaws (Site Plan Review) by clarifying, but not changing, its applicability by moving detailed application requirements from the Bylaws to the Rules and Regulations as promulgated by the Board of Selectmen.” Further, the proposed Article will clarify the Planning Board’s role in supporting the Selectmen’s Site Plan Review process.
Any construction of a new building or alteration of an existing building, the principal use of which is non-residential, is subject to Site Plan Review as required by Section 7.6 of the Zoning Bylaw. Establishment of a principal non-residential use in an existing building or establishment of a more intensive, non-residential use is subjected to the same review.
In discussing the rationale for the proposed change, Selectman Hult said that elements of the bylaw cannot be waived by the Selectmen during their review but elements of their Rules and Regs can be waived if appropriate for specific applications. He said that the range of projects subject to site plan review warrants more flexibility. The Ferns’ addition, Center Park, Banta-Davis Field and Assurance Technology were all subject to site plan review.
Selectman Stevenson spoke in opposition to one aspect of the proposed bylaw change. The present bylaw requires that the Selectmen not take final action until after conducting a public hearing and receiving a report and recommendation from the Planning Board. The Planning Board has up to 35 days from the time that the site plan is submitted to the Planning Board to submit its report. Stevenson objected to changing this to 45 days. Planning Board Chair David Freedman justified the 45 days as being a maximum time allowed and would not necessarily delay action on the part of the Selectmen. Meeting only twice a month, the Planning Board must coordinate with other interested boards and committees in preparing its recommendations to the Selectmen.
There was no public comment. After closing the public hearing the Planning Board voted to support this Article at Town Meeting. ∆
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