The Planning and Zoning Commission continues to move forward with its consultant, BFJ Planning, in the process of updating the Town's Zoning Regulations. The Commission, however, would like to postpone the next public forum (originally scheduled for November 28) since valuable time was lost during the week of Hurricane Sandy, and the holiday season is now upon us.
In the meantime, the Commission wants to respond to the residents and community leaders who took the time to actively participate in the last public workshop on this topic in September. During that session, there were many opinions expressed about the direction the Commission should take with this
zoning update. In response to those concerns and opinions, the Commission has made the following policy decisions concerning the direction of the zoning updates:
1. The Commission has no immediate plans to create new Village Districts or Overlay Zones as proposed in the Town's Plan of Conservation and Development. While these tools might be useful in the future, the Commission feels that there is not enough existing support to warrant the time and effort it would require to implement those zoning tools now.
2. The Commission intends to maintain two Business Districts as they currently exist in the Town's Zoning Regulations (DB-1 and DB-2), though they may be renamed. The Commission plans to maintain a Business 1 and a Business 2 District to avoid any zone changes as part of this update process.
3. The Commission intends to maintain the Limited Office District, but with modifications: retail uses will be added as Special Exception Permit uses in the Limited Office District, which will likely be changed to Office and Retail District.
4. In an effort to streamline the land use approval process, the Commission has expressed interest in establishing a Site Plan Review process for certain commercial uses. Through that process, the Commission would be able to approve certain uses through a regular meeting without the need for a formal public hearing. The Commission would intend to use Special Exception Permit approvals for uses that would potentially have a greater impact on issues such as neighborhood character and traffic conditions.
Having made these decisions, the Commission is hopeful that they have addressed most of the major concerns raised by the public. We look forward to your continued involvement as we move forward with this process.
Patrick O’Hara, Chairman
Planning and Zoning Commission