CBD Boundaries Causing Concern

It seems that any time the mention of the Center Business District (CBD) comes up in a meeting, a flood of confusion comes out between residents and officials, but the message from the Town Manager’s office is clear — they are working on it and they want the public involved.

At Monday night’s Planning Board meeting confusion spilled out from the crowd. The major issue centers on the map that defines the Center Business District.

Appearing before the board was Assistant Town Manager David Rodrigues and town attorney Jannel Austin of K&P Law to give an update.

Austin said that they are in the process of reviewing everything with the Town Managers office

“We are working together to reaffirm the zoning boundaries,” she said.

“We do understand there is confusion over the zoning boundaries. The approach we’re taken is looking at the 2017 Master plan of the center. We will be engaging with the public and validate the findings that are there,” Rodrigues said, adding they would seek the public input on redrawing the boundaries. He said the 2017 Master Plan is the first phase. Turning the vision into reality is Phase 2.

He said the process should take about three months and there will be two public meetings.

Planning Board member Bob Carroll said he thinks it is just a functional issue with the map adding that the master plan is a moving document meant to evolve.

“I thought we were talking about something much simpler just an outline of where the CBD line is,” Carroll said. “We don’t know if something can be built four stories or three stories.”

Austin also spoke about the town’s building commissioner being the town zoning enforcement office and how it all plays in to the process. He has the ultimate decision. The obligation is on the applicant for working with the enforcement officer.

Some people seemed surprised the town has a code enforcement officer.

“Feel like it’s a piece meal way to deal with this problem,” Carroll said. “Want somebody to go around with the fuzzy edge of the pink line we have right now and sharpen it in to a bright red line around people’s property.”

Rodrigues said they are taking the master plan vision and they are codifying the zoning.

“We want to re-engage the public when we look at the line,” Rodrigues said.

Planning Board member Gina DiMento clarified that that the 2006 codified map of the town was being used by code enforcement agents.

Several resident continued to express their dismay with the boundary issue in the center business district.

“Center Business District is a complicated issue as I know that I will be told during public comment,” Carroll said. He asked that all the information be placed on the town’s website.

“We’ve discovered that what we believe is codified from 2014 is not appearing on the website. Some pages seem to be correct and others missing,” said Planning Board member Honnor Merceret.

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