In a work session tonight, the Planning Board decided that the original Village District Overlay District (VCOD) map presented on November 9th will remain unchanged and annex portions of current residential/agricultural zoned property.
Here is a repeat of that VCOD map:
My objection was and remains, that it is wrong to annex large portions of quiet residential neighborhoods for the sole purpose of increasing density in the village area of town and potentially decreasing the value and livability of our properties.
The Planning Board is essentially asking us to give up our privacy and quiet, peaceful homesteads, so that dense housing, including potentially low income, clustered senior housing, numerous commercial use and to trust them that they will not allow uses that don't fit the neighborhood now and into the future. I have a hard time with that.
One serious concern also is that the amendment as proposed will allow the Planning Board to annex your property or portions of it into the new VCOD to accomplish the goals of the VCOD ordinance.
Further, any new or redevelopment of new single or two family homes will be subject to the requirements of the proposed ordinance to " enhance the visual character" of the community.
As my property is one at the heart of the issue, I will present a petitioned Zoning Ordinance Amendment that does not include these prime residential areas. The petitioned ordinance has to be submitted by December 14th, to be included on the warrant at ballot day March 14th.
There is some question as to how this works legally. If the Planning Board ordinance is on the ballot as is my petitioned one, and both pass, which one will be in play? Can both be on the ballot? I don't really know, but I will get at least 25 signatures of registered voters before December 14th and see what happens.
The Planning Board will hold the continued public hearing on this VCOD on December 14th, but I have to say that based upon the lack of any real attempt by the Planning Board to modify this plan, it is very doubtful they will approve any changes at the public hearing, so attendance at that meeting is probably pointless.
I am very disappointed that the Planning Board with the exception of Joanne Farnhum, were not willing to make a small compromise which would have avoided a contentious next few months and would have met the intentions of what they were trying to accomplish. I should add that none of the PB member lives anywhere near the proposed VCOD and I doubt that if they did, they would welcome this potential disruption to their homestead.
We need to move our town forward, but we also need to be mindful of the people already here, that have roots and a stake here and are planning on being here for the rest of their lives. Zero consideration was given to that aspect of this proposal and does not bode well for future plans for our town.