New zoning district in the works

Gatewayl_West_Mar_2015_for paper

Public hearing May 4

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

The town is considering setting up a new zoning district on a portion of Williston Road.

The new district, called the Gateway West Zoning District, would allow limited commercial uses along Williston Road, near the intersection with North and South Brownell roads.

Residents can weigh in on the proposed changes during a public hearing, set for May 4 at 7:45 p.m. at the Town Hall.

Zoning Administrator Ken Belliveau said the Planning Commission has been looking at options to adjust the zoning regulations for years. The area was flagged in the town’s 2011-2016 Comprehensive Plan as an area for study and possible zoning changes.

“Easy solutions were elusive, to say the least,” Belliveau said.

Belliveau said residents had varying opinions. Many of those on South Brownell Road and Kirby Lane said they like the neighborhood the way it is. Those closer to Williston Road hoped for flexibility.

“We talked about a lot of different ideas, but eventually it seemed to focus on the properties that were right up on Williston Road,” Belliveau said. “They said ‘We have a hard time selling our houses. It’s not really a good residential neighborhood anymore.’”

Belliveau said the new zoning district struck a compromise.

“In the end, we tried to accomplish something that wouldn’t necessarily result in a wholesale change in the character of the neighborhood but would give property owners some additional options,” he said.

The new zoning district, as proposed, would allow some limited office use along Williston Road, as well as a greater density of residential units so someone could build a small, multi-unit dwelling.

“It would just give people more options with their land,” Belliveau said.

Two other public hearings are on the agenda for May 4. The first is a proposal to eliminate the second tier of the town-wide stormwater fee, meaning all single-family homeowners would pay the same rate. The second involves adjustments to the town’s sewer allocation ordinance.