To the Editor:
On March 8, we will be voting on a number of different Articles.
Several of these are related to zoning, one in particular is Warrant Article 10 put forth by residents who wish to change three lots from their current designations to Commercial Zone C-II.
If this Article passes, it will expose the Historic District 1 (HD1) and Residential/Agricultural zones to potentially large-scale commercial development not in keeping with the established zoning.
The first two lots in question are currently occupied by Carriage Towne Plaza and the Sleep Institute of New England, both of which are thriving businesses that are compatible with their surrounding neighborhoods.
The third lot was to be the site of a new grocery store.
Recent litigation overturned the Planning Board' approval of this development, but the fact remains that many commercial uses still exist for this HD1 lot. HD1 already allows for a mix of different uses including commercial activity such as retail stores, animal clinics, restaurants, churches, civic buildings, schools, etc. that are in keeping with the character of the District.
When writing on the issue of spot zoning, Peter Loughlin, a prominent land use attorney and counsel to the Planning Board, says:, "Changes in zoning boundaries can be justified only when they are for the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals, or the general welfare of the community. Furthermore, they must be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan."
He also states:
"Adjoining property owners are entitled to rely on the rule that a (zoning) classification, once made, will not be changed unless the change is required for the public good."
I believe that zoning changes proposed in Article 10 are not for the public good and, therefore, not in the best interest of the community.
They may, in fact, be detrimental to our existing zoning structure by allowing conflicting heavy commercial activity in areas not appropriate for it.
I would encourage you to vote No on Article 10.