JANUARY 20, 2016
Mr. Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:46 p.m. In attendance were Commission members David Bowering, Darrell Craig, Morgan Ellis, Rob Fordi, Paul Showalter and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk, and guests.
The first order of business was to nominate and elect a Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary for 2016.
Mr. Showalter moved to nominate and elect Mr. Jeff Grotsky as Chairman for 2016, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.
Mr. Grotsky moved to nominate and elect Mr. Paul Showalter as Vice-Chairman for 2016, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.
Mr. Fordi moved to nominate and elect Ms. Morgan Ellis as Secretary for 2016, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of December 16, 2015. Mr. Craig moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
2015 BEST BUILDING AWARD NOMINATIONS
Mr. Grotsky asked the Commission if they had nominations for the Best Building Awards. The Commission discussed different projects in Town over the last year and whether or not they should vote on a building or site that did not come before the Commission. The discussion moved towards nominating projects that did come before the Commission. The consensus was that the 2015 Best Building Award should be presented to Kent Plaza.
2015 ANNUAL REPORT
Ms. Mulligan stated that copies of the Planning Commission Annual Report were distributed to the Commission for approval. Mr. Showalter moved to approve the 2015 Planning Commission Annual Report, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously
Mr. de Mooy stated that he had several follow-up conversations with Mr. Stephen Meehan about two separate properties in Town that he would like to have rezoned. Mr. Meehan submitted a zoning change request in April 2015 for both properties that are identified in the Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use Map. He said that it was up to the Planning Commission to decide when and if the request can be heard. Mr. de Mooy stated that by law the Planning Commission had to visit the current zoning every 10 years. The last comprehensive rezoning was finished in 2012.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he found a mistake on the Zoning Map that he would like to correct where two properties located at the corner of Water Street and Cannon Street were zoned Commercial Marine but should be zoned R5 Downtown Residential.
Mr. Fordi asked if Mr. de Mooy was concerned about people requesting zoning changes at any time. Mr. de Mooy stated that both requested zoning changes were supported in the Comprehensive Plan. He said that a zoning change not mentioned in the Comprehensive Plan would likely have a higher standard of review.
Mr. Showalter asked if any other land owners have submitted requests for changes. Mr. de Mooy stated that there were none to date but if the Commission was going to consider rezoning it would be open to any property owner in Town.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there would have to be public notices allowing time for applications to be received, followed by public hearings.
Mr. Fordi stated that he was concerned this would lead to a “slippery slope” as the process was opening up because one person wanted changes. He said that if the Commission was going to review requests they should be reviewed when the Planning Commission calls for it to be reviewed. Mr. Grotsky stated that he agreed with Mr. Fordi’s statements and at the same time wanted to show some flexibility, suggesting requests be reviewed every two years. Ms. Ellis stated that if there were specific times when requests were going to be heard, it leveled the playing field for all. Mr. Darrell stated that in order for a zoning change to occur the reasons had to be compelling and it was typically a rare event.
Mr. Grotsky stated that when the Commission adopted the Comprehensive Plan they knew that the request for these properties was forthcoming. He said that if the applicant was ready to move forward, he felt that the Commission should move forward. Mr. Grotsky said that after this round the Commission should institute or schedule for how often the zoning will be reviewed.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he would look into what had to be done for the Town move forward with the rezoning process.
There being no further business, Mr. Bowering moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky Stenographer Chair