Letter: Seeking Clarification in Plan of Conservation and Development



Dear Editor:
One important zoning change in the 2014 “Plan of [Conservation and] Development” is still not clarified by P&Z in its language & use: “Planned Development Districts” or “institutional use of land in residential areas” such as: YMCA, St. Lukes, Silver Hill, Jelliff Mill, etc.  This is about to be approved in the Plan of Development for the obvious reason that it’s meant to be applied in the future – but the ramifications are not clear.  If it was never intended to be used – why put it in?
What needs greater clarification is the legal affect on neighbors and interested parties versus advantages for the Town. Does it reduce the bargaining power of neighbors by insulating P&Z from future court actions?
Once a district is designated under the new zone, P&Z can freeze the district (YMCA, Jelliff Mill, etc.) in place.  However, at their discretion P&Z can then either keep it frozen or opt to expand it. Apparently, P&Z is then insulated from legal action in the courts which appears to limit neighbor’s options.  This would also mean that even if public meetings for input are held before the expansion – the new zone will not compel the P&Z to take any particular action on behalf of the neighbors.
Andrea Sandor

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