Planning board eliminates proposed ordinance change for non-residential building height

Proposal would have increased it in residential zones from 34 to 60 feet
Posted:  Friday, October 6, 2017 - 3:15pm

The Boothbay Planning Board removed a proposed height increase for non-residential buildings during an Oct. 5 ordinance review workshop. The board is re-writing all municipal ordinances to reflect changes voters approved two years ago in the comprehensive plan.

In August, a resident complained about a proposed change regarding space and bulk standards in the residential district. A proposed ordinance would increase non-residential building heights from 34 to 60 feet in a residential zone. On Oct. 5, former planning board chairman Fran McBrearty described the proposal “as a significant, large, meaningful change” which should be voted on separately from the reworked municipal ordinances. The board is working toward presenting voters with new, updated municipal ordinances for approval in May.

McBrearty described the proposed change as going from “a two to a four story building.” He recommended removing the change or creating a separate warrant article. A third alternative proposed by McBrearty was advising or requesting selectmen negotiate with Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to create contract zoning.

“When I consider issues that are in the forefront of our local news, common knowledge, and other media, it’s apparent, probably to all Boothbay residents, this change is to accommodate proposed growth within the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens,” McBrearty said. “A change this significant should not simply be included in a warrant with wholesale changes. A change this significant should be handled separately.”

The planning board eliminated the controversial change without much discussion. Chairman Alan Bellows reported the planning board requested CMBG officials consider contract zoning last year. “They weren’t interested,” Bellows said. “But I agree with your point, Fran. We’ve worked too hard on this to let something this controversial jeopardize the entire plan.”

Gaecklin Road resident Kevin Anthony also attended the workshop. His family is challenging the board’s decision to award CMBG a building permit.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Fran. If he didn’t mention it tonight then I’m sure a few other people in attendance would have,” Anthony said.

The workshop continued with members reviewing edits made by consultant Mark Eyerman from the previous session.