Limited step, but giant leap in being heard


The showing was much smaller than the previous meeting the Planning Board had to discuss the limited business districts.  But those who attended and those who sent their input via email, were very interested in the board’s next move.

A few options were on the table, do nothing and send all of the feedback and minutes to the town council or come up with a recommendation for the council to accompany the feedback.

The board had a lot of discussion.  The discussion highlighted the input from not only the people who attended the September 21 meeting but from those who took the time to send emails to the board.

Terri Flynn did an excellent job of highlighting what she learned was on the mind’s of those who contributed feedback.

  • Building height/scale
  • Views- light, air, open space
  • Atlantic Beach District Master Plan
  • Zoning that is sensitive to residential neighbors of commercial lots
  • Density and congestion
  • Importance of enforcing the zoning

After some heated discussion about what the board should send to the town council, Paul Croce proposed a motion to limit the building height for all buildings in the limited business district to 35 feet, both commercial and residential.  The strongest dissent was from Bill Nash, who said that the board needed to do more research, citing the 2 years it took for the planning board sub-committee to come up with the bulk zoning recommendation.  The counter argument came from Liz Drayton who used the language from the zoning ordinances, she felt that commercial development needs to be complementary to homes, creating a neighborhood feel.

In the end it was a 4-2 vote in favor of recommending the 35 foot height limit in the limited business districts.  The vote does not change zoning, the next step is a public hearing before the town council.

In other business for the night, the board is going to tackle the use table with a sub-committee.  Old business, the board voted to change the dimensional table for the limited business district allowing for a 10 foot set back for commercial developments (to allow the buildings along the street and put parking behind the building) and pushing single family, dual family, and multifamily homes to 25 feet set backs.


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