44 South Bedford Street Special Permit Application
Dear Members of the Planning Board and Staff,
As both a Town Meeting Member in Precinct 3 and a Land Use Committee Member, I have many concerns and questions with regard to the application for a Special Permit at 44 South Bedford Street. In general, I do not believe that this Special Permit application, for a Home Office, to be in accordance with the intent of the Town Master Plan, the Zoning Bylaws or sale the Town’s property. Of particular interest are some concerns that were expressed during the March 7, 2012 Planning Board meeting and that I feel are critical in determining the validity of this application:
· Intent of the 1993 Master Plan - with respect to Mall road as delineating the line between commercial and residential sections of that area and also to protect the residents of this Town.
· Intent of current Zoning Bylaw - with respect to the home office being within the home and with all employees living within the home
· Approval of this Special Permit - could set a precedent with regard to the intent of designing and building a “office-home” rather that designating a small area of a home for the office
An additional concern that was not mentioned, but may be worthy of further consideration:
· Intent of Town Sale of This Property – It is currently zoned RO. When Town Meeting approved the sale of this property, former Town Administrator Bob Mercier stated that it would be recorded in the property deed that it could not be rezoned commercial. Therefore, I propose that it is the intent of the Town for this property to remain residential without the blurred distinction of an office-home as is being proposed with this Special Permit.
Finally, I realized some other questions that are worth considering during the hearing process:
· Tax Rates - Will the residents be assessed residential or commercial tax rates?
· Future Sale of the Property – Does the Planning Board or any other Town Department have authority to determine what will happen to the use of this property upon a future sale?
· Application Denial - If this application is denied, will the applicant retain the property? Will the resident propose to build a different type of house?
Allowing this proposed Special Permit will only reinforce the idea of circumventing the requirements for a Commercial Property rezoning. I can only hope that with the answers to some of these questions and concerns, the Planning Board will be able to build a case for the denial of this application and to uphold the neighbor’s (and the Town’s) desire to keep this residential neighborhood intact.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Shari Lynn Ellis