As expected, the Milton Selectboard unanimously passed the latest round of zoning regulation changes on Monday night. They become effective on August 25.
The zoning amendments are the result of the planning commission’s yearlong review process, which changed several sections of bylaws.
Two sections were widely debated at prior hearings, one governing permitted locations for recycling yards and another that would have allowed hotels in a small, downtown district.
In July, a majority of board members agreed to remove hotels and motels as a conditional use in the M2 zoning district, off Haydenberry Drive. At Monday’s hearing, PC members Lori Donna and Julie Rutz said they were finally OK with the change, one they lobbied to keep to make the most of the downtown core.
“Even if we wanted the use to be in there, we still believe that as proposed, they still meet the intent of the comprehensive plan,” Donna said. “With that change made …”
“It still works,” Rutz chimed in.
“[The changes] still meet the intent of the comprehensive plan.”
Lori Donna, Planning Commission
Planning Director Katherine Sonnick assured selectman Stu King that motels and hotels were allowed in other districts.
Former junkyard owner Gil Rhoades came to the last hearing to ensure there weren’t any loopholes in the new regulations, which now restrict scrap yards to the I2 district. Previously, they weren’t permitted in any district, and as such, the town could consider them conditionally anywhere.
Sonnick pointed out the recycling yard regulations themselves haven’t changed, and they specify that only junkyards created before the 1994 moratorium are eligible to obtain permits in I2.
That leaves few lots that could feasibly get a junkyard permit since they’d have to show, using photos or other evidence, they were operating before that year, Sonnick said.
Rhoades persisted, saying he wanted to ensure the town core would be free of unwanted uses, but was shut down by Selectboard Chairman Darren Adams, who said Rhoades was veiling his true concern: making sure Rhoades’ neighbor, George McRae, can’t get a salvage permit for his wrecker service on Middle Road, in the downtown business district.
McRae has sought a permit to ward off future enforcement by the Agency of Natural Resources, which cited him for running an unlicensed junkyard.
“I don’t see what [the PC is] proposing as a gateway for George McRae to do what he pleases,” Adams said. “I see this is the answer to prevent that from happening.”
“That’s what I want to hear you say,” Rhoades replied.
Since McRae can no longer ask for conditional approval, he said he’ll seek an accessory use instead.
Sonnick said that designation doesn’t exist in current regs but that the PC agreed to research the possibility of differentiating a full-blown scrapyard from a subordinate one. McRae submitted proposed language for consideration.
The new zoning regulations also create new requirements for open space in certain mixed use developments, mandate building sidewalks along public roads in some districts and clarify sign rules.
Read the new zoning rules at bit.ly/1iLoGoM.