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Downtown “Over 55” Re-zoning Proposed



As part of his efforts to convert the former Middle School East building into apartments for people ages 55 and older, developer Kevin Lobisser has submitted a proposed Zoning By-law amendment to the town for inclusion on the Annual Town Meeting warrant. The proposed zoning change also takes care of the Planning Board's request to Lobisser to also look at having apartments on the upper floors of downtown commercial buildings.

Under the current zoning, Lobisser can only convert the Middle School East building into commercial use. His initial proposal to the town called doing just that by tearing the building down and constructing a new, two-story commercial building with off-street parking. His proposed zoning would allow Lobisser to instead convert the school building into 36 market rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments for people ages 55 and older.

To do that, the proposed Zoning By-law amendment would allow "limited 'over 55' residential uses' in the CA Central Commercial and CB Neighborhood Commercial zones through a special permit issued by the Planning Board. Within the CB district – where the Middle School East building is situated – "over 55" residential uses would be allowed only on parcels of 1.5 acres in area or larger. Within the CA zoning district – which encompasses much of the downtown Main Street area – "over 55" residential uses would be allowed only above the Main St. first floor level.

The proposal also sets conditions for such "over 55" residential uses:

• They may only be within multi-story buildings fronting on Main St. (Rt. 16).

• There can be no more than two bedrooms per apartment unit.

• Maximum occupancy would be two people per apartment unit, one of whom must be age 55 or older.

• Boarding and rooming house units would not be permitted on any floor in a building having "over 55" residential uses on the same floor.

• The applicant must provide 1.75 parking spaces per apartment unit in the CB zoning district. In the CA zoning district, the applicant must show binding legal availability – through lease, easement or other method – of 1.75 parking spaces per unit.

• Refuse removal will be the responsibility of the building owner.

• No displays of any kind may be placed on building exteriors other than permitted advertising for commercial space.

The Board of Selectmen voted on March 12 to forward Lobisser's proposed zoning amendment to the Planning Board, in order for the Planning Board to hold its legally required public hearing on it. Selectmen also remanded another proposed Zoning By-law amendment o the Planning Board: Nickoletta Piperis would like to allow large-scale solar energy systems to be allowed in the CC Commercial zoning district through a special permit issued by the Planning Board.




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