2014-05-30 / Front Page

Zoning decision stalled

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — After four hour of deliberation during a public forum held to discuss amendments to the town's land use ordinance, the planning board voted to not send revisions to the board of selectmen, prolonging what has already been more than a year process.

The amendments include creating two new business districts and a townhouse corner district. While the rules for new business districts will remain, the planning board agreed that the many sections of the municipal ordinance still require revisions, both major and minor, before being put to the selectmen and, then, voters.

“Instead of having this long discussion, let me just say that I’m not in favor of these descriptions. I don’t think this is the right way to do it . . . during our public hearing I kept tabs and I have over 15 substantive changes that I feel need to be either looked at very closely, probably made,” said planning board member John der Kinderen.

“To me, that means that this is not ready for prime time. As an educator I would be embarrassed to present something like this. This is full of errors, full of problems, besides the fact that it will probably get voted down at town meeting, I would, even so, be embarrassed to present a document that has that many problems.”

“The planning board will not have enough time to send any revisions to the proposed land use ordinance in time for town meeting,” said Town Planner Tad Redway. “The state enabling legislation requires another public hearing with a 13-day public notice for any substantive text changes. Looking at the harsh reality of the calendar, obviously the board has run out of time.”

The options remaining, Redway said, are to “make revisions and send the resulting document to a special town meeting; make the revisions and send the documents to the public for consideration at the November election; make the revisions for consideration at town meeting 2015.”

The alterations are meant to work in the town's favor by making Arundel more accessible to prospective businesses. "The intention is to nail down some of these definitions and eliminate ambiguity (for the business owner)," said Redway at the May 22 meeting. "We believe it will greatly improve efficiency and give you a good idea of the permits and regulations."

Both downtown business districts would be located along the southern corridor of Route 1. "The planning board was looking at some very hard realities. The problem is, it's about the most uninhabitable business zone we've got," Redway said of the land intended to be designated DB-1 and DB-2, which is "basically covered" in mountains and wetlands.

"DB-1 and 2 are married together," Redway said. DB-1 and 2 include land along Portland Road, Campground Road, Log Cabin Road, Limerick Road, Old Post Road and River Road. DB-1 is intended for more small scale, aesthetically quaint establishments, while DB-2 would be a major business zone. Because of this distinction, DB-1 will front DB-2 on Route 1.

According to the town's land use ordinance, DB-1 "encourages the development of business and services . . . to provide for the needs of local citizens, visitors and tourists in a compact environment that will serve as Arundel's central business district and service center."

Permitted uses in DB-1 include health clubs, museums, lodging, home occupations, catering and food preparation, agriculture and farm stands. The architectural design standards for DB-1 would require structures to adhere to a specific style. "Buildings shall be designed so as to emulate the mass and scale of a Maine village," reads the draft land use ordinance.

"The preferred facade materials are either wood or cement board clapboards or shingles to emulate the existing built character of Arundel and a coastal Maine vil- lage."

DB-2 is "designed to encourage more intensive commercial and institutional uses that would otherwise be incompatible with the scale and business mix of the DB-1 district," reads the land use ordinance. "Site and building design is intended to be complimentary to building patterns in DB-1 and yet maximizes the function ability of available land."

Permitted uses in DB-2 would include low-impact manufacturing, marinas, medical facilities, professional offices, breweries and wineries and banquet halls.

The Townhouse Corner District (TDC) would be located at the "nexus" of Arundel Road, Log Cabin Road and Sinnot Avenue. The district includes the land along Arundel Road from Milbrook Drive to the intersection with Log Cabin Road and continuing on to John Cluff Lane.

According to the land use ordinance, "The Townhouse Corner area was historically an important institutional and commercial crossroads for North Kennebunkport residents both before and after its cession."

"The intent of this district is to reestablish a small-scale commercial and service center and create a new gateway to our community in context and compatibility with existing businesses and residences both in Arundel and across the street in Kennebunkport,” reads the ordiance.

Permitted uses include restaurants, farm retail, artist and craftsmen studios, professional offices and non-residential institutional uses, which would include philanthropic, religious, educational, fraternal or social institutions.

New architecture in TDC is expected to be "visually harmonious with the architectural and landscape character of the existing settlement."

The planning board will decide which route it will take at the June 11 meeting.

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