2016-06-10 / Letters

Referendum question

To the editor:

I am writing in reference to a change in the zoning ordinance Article 8, Section 6.B.7-3, which will appear as referendum Question 8 on Kennebunk’s municipal election ballot on June 14. The change would increase the number of rooms that can be rented from four to six.

As a 12-year member of the Economic Development Committee I approached this change request from an economic development standpoint. We could have applied for a contract zone change specific to our property, the Waldo Emerson Inn on Summer Street which would, in my mind, not address the overall development of the cottage home businesses within the town as a whole.

We have not gained any B&B-type home businesses in Kennebunk for over 12 years and have lost two so far.

There are districts in town that allow up to eight rooms for rent, some with none and in our case not to exceed four. The planning board suggested, and supported, the change to six. This was then fully supported by the economic development committee, the Chamber of Commerce, with a recommendation to the board of selectmen during public hearings and subsequently it was added to the June ballot with full board support.

The inn has had eight bedrooms since 1901 and no changes will be needed to the building. We will be taking two of the private bedrooms and making them part of the current four rooms for rent; this makes a total of six rooms for rent. There are more than sufficient onsite parking spaces to support this change.

I believe this change would promote bringing outside revenue in to our town and support local businesses and preserve our beautiful historic homes and values. It would also retain and possibly promote the establishment of more B&B-type businesses, which in turn would support the ever-increasing visitor hospitality needs. It would also encourage sustainable home businesses as a cottage industry.

This change would also distribute the visitors load rather than concentrating them into already congested areas, all at no cost to the town’s residents and with no environmental impact nor changes to the property.

I urge residents to vote yes on referendum Question 8, Renting of rooms, not to exceed six rented rooms, on June 14.

John Daamen, innkeeper, Waldo Emerson Inn

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