We had a very productive meeting of the Economic Development Committee this morning. We went through the Hotel Resort Zoning proposal line-by-line. We made several changes to the by-law and it is getting close to a “final” product. I will be making the changes that were discussed this morning in the next day or two and will then update the tab with the zoning proposal.
One significant issue arose during this discussion – should we recommend changes to how hotels are permitted in zoning districts other than the Hotel Resort areas we are designating? The issue was in the back of my mind to be addressed at the end of the discussion today, but came up earlier when we were asked about how the Hotel Resort Zoning might impact the area along Old Wharf Road.
Hotels are presently a by-right use in the Resort Residential Zoning District. We are discussing providing incentives for hotels to reinvest along Chase Avenue. However, to ensure that these investments meet community goals, we are considering requirements for Special Permit review in the Hotel Resort District. It would seem counter-productive to continue to allow hotels by-right in the remaining Resort Residential Zoning District while requiring Special Permits in the new Hotel Resort area. Given the interest by those in attendance from Old Wharf Road, seemed to make perfect sense to discuss this issue when we were asked how the Hotel Resort Zoning might impact the “Campground” area.
My suggestion, which was accepted by the Economic Development Committee, was to review existing zoning, and recommend that, in any district where hotels were a Yes in the Use Table, we recommend changing it to a Special Permit. As it turns out, hotels are only allowed by-right (Yes) in the Resort Residential Zoning District. By making this change, we will ensure that hotel investment in the Chase Avenue area is on, somewhat, similar footing with other areas where hotel uses can occur.
This change has an additional benefit to the “Campground” area in that it will provide the town with some increased control over possible redevelopment in the Old Wharf Road area as hotel use, without creating all the other incentives for hotel development we are proposing for Chase Avenue.