EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 29, 2013

Hearing slated on Salem zoning amendments

Voters to consider proposals in March

SALEM, N.H. — Residents will get a chance tomorrow night to comment on a series of zoning amendments before voting on them in March.

The Planning Board's public hearing begins at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The six proposed amendments would do everything from tighten current ordinances to allow for rezoning of the Police Department property on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

"We are just trying to clean them up," said board Chairman Robert Campbell.

After residents expressed their views, the board would vote to include the amendments on the ballot, Campbell said. A second public hearing would be held if necessary.

Some of the proposed amendments would simply expand or clarify language in town ordinances written more than 20 years ago, but one ordinance is aimed at rezoning the 15.5-acre site that's been home to the police station since 1966.

Another would allow healthcare facilities — including an increasing number of urgent care centers moving to Salem — to be permitted in the commercial-industrial district without the need to request a variance.

Although there's been talk of the need for a new police station for years, there are no immediate plans to build one, according to Selectmen Chairman Everett McBride Jr. and Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.

Selectmen and Town Manager Keith Hickey discussed a proposed rezoning of the property last month to give the town more flexibility for marketing the site if a decision is made someday to sell the land and build a new station elsewhere.

The amendment calls for rezoning the site from commercial-industrial and town center property to all commercial-industrial. That's expected to increase the property's value and draw more interest from potential buyers.

"The idea is if we build a new police station somewhere else, we want to get the most money we can for it," McBride said last month.

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