EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 23, 2013

Windham voters to consider zoning issues

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — WINDHAM — A lengthy Town Meeting warrant will include more than a dozen zoning issues.

One question envisions future development of the Village Center District, what some have described as a traditional downtown.

“This amendment is the outgrowth of the Wall Street-Route 111 study and the work of a citizen subcommittee,” Community Development Director Laura Scott said.

Officials have spent a good part of the past couple of years working on the concept.

Nancy Kopec, a member of the Village Center District subcommittee that studied the issue, said in a memo to voters that borders would not be changed with proposed zoning revisions.

“We hope that future growth in this area will meet the goal to enhance quality of life with civic, residential, recreational and commercial uses in close proximity to one another,” Kopec wrote.

Another relates to the impact of development on important town resources.

“This amendment was drafted in conjuction with the Heritage Commission to ensure that consideration is paid to the town’s historic resources as well as the archaeological resources through the building permit and Planning Board processes,” Scott said.

Another question aims to make sure permitted uses in non-residential districts are clear and complement the stated purpose of the district, she said.

Many of the zoning questions are what Scott calls “cleanup items.” They redraft, clarify language, simplify process and make sure the town is complying with state law.

The zoning issues are detailed on the town website, windhamnewhampshire.com, and officials say it would be helpful for voters to do their homework before they head to the ballot box.

“The Planning Board members and subcommittee members spent countless hours working on this year’s amendments and hope that the citizens take time to check out the Town Meeting page on the town website,” Scott said.

People can navigate there by clicking on the Planning Board link and then “2013 Town Meeting Items.” There is a separate “Voter Information” link that also can be helpful.

Town officials will speak with residents who want to know more.

“Contact the Community Development Department or the Planning Board members if you are looking for additional information,” Scott said.

Voters go to the polls March 12.