Mattapoisett’s Planning Board has reviewed and modified language on several by-laws as part of an overall plan to make zoning by-laws more user friendly and in line with master planning which they undertook last fall. The updated by-laws that will be sent to town meeting for the voters to accept or deny are signs, screening, parking, and trailers.
On this night, board member John Mathieu asked the other members to take up review of ‘marine residence zoning’. Currently, the town has three distinct sectors where marina-related business activities are permitted. Those locations are Aucoot, Brandt Island, and Eel Pond. Since all of these locations are sensitive environmental areas, Mathieu proposed the dissolution of the marine residence zoning in favor of ‘special permitting’ on a case-by-case basis. He said that in order for the town to provide the residents with local services in support of marine activities, more opportunities in more locations were needed. Given the present limitations, expanding marine businesses isn’t feasible, and Mathieu stated that “… it would be almost impossible to put any marine business in those areas.”
Mathieu went on to say that the Planning Board is responsible for planning the commercial land uses in town and, as such, needs to establish processes that ensure the board’s oversight of site plans. The process today allows for commercial enterprises – from time to time and in certain circumstances – to bypass the Planning Board and go directly to the Zoning Board of Appeals. To ensure proper management of commercial development, he said that the Planning Board needs to be involved. Mathieu noted that if marine businesses came under special permitting applications, the Planning Board would be in a better position to help this type of commerce grow, while controlling where and how to benefit the community and any residential abutters.
Paul Osenkowski, 8 Oaklawn Avenue, said that he would want to see that any current marine-type business be allowed a grandfathered status to continue operation. The board is seeking public input on this matter prior to taking any action. The first step in the process will begin during their next meeting when each member is to return with proposed new language, and the public is invited to give input. After the issue has been fully vetted through board meetings and if consensus finds in favor of changes, then two public meeting will be held to fine tune the text and present it via the town meeting warrant.
Earlier in the evening the board heard from Korey Medeiros, of Sitec Inc., representing Jeffrey and Charlotte Cheyne who were seeking to divide a parcel presently held in a family trust that would give two existing parcels an additional 50×50 feet each. The properties are located at Channel and Union Streets. The board approved the application.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is March 17 at 7:00 pm.
By Marilou Newell