Members of the town Planning Commission and Board of Architectural review met in a joint session Monday night to begin a new round of debate over the future of the town’s H-2 zoning overlay district.
The regulations were enacted three decades ago to better control the design of commercial buildings along the gateways to the town’s historic district on Market and King streets. For nearly 10 years, town leaders have been questioning whether the rules are having the desired impact. A study committee was formed in 2009 and reported its recommendations two years later, without much follow-up action. Last fall, at the urging of Councilman Tom Dunn, the council agreed to ask the commission and BAR to take a fresh look and report back by June 30.
Among the options floated during a two-hour meeting Monday are to add the regulations to more roads, including Edwards Ferry Road; applying the architectural controls to residential buildings; and shifting to a by-right zoning code to achieve the goals. Participants expressed confidence that improvements could be made, rather than considering another frequently mentioned alternative—doing away with the regulations altogether.
A smaller working group will be formed with representatives from both panels to meet twice monthly and begin collecting input.