Camden Street zoning at issue

By George Chappell,
Posted Jan. 05, 2009, at 10:57 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council on Monday laid the groundwork for future zoning at one of the busiest intersections in Knox County.

In an agenda setting meeting, the council recommended placing a request for rezoning a portion of Camden Street for action on the Jan. 12 agenda.

Sponsored by Mayor Deborah McNeil, the order states that the City Council asks the Comprehensive Planning Commission to recommend appropriate zoning for Camden Street between Maverick and Cedar streets consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Use of the corner was debated during the recent Walgreens application for a zoning change that would have allowed the national retail pharmacy to build a 14,500-square-foot building. After a year and a half of contention between the council and the neighborhood over the issue, which went through two developers, residents in a referendum in December repealed a zoning change that had been approved by the City Council.

At Monday’s session, Councilor Tom Molloy recommended that future requests include neighborhood comments on the zoning area involved, “so that they can have some ownership.

“We need to involve more than five people in the City Council,” he said.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson recommended preliminary meetings with the city manager and a neighborhood “to do some workshopping.”

Interim City Manager Terry Pinto said there had been concerns from neighbors during the proposed Walgreens talks about “commercial creep” from Camden Street.

“It would be in the best interest of the city to invite people to try to create more dialogue,” Pinto said.

City Attorney Kevin Beal said he knew the Comprehensive Planning Commission had made the neighborhood a priority for consideration.

“They’re going to have a long-term discussion,” he said. The commission meets once a month, and councilors estimated that it could take up to six months to fill their request.

The properties in the proposed zone at Maverick and Camden streets are residential. The council in August had changed the properties to a conditional commercial zone, as requested by Walgreens.

Councilors expressed Monday night that it might be better to look at the zoning of the area without having a developer pushing the city for a particular change beforehand.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/01/05/news/camden-street-zoning-at-issue/ printed on September 18, 2014