Camden planners to consider rehab center zoning vote in January

Posted Dec. 12, 2013, at 9:54 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — The Camden Planning Board heard an additional three hours of public comment Thursday night concerning a controversial zone change to allow a high-end alcohol rehabilitation center to locate in a upscale residential neighborhood.

At the conclusion of the continued testimony, the board agreed to schedule another meeting in January at which time it expects to vote on whether to recommend the zone change to the Select Board.

Any change would ultimately have to go before voters in a referendum.

Planning Board Acting Chairman Lowrie Sargent said after the meeting that the board members had previously discussed that they did not want to begin their deliberations late in the evening. The public comment concluded at about 8 p.m.

The date of the January meeting will be determined once the schedule for the Camden Opera House is checked.

Opponents argue that a proposal to add private rehabilitation facilities as a special exception to the zone would be a clear case of spot zoning that would erode the protection for residential neighborhoods.

Proponents dispute that claim and point out, as one of their arguments in support of the zone change, that the town needs year-round, full-time jobs.

Fox Hill Real Estate is asking for the change to open up the center at 235 Bay View St.

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