Berlin Officials Turn Attention To Zoning Code

BERLIN
– With Berlin’s new Comprehensive Plan now approved, the town must turn its
attention to modifying the zoning code to enshrine the plan’s vision.

At
Berlin Administrator Tony Carson’s suggestion, the Berlin Mayor and Council
agreed to hold a council work session in the future to offer town staff
direction and suggestions on the rezoning, which must follow the newly approved
Comprehensive Plan.

Staff
will do the technical work, but the Berlin Planning and Zoning Commission will
guide the draft, philosophically, based on direction from the town council.
Elected officials must then approve the changes to the zoning code.

Before
staff begins drafting the changes, the town council needs to reach a consensus
on what to send to the planning commission, Carson said at Monday night’s
council meeting.

“That
would be very helpful,” said Berlin Mayor Gee Williams.

The
town will proceed under the philosophy that citizens want quality development
over quantity, said Williams.

“They
want sustainable residential development but they don’t want to grow too big,
too fast,” Williams said.

This
rezoning will be a learning experience, the mayor said, since the town will
approach the zoning changes differently than any other time.

“We’ll
all be learning together,” said Williams.

“I
don’t foresee any major controversy in establishing a new zoning code based on
our new comprehensive plan,” said Planning and Zoning Superintendent Chuck
Ward.

The
zoning ordinance does need to be revised to reflect the new comprehensive plan,
which does not have the force of law.

Ward
said the changes could be more in the vein of modifications, rather than a
comprehensive overhaul of the zoning code.

Staff
will handle the technical aspects of the rezoning, Williams said, but he and
the town council will make sure that rezoning decisions are driven by citizen
input.

“We
just always need to make sure first we ask our citizens and we all agree what
we’re trying to do,” said Williams.

Ward
expects the Planning Commission to take up the rezoning in early fall.

“I’ll
certainly put it in front of them, start the conversation,” Ward said.

                         

 

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