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P&Z Rejects Expanding Hawleyville Industrial Uses

Following a June 19 public hearing, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members declined to revise the zoning regulations for the M-2A (Industrial) zone located in Hawleyville, as had been requested by the Economic Development Commission (EDC).

The EDC had sought to have the P&Z add three uses to the list of allowed land uses in the M-2A zone — distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses.

In May, the EDC had sought to have the P&Z allow those uses in the M-2A zone as “permitted uses.” P&Z members, however, then expressed reservations about that regulatory proposal, suggesting that the EDC return to the P&Z with a revised, stricter version for such a zoning rule change.

On June 19, the P&Z’s hearing focused on the EDC’s proposal to allow distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses as uses allowed under the “special permit” or “special exception” review process.

Special permit applications require an applicant to provide much more detail on proposed construction projects than “permitted use” applications. Such special permit applications also provide the P&Z with more discretion in specifying the terms of an approval.

The EDC made the M-2A zoning rule change proposal to the P&Z in light of the town’s plans to expand the Hawleyville sanitary sewer system, an action that EDC members expect will increase the development potential of two large undeveloped land parcels in the M-2A zone.

Those properties are a 103-acre parcel with frontage at 10 Hawleyville Road, and a 34-acre parcel with frontage at 90 Mt Pleasant Road. Those properties have rugged terrain, with steep slopes and wetlands.

Whippoorwill Hill Road-area residents who attended the June 19 P&Z hearing objected to the proposed zoning rule change, raising issues including pollution, industrial noise, damage to property values, truck traffic, wetlands protection, and generally the potential adverse effects of industrial development near the Whippoorwill Hill Road neighborhood, according to P&Z records.

Whippoorwill Hill Road is a residential dead-end street that extends northward from Mt Pleasant Road. It lies near both of the large parcels that have M-2A zoning.

Following the 74-minute public hearing, P&Z members expressed a variety of objections to adding the three proposed uses to the M-2A zoning regulations.

A P&Z motion to make the changes failed to draw a second, resulting in that motion failing.

An ensuing motion resulted in the P&Z unanimously rejecting the M-2A rule change proposal.

The planned sewer system expansion will involve extending sewer lines to the general vicinity of the intersection of Mt Pleasant Road and Hawleyville Road, in the general area near the large land parcels with M-2A zoning that town officials have long eyed as potential economic development sites.

“Permitted uses” currently allowed in the M-2A zone include laboratories for research, design, and experimentation; office buildings; light industrial uses; and hotels and conference centers.

“Special permit” uses currently allowed in the M-2A zone include recreation/sports facilities including indoor/outdoor golf courses, dance studios, health and fitness centers, facilities for racquetball, squash, basketball, volleyball, tennis, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and track and field, as well as swimming pools and ice rinks, among others.

“Accessory uses” allowed in the M-2A zone include stores, personal services businesses, financial institutions, restaurants, child daycare centers, and adult daycare centers.

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