Waterford votes to charge Seaside developer for the costs of review

Waterford - The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Monday to charge Farmington-based developer Mark Steiner for the cost of the commission's review of Steiner's proposal to amend the zoning regulations for the Seaside Preservation District.

Steiner, the state's preferred developer for the $8 million property, proposed zoning changes a week ago that would allow construction of an inn on the property, expand use of a meeting facility to include events and banquets, and privatize roads inside the proposed condo and resort development.

Planning Director Dennis Goderre said before the meeting that the commission has not charged fees of applicants in the past year he has served in his position, though it has the authority to do so. He said the town should not be burdened with legal and other fees for Steiner's application.

Goderre said that, "knowing the interest in this application," Planning and Zoning staff planned to hire a stenographer to record the yet-unscheduled public hearing for the proposal.

He said having a stenographer will allow for faster turnaround should someone request a transcript of the hearing. He also said that the transcripts could be useful in the case of litigation.

"With any application, there's always potential for legal matters to arise," he said.

He also said before the meeting that the commission may consider hiring other experts; for example, the commission may seek the services of an architect with knowledge of historic buildings.

Seaside, which formerly served as a facility for the developmentally disabled, is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes two buildings designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert.

A handful of Seaside neighbors concerned about having a commercial development near their homes attended the meeting Monday.

The group gathered in the hallway after the commission voted, to discuss the timeline of Steiner's application process.

Neighbor Kathy Jacques had with her a petition to require a two-thirds majority, as opposed to a simple majority, for the five-member commission to pass the zoning changes.

Jacques said she intends to distribute the protest petition as soon as the public hearing date is set. She said she would need 20 percent of owners of property abutting Seaside to sign the petition in order to require a super majority vote.

Steiner did not attend the meeting or return a call for comment.

t.townsend@theday.com

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