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Seaside zoning vote will need super majority

Waterford - A two-thirds vote will be required of the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve the zoning amendments developer Mark Steiner is seeking for the Seaside Preservation Zoning District, after residents collected the necessary signatures to force the higher vote threshold.

Neighbors of Seaside, which was formerly home to the Seaside Regional Center for the developmentally disabled, filed a petition last month opposing the changes and requested they not be adopted except by a super majority vote. The success of their petition means that four of the commission's five members will have to vote in favor of the changes in order for them to pass, rather than just three.

Kathy Jacques, who spearheaded the petition, said she already knew the petition contained enough signatures to force the higher vote threshold.

"It's just part of the process of the public hearing," she said Monday.

A July 10 memo from Planner Mark Wujtewicz states that verified signatures include owners of 30 parcels of property located within a 500-foot buffer zone of the Seaside property, amounting to 1 million square feet of land or about half the area contained within that 59-parcel zone.

State law requires "If a protest against a proposed change is filed at or before a hearing with the zoning commission, signed by the owners of 20 percent or more of the area of the lots included in such proposed change or of the lots within 500 feet in all directions of the property included in the proposed change, such change shall not be adopted except by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of the commission."

The petition was filed at a June 25 hearing on the proposed zoning changes, the first hearing for the recent proposal from Steiner. The commission will convene for a second hearing Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall. The proposed changes would allow for the development of an inn on the property and would privatize roads within the special zoning district.

Wujtewicz said Monday that in theory, the commission could vote on the changes at the meeting Wednesday but that he doubts the commission will elect to do so.


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