Spring Street rezoning request returns to Planning Board

Feb 6, 2018

Almost a year after Marion voters denied the rezoning of three lots on Spring Street, the lot owners have returned to Marion's Planning Board with a renewed request to rezone.

The Planning Board, backing the rezoning request, has approved it as an agenda item at Marion's regular Town Meeting, to be held in May.

Colonel Briggs, who is working on the project with Sherman Briggs, attended the Planning Board's Feb. 5 meeting to explain the project. He noted that Marion's Town Planner Gil Hilario had invited lot owners to "try again" with requesting a zoning change. Hilario said the proposal is an ideal fit for Marion's Master Plan housing goals.

If approved, the zoning of the three lots on Spring Street would change from "limited business" to "Residential Type E," the type of zoning needed to construct condominiums. Construction of more multi-family or condominium housing in town is a tenet of the Marion Master Plan's housing goal, seen as a solution to an aging population looking to downsize.

"We think we have the right formula this time," Colonel Briggs said. "Last time what he had wasn't understood properly. We hope we can come up with the right presentation, which is intended for classy condos, fitting for the town of Marion."

Hilario explained his invitation to Briggs, saying that the rezone makes sense. "One of the goals of Marion's Master Plan is more condominium-type housing, to support an older population," he explained. "A lot of people are looking to downsize, but they don't have any options."

The three Spring Street lots, he added, are ideal for that type of housing, as they are close to amenities, food, Marion Village and the highway.

The original rezoning request was denied by voters at Marion's May 2017 Town Meeting, when voters expressed concern over additional water and sewage systems tying into Marion's waste treatment plant.

Planning Board member Steve Kokkins said that, due to the way Marion is currently zoned, there's very little opportunity to build condos or houses that fit the Master Plan's housing goals.

However, Kokkins made it clear that there is no proposal for any sort of building project on the lots at this point. "It is simply a rezoning matter, and the beginning of a long process," he explained, noting that if and when building plans for the lots materialize, they will be subjected to a separate, but equally intense analysis and review by Planning Board members.

"Nothing else can be done until the zoning change is permitted," Planning Board Chair Eileen Marum said.