BRUNSWICK — The committee rewriting the town’s zoning rules intends to prepare an interim draft ordinance to present to at least one more public hearing this fall before submitting a final proposal to the Planning Board.

At a workshop Tuesday, the three-member panel agreed to schedule a series of meetings in early October to work through the dozens of comments received from citizens via email and at a series of public hearings over the past month.

The committee, made up of Planning Board members Charlie Frizzle, Margaret Wilson and Richard Visser, has been working for more than a year to overhaul the ordinance, which is guided by the 2008 Comprehensive Plan.

During the hearings, residents questioned specific parts of the overhauled ordinance, and many complained that they had not been given enough time to read and understand the 250-page document. 

The committee will decide whether to incorporate the concerns and suggestions from residents into an interim draft, which will be submitted for further public scrutiny before committee members finalize the document they will propose to the Planning Board.

Among some of the changes proposed in the ordinance is reducing the number of zoning districts from 50 to 31, and the inclusion of Brunswick Landing in the town’s zoning rules. 

The ordinance also proposes specific changes to dimensional standards and building regulations in the town core, environmental protections in the New Meadows area, and rules that shield neighbors of Bowdoin College from the impact of development at the college.

The committee had not originally planned for an interim draft, Planning Director Anna Breinich said after Tuesday’s workshop.

The number of additional public sessions is unknown, but it could include a second focused hearing for downtown residents, suggested by Town Councilor Jane Millett, who complained Tuesday that the committee had not received solid feedback.

Adding the new step will likely push the schedule further away from a goal to bring the document to the Town Council by December.

Frizzle, the committee’s chairman, has maintained the December date is not a deadline.

Responding to a question from the audience, he said it would be up to the committee to determine whether the suggestions and comments it received merited changing the current draft.

“We recognize there are going to be differences of opinion, and it’s up to someone to make a decision one way or another,” Frizzle said.

If residents still disagreed with the ordinance, they would have more opportunities to address the Planning Board and Town Council when those bodies consider the document, he added.

The committee intends to meet Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. in the Town Office to begin working on an interim draft.

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.

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