By Belle Hatfield
The Town of Yarmouth's planning advisory committee disagrees with a recommendation from Yarmouth's town planner that would allow commercial uses on industrial zoned lands east of Pleasant Street. The committee voted not to recommend acceptance of the proposed changes to zoning when it met Monday evening, Feb. 4. The decision ultimately rests with Yarmouth town council when the proposed amendment is considered at its regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The committee's decision was made after a public participation meeting at which several people spoke. John Miller, who identified himself as a property owner with a significant investment in the downtown central business district, questioned the wisdom of adding new land for commercial development at a time when Yarmouth's business community is struggling. He told the committee that there is a surplus of available commercial space.
The re-zoning proposal comes in response to an application to rezone a property at 101 Forest Street. The planner’s proposal would not only rezone that property, but also all the properties in between Clements Avenue and Pleasant Street and between Parade and Forest streets that are now zoned M-1 on the future generalized land-use map.
If the proposal were implemented these lands would become available for both commercial and industrial development. They would be in the CI-4 zone on the future generalized land use map. There is already a property on Forest Street in the CI-4 zone. Tri-Star Industries Ltd. applied for and was granted a spot re-zoning several years ago to enable it to establish a retail sales outlet for telecommunications products in addition to its core industrial business, manufacturing ambulances.
The proposal is being driven by applications from businesses interested in taking advantage of the new traffic on Forest Street due to the new high school.
In his report to the planning committee Arthur MacDonald said, “The owner of 101 Forest Street now wishes to establish commercial uses and take advantage of opportunities associated with the relocation of the high school to 146 Forest Street.”
In particular, the committee heard that there are several mobile food trucks that want to park on the property. Mitch Bonnar, who owns residential lots across the street, said he objects to the spectre of rows of "chip wagons" lined up across the street from his property.
In making his recommendations to the committee in December, MacDonald said, “by including commercial uses in an existing industrially zoned area, the impacts will actually be less … it makes good planning sense to go ahead and do this proposal.”