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Planning Board To Meet With HDC To Reaffirm Roles and Responsibilities

Planning Board Chairman John Giger advised the Board that on Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, Planners will meet with members of the Historic Districts Commission (HDC) to discuss their respective jurisdictional issues and reaffirm their respective roles and responsibilities.

"Our first work with the HDC is to talk about the responsibilities before we talk anything about Design Guidelines. I will take a stab at putting this together, and I will read the laws and bylaws and draw up a first draft. There are a lot of things we need to talk through," Giger said.

This meeting comes as a result of efforts by Planning Board to establish Design Review Guidelines throughout the center of town. However, by state law, responsibility and permitting for any proposed changes to the center of town is the sole purview of HDC, which is the permit granting authority.

In other business, Planning Board will meet with consultant Judi Barrett from Community Opportunities Group, the firm hired to implement the updated Comprehensive Master Plan. This meeting with Barrett will cover, among other items, off street parking. This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7:45 p.m., second floor of Town Hall.

Barrett also has as a deliverable to the town a Housing Production Plan. Land Use Director Michelle Collette stressed that both the Affordable Housing Trust and Housing Authority are awaiting Barrett's housing plan.

In preparation for Spring Town Meeting, Planning Board is proposing a zoning amendment regarding the area of the Water Protection Overlay District, based on updated maps that will offer greater coverage for better protection of town wells. The change is designed to protect the wells from potential commercial development and provide for stricter Title 5 Septic guidelines. Once adopted, these maps will also be used as the base for DEP maps that identify the water protection overlay districts.

Groton Herald

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