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Planner explains new Bristol town plan draft

BRISTOL — After months of changes to the town plan update, the Bristol Planning Commission unveiled its latest draft last week. In response to the draft and its editing process, the Independent  has received numerous questions and concerns. To try and clear up several issues, reporter Andrew Stein met with planning commission Chairman Tom Wells after the planners’ Tuesday, July 12, meeting. Here’s what Wells had to say.
Will the maps and appendices that are meant to accompany the town plan draft be available for the public hearing that is set to be slated for Sept. 20?
Yes. They’ll be the same appendices that we have now, including the survey, but updated. The only real change we’re talking about now is the addition of that (no-extraction zone) map.
 
You previously said that the no-excavation zone would include the Lathrop property that is currently proposed for excavation, is that the entirety of the Lathrop property or just part of it?
The (no-excavation zone) map will be put on exhibition at the meeting. I think it pretty much includes the Lathrop pit.
 
Since you’re a lawyer, if Lathrop wins the case that’s currently tied up in litigation, and as the proposed no-excavation zone didn’t exist when Lathrop first presented his case, might this pit be grandfathered in?
I believe he’s got an excellent argument for it to be grandfathered, but I’d prefer to leave that to the lawyers litigating that case. We’re doing the planning not in response to his application, simply our view of what’s best for the town’s future. If he’s able to successfully argue that it’s grandfathered, then he’ll be able to (excavate).
 
How would you define the parameters of the no-extraction zone?
I don’t think that I can say it better than I wrote it in the plan.
(Wells reads from the pages 52 and 53): “It has been determined that the area prohibiting extraction should be expanded to include all of the above listed zones (HDR, LDR, BC, NC, ROC, REC, MUN, and MIX), plus a portion of what is the present RA-2 zone, which closely adjoins the CORE Planning Area. It is anticipated that the rezoning now under discussion will result in these areas being included within zoning districts where extraction will be prohibited.”
It’s complicated, but it does say what we’re doing here. It can’t be done by narrative alone, it has to have a map and that will be the exhibit (at the public hearing). You’re right (the narrative) doesn’t fully define it, it just says the CORE area plus the RA-2 zone. You need the map.
 
If this is the proposed area to prohibit extraction and the only way to understand it is by this map, will the area that prohibits extraction change if zones are shifted?
I don’t think that they’ll change very much. The area that we’re defining after a lot of input from the survey, the poll, and having the whole plan turned down basically told us (the area) where we chose (to prohibit extraction in the past) wasn’t big enough. So we expanded it into the RA-2 zone, specifically the Lathrop parcel, which is very close to the downtown, very visible from the downtown and ultimately where I believe the line will stay.
We believe that we expanded the area where extraction is prohibited and have properly respected the comments that were received when the voters turned down the old plan and have now redrawn the plan to be consistent with what we believe the majority of people would like to see.
 
Will zones be re-drawn in the fall?
We won’t be finished in the fall. For the next couple of years we are actively studying a rezoning that would give it new labels and such. To be honest with you it really won’t change the zones all that much. What we’ll be contemplating is really reorganizing, re-labeling, more than actually changing the lines. I don’t believe the board will make massive changes.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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