The precedent that would be established by allowing any spot zoning in a residential zone would change the protection and value of residential real estate and thereby alter the very fabric of our community.
Let’s be clear about the longer-term implications of violating our residential zoning ordinance. Legally, a town granting spot zoning in a residential zone for one commercial drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, cannot deny anyone else who wishes an exception, for almost any use. The Federal Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act forces a municipality to treat all applications equally. Before considering this zoning change further, citizens should ask themselves, “How would I feel if this proposal were placing a 24/7 commercial business next to my residence?” It is an unwanted intrusion to the affected neighbors whether on Bay View Street or Pearl Street.
I am a strong supporter of growth, and along with others welcome the opportunity to evaluate new commercial development to our town; however, commercial business belongs in approved commercial zones, not forced upon residential neighborhoods.
This issue is much, much larger than one property on Bay View Street; it is nothing less than a conversation about what we wish for Camden’s future: to continue as a desirable place to live, or to turn into a small city of mixed-use areas. I hope we remain the charming town by the sea that welcomes newcomers, long-time residents, and visitors, and that these unique qualities will be preserved.