A Letter From 26 Local Realtors
To the Town of Camden Planning Board:
We the undersigned are 26 real estate brokers or agents from 7 companies actively engaged in selling real estate in Camden. Some of us own real estate companies, and many of us live in Camden.
We probably have more daily experience with the zoning ordinance than any other group of people. We are acutely aware of the importance of the zoning laws, and of their impact on individual properties and our community as a whole.
The language of the proposed special exception effectively constitutes spot zoning. It contains an unnecessary level of detail and is inconsistent with the existing ordinance. It is clearly designed to achieve the goals set forth by the Fox Hill Real Estate investment group and their proposed tenant, McLean Hospital. We do not believe this is an appropriate manner in which to make revisions to the zoning ordinance.
In addition, this kind of targeted rezoning to achieve a specific outcome for a particular property sets an extremely dangerous precedent, not only for the zone currently in discussion, but also for the town as a whole. It undermines the integrity of the entire zoning ordinance.
We all count on the ordinance to protect our town—to ensure that commercial enterprises have the opportunity to thrive, and to guarantee that residential neighborhoods remain quiet, scenic, and safe. It provides the protections that all property owners in all zones depend on for their enjoyment and peace of mind.
The current Coastal Residential Zone was intended to allow existing non-residential uses, but to not encourage additional ones, and the restrictions in the ordinance support this goal. If the Planning Board believes that the zoning ordinance requires significant changes, then the entire ordinance should be reviewed and revised through the proper procedures.
It is our understanding that the Planning Board has already started the process of updating the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. This provides a natural opportunity for an in-depth review of the zoning ordinance. If the Planning Board determines that the current ordinance is not in accord with the Comprehensive Plan, then the Select Board should appoint a committee to review and revise the entire ordinance. This is the appropriate, fair, and ethical approach to changing the rules.
People purchase homes in Camden because they appreciate the character and quality of our community. One of the primary purposes of the zoning ordinance is to “protect existing neighborhoods.” For those who already own homes here, and for those yet to discover Camden's appeal, we encourage the Planning Board to turn down the proposed ordinance changes submitted by Fox Hill Real Estate, LLC.