Commercial or residential zone? A house on the edge of a neighborhood

Posted:  Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 10:00pm
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ROCKLAND – A single commercially-zoned duplex, most recently used as a house, stands at the edge of a residential zone in Rockland. With the owner deceased, the estate is now on the market. Many people have shown interest, yet completing any sale depends on a question that came before Council Aug. 6: Should 84 Crescent Street remain commercial or should it switch to residential zoning?

The property, at the intersection of Crescent and Scott streets, abuts a public space and beach parking area in the South End of Rockland. It has been used as a residence, which is considered a conditional use. Buying the property with intent of enlarging it and residing in it is not allowed as a conditional use, according to Mayor Valli Geiger during the Aug. 8 City Council agenda-setting meeting.

Therefore, “Would it be better for the South End, or the City, for that to be rezoned residential, like the rest of the South End that surrounds it?” she said. “Or, are we OK with it staying zoned commercial?”

As the latter, similar to the old grain mill and marina several yards further south, this property has been zoned to protect the working waterfront concept.

However, the zoning can be anything approved for a waterfront, according to City Manager Tom Luttrell.

Along with traditional marine-related organizations, options can include take-out restaurants, boat shops, and educational facilities.

If the zoning changes to residential, the neighborhood could end up with much larger houses, according to Geiger.

“There aren’t any wins here,” she said.

Luttrell told Council that he’s heard from several people representing both zoning desires.

“There’s a lot of buzz,” said real estate agent Melissa Maker.

Maker estimates that 98 percent of the interested parties want it changed to residential.

“I have several offers that are coming in right now,” she said. “I have to work and do my due diligence to represent both buyers and seller, in some cases. And that’s tough when I say to them, ‘I don’t really know if it’s going to be residential or waterfront.’

 

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com