Working waterfront in a residential neighborhood

Rockland rezoning of 84 Crescent Street: Rational request or a downward slope?

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 1:30pm

ROCKLAND — In a move that Councilor Ed Glaser believes might one day send the City of Rockland down “that slope,” four of five councilors voted in favor of continuing the discussion of rezoning 84 Crescent Street to residential.

This parcel, adjacent to parking and public space at Sandy Beach in the South End, had been zoned as Working Waterfront, Zone 1, yet used as a residence. With the owner’s death, many interested buyers wanted the property rezoned similar to the houses around it. 

In a previous discussion, councilors decided to save any decision to rezone until a new owner requested the change. With new ownership finalized, the topic returned to the Monday, Dec. 10, City Council Meeting.

“Especially in Waterfront 1 Zone, one of our most industrious waterfront zones, I hate to see us take a piece of property,” Glaser said.

“It’s a domino effect. They are going to live in that house. They are going to have a lovely house. They are going to expand their house, and then somebody is going to want to use the railroad that’s there, and they’re going to start complaining about the railroad. And then the next piece of property goes.... It’s just an endless loop.”

Glaser emphasized that waterfront zoning protects that waterfront, and this rezoning takes that protection away.

However, the other four councilors disagreed.

Councilor Amelia Magjik referred to the new owner’s request as ‘perfectly reasonable,’ and though Valli Geiger agreed with Glaser “philosophically,” she made exception in this particular case.

“I don’t disagree that we need to be careful what we give away, or change the zone so that we can continue to have a working waterfront,” Geiger said. “I look at that parcel, and the neighborhood it sits in, and I think we are actually making a more rational choice in changing that to B, only because it is surrounded by a neighborhood. It is on the other side of the tracks from what becomes, then, an industrial use of the waterfront.”

City Council will continue the discussion at the Jan. 14, 2019 meeting.

 

Related story:

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

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com