Editor's Note: This is the full text of the letter written by Mayor Dan Drew read at the Feb. 27 Middletown Planning and Zoning hearing regarding the zone text amendment. The commission passed the amendment unanimously at its March 13 meeting.
To the Editor:
I would like to express my support of the proposed text amendment to the MX zone regulations. The amendment allows the applicant and other developers to design projects in the MX zone exclusively along state highways that could be very beneficial to our city.
It’s also important to note that no project has yet been proposed. This text change will not suddenly open all MX zones to major, automatic changes. It would still require that any applicant submit a proposal for review to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
This text amendment is very clear about requiring development that is in keeping with its surroundings. This is a very high bar. In proposing this text amendment, the applicant who has a strong track record of responsible development would be required to meet those thresholds and win the approval of this Commission based on the specifics of any project.
Tonight is only the first step in any potential development that could be brought before this body. If this Commission approves this amendment, a future applicant will first have to seek the approval of the Design Review Board and then come back to this Commission seeking a special exception.
The special exception process will require a fully advertised public hearing and detailed plans. The public would then have the opportunity to comment on the merits of a specific proposal.
If the design does not satisfy the special exception criteria, this Commission would have the ability to deny the application. Approving this amendment tonight will give you the opportunity to review future proposals; in no way would it allow any currently disallowed project to move forward.
This Commission is vested with the authority to approve or deny a future special exception after full consideration of the merits. I have full confidence in your ability, as representatives of the people, to do just that.
Mayor Dan Drew, Middletown