Commissioner Madigan Pushes Back On Planning Board’s Advice about Protecting the Greenbelt

On Tuesday, August 17, 2021, the City Council held its third UDO workshop. Part of the discussion was about the Planning Board’s advisory opinion regarding the UDO.

Commissioner Madigan, formerly a Democrat and now a member of the Working Families Party, made it clear that she felt the Planning Board’s recommendations regarding specifically allowed land uses in the Greenbelt were excessively restrictive.

Following are parts of the advisory opinion sent to the Council by the Planning Board (PB) :

  1. PB opposes allowing a “community center” as an approved use in the greenbelt.
  2. PB opposes a “campground” as an approved use in the greenbelt.
  3. The PB found that the definition of “country club” was particularly vague and subject to abuse. The advisory opinion stated: “It should be noted that “Clubhouse” as a distinct use is not proposed for inclusion in the UDO and the Planning Board sees no compelling reason to establish a definition for such use.”
  4. The PB advocated that in order to protect the greenbelt the definition for a “marina” required restrictive language in order to keep such uses compatible with its rural character.

Commissioner Madigan pushed back on all these items. She expressed concern that such policies would in effect be unnecessarily restrictive for the greenbelt.

She also told the Council that she was working with Stewarts regarding its proposals for the area around Marion Avenue and Route 50. This in spite of the fact that the proposal was opposed by many of the neighbors and rejected by the Planning Board .

At one point Commissioner Madigan and Commissioner Scirocco engaged in a congenial exchange. Counter to the assumptions often made about Democrats and Republicans in this city, it was the Republican Council member Skip Scirocco who spoke strongly about the value of having restrictive regulations in order to protect what was left of the greenbelt.

3 thoughts on “Commissioner Madigan Pushes Back On Planning Board’s Advice about Protecting the Greenbelt”

  1. John, While I have to agree with much of what you write here and I’ve learned a good deal from it there are few things in this post that need clarity. In speaking with the Commissioner last evening she was clear that she is not working WITH Stewarts but with the neighbors to be sure they are protected. Of course, that would also mean having contact with Stewarts to accomplish this.

    She also told me that she is not against the UDO as a whole yet feels that the Planning Board has taken the more recent advisory opinions and strengthened them to a point they don’t any longer meet the intent of the Comprehensive Plan.

    As I remember, the concept of a clubhouse was discussed extensively some time ago – I believe in discussion of the Comprehensive Plan and it was never quite defined. I don’t understand why the Planning Board would be opposed to getting this definition down.

    And, why would we not want a marina -within boundaries – so the average person could put a boat in and enjoy the area?

    Perhaps, some questions to the Commissioner for clarity would be helpful here. I can only share what she shared with me. I’m sure she has more input that would be helpful.

    As for Henry, the Commissioner is not running again so the money aspect would not be all that important as she will not be seeking donors.

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    1. The Planning Board did not oppose marinas. They are an allowed use. The Planning Board however wanted to further define the definition to severely limit it so that whatever is built is consistent with the rural character of the zone as required by RR.
      The neighborhood of Marion avenue sent a representative to the council opposing the Stewarts’ proposal.

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