July 4, 2022

Essex Zoning Commission Sets Public Hearing on Proposed Plains Road Business District

ESSEX— The zoning commission has scheduled an April 25 public hearing on the┬áproposed zoning map amendments and regulations for a new business district zone on Plans Road. Monday’s hearing will convene at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.

Joseph Burdow, zoning enforcement officer, said the proposed change for parcels on both sides of Plains Road has been under consideration by the panel for more than two years. Most of the properties are currrently in a limited industrial district, though some properties were able to establish a commercial/retail use under variances approved over the past decade by the zoning board of appeals.

Budrow said the proposed business district would encompass about 20 properties on an approximate three-quarters-mile section of Plains Road exstending south from the vicinity of the vacant Iron Chef restaurant parcel to the intersection with Westbrook Road (Route 153). He said one goal of the proposed change is clarify and encourage business development along Plains Road, while directing any future limited industrial uses to the back sections of parcels, not directly on the road. The proposed zone change would not affect existing uses on properties. The proposed business district would allow most commercial uses, though a special permit approval from the commission would be required for some new commercial uses. A public hearing is required for approval of a special permit.

The proposed change would allow new restaurants and food service establishments, while current regulations for commercial zones limit new restaurants to ten seats or less. The proposed changes include a revision of the regulations governing the limited industrial district, eliminating some uses that are currently allowed, such as garbage and trash collection enterprises.