Ledyard’s Zoning Commission has its last regular meeting Thursday but the meeting wasn’t like any old Friday afternoon at the office. They took public comments before the regular meeting and three hours later, passed a new set of zoning regulations for the next commission to run with.
“I’m in awe for all the contemplation, you should be commended for your thought and your vote,” said Bonnie Potocki, the zoning enforcement official. “It does take a certain amount of courage to do so.”
Before they adopted the draft, residents spoke in favor and against the proposed new regulations, which were re-written and revised by members on the zoning and planning commissions and beyond.
Four years and $80,000 (grant) went into the new regulations.
“They’re shorter, easier to amend and in line with the state statutes,” said Zoning Commission Chairman Eric Treaster.
The document is an extensive listing of Ledyard’s land use regulations. The original and first set of regulations is 206 pages and new set is 139 pages, which is for the better according to commission members.
“The new regulations are clearer and make it easier for an applicant," said Paula Jackson. “The new regulations satisfy things that the old ones don’t.”
According to Eric Treaster, Ledyard adopted zoning on Oct. 11, 1963 and was performed by Town Council until the Zoning Commission was formed in 1971.
Treaster, who has been serving on the commission since 1985, said the commission’s decisions had directly impacted Ledyard’s business, residential and agricultural landscape of Ledyard.
A brief summary of zoning permits and approvals include: Stonecroft Country Inn, CVS, the Village Market, Dime Bank, Two Trees Inn, the Ledyard Center Fire station, Stonegate Village, and the Pumpkin Hill store, plus many more.
Treaster himself has written regulations from scratch for the Gales Ferry Design District and the Ledyard Village District to name a couple big ones.
But, despite the new set of regulations and the commissioners’ willingness to serve, it was dissolved by the Town Council in an effort to streamline the process for developers. Zoning will now be decided by members of a combined Planning and Zoning Commission that only includes two members from zoning.
“I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed working with the Zoning Commission all these years,” said Mike Cherry, chairman of the Planning Commission. “It’s obvious you’ve always kept Ledyard and its residents in the foremost of your mind.”
Cherry will be the chairman of the combined commission, which has its first meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25.
“We’ll build from where you’ve taken up...thanks and helluva ride.”
Treaster thanked Cherry and joked, “I pray for your commission.”