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Shoreham voters reject big changes to zoning rules

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By JOHN FLOWERS

SHOREHAM — Shoreham voters last Wednesday rejected a slate of revised zoning regulations for the town by a nearly two-to-one margin, 268 to 139.

Shoreham will continue to operate under its current zoning rules.

Local planners will meet later this winter to discuss the vote and the next steps that could be taken in revising the regulations, which haven’t been comprehensively rewritten for around 20 years.

Shoreham Planning Commission Chairman Glenn Symon was disappointed with the results of the Dec. 3 vote. The commission held several public hearings and work sessions during the past few years crafting the zoning law revisions, which officials said were aimed at permitting greater flexibility in developing the core village area while encouraging more measured growth and preservation of farmland in the rural areas.

But a majority of voters weren’t sold on the revised zoning laws, characterized by some as too extensive and heavy handed.

In the end, those philosophically opposed to new rules turned out in greater numbers at the polls on Dec. 3, according to Symon.

“You have those who are supportive of what zoning can do for the community, and property rights people who are opposed to zoning,” Symon said on Thursday.

He feared “a good number” of voters went to the polls without having studied the rules in-depth.

Town planners are hoping to resolve zoning issues soon, in order to focus on other topics on their agenda. Those issues include an update of the town plan, renovations to Newton Academy and deciding what to do with the Farnham property the town acquired to facilitate the municipal sewer system.

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