GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 11, 2013

Town officials push for Conomo zoning district

ESSEX — The town’s selectmen and Planning Board are discussing a bylaw amendment that would designate Robbins Island Road and Beach Circle as central Conomo Point, and would make them eligible for sale.

But Planning Board officials say their concerned about the timing of the proposed bylaw, with Town Meeting looming in the weeks ahead and the warrant due to be set this week.

”Once again, (selectmen) seem to be putting the cart before the horse,” said Planning Board member Westley Burnham, adding that the board had much more time to discuss and reword a similar article that allow the subdivision of southern Conomo Point.

During a board meeting last week, selectmen and other town officials presented the proposed bylaw amendment. The amendment would be the first step toward allow the sale of properties at Beach Circle and Robbins Island Road, if voters back the sales at a later Town Meeting.

The town held three public forums to discuss plans about northern Conomo Point. Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki said Friday that during these sessions, it became clear that residents did not want to sell any land in the north.

However, Bruce Fortier said Friday there was no public input on Robbins Island and Beach Circle sales; the public forums were held to discuss plans for northern Conomo Point. Fortier has previously filed complaints with the state Inspector General’s office about the legality of previous town votes.

According to preliminary numbers presented by the town’s Finance Committee during one of the forums, the town stands to gain about $8,278,000 if the 25 properties are subdivided and voters recommend their sale; about half of that being profits after the town carries out up to $4 million in infrastructure work.

As with Southern Conomo point, the new owner of any property in central Conomo Point would have year-round access, but only for their specific term of ownership, Zubricki said. After that, the property would revert to seasonal use.

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