City Council Approves Pier Owners Request for Relaxation of Zoning; Accepts CDC Report Despite Green Efforts to Dilute It

Councilor Cheryl Leeman, Chair of the CDC, Listens to the Debate Last Night.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 662)

After more than two years of meetings, public forums, negotiations, testimonies by  opponents former mayor Anne Pringle,  attorney Barbara Vestal of the Hill,  and one hand-written petition from the lobstermen opposed to it,  a relaxation of the zoning restrictions passed late last night.  The text amendment to the ordinance was requested by a coalition of wharf owners that would enhance their ability to lease and rent to non-marine entities.  Among the issues was the ability of the wharf owners to properly  maintain their wharves on the income derived from marine-use only income.

The vote was 7 – 2 in favor of the text amendment to the zoning ordinance.  The two voting against the text amendment were Green Councilors David Marshall and Kevin Donoghue.  Marshall represents the West End and Donoghue Munjoy Hill and Peaks Island.

In what turned out to be a  futile agenda, the Greens, led by  Councilor John Anton, repeatedly submitted amendments that would have drastically diluted the relaxation asked for by the pier owners.

Councilor Anton who has consistently prolonged  the process  by seeking more information from the city’s staff was cautioned by Councilor Suslovic that because of  city staff layoffs that make requests for information a burden on the staff, that at the same time he could let it be known what projects he’d be willing to sacrifice.   “If you want more information from city staff, you need to let us know what staff work you are willing to forfeit,” Suslovic said to Anton.