Windham council nixes zoning change request

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WINDHAM — The Town Council has turned down a rezoning request for a property on River Road.

The council voted 4-2 Jan. 30 against the request from Bryan Mills, which would have allowed a nearly 6-acre property that splits the farm residential and medium residential zones to be rezoned as entirely medium residential.

Councilors Clayton Haskell, Rebecca Cummings, Robert Muir and Jarrod Maxfield voted against the rezoning. Chairwoman Donna Chapman and Councilor Timothy Nangle both supported it. Councilor Dennis Welch was absent.

Mills and Jayson Haskell of local firm DM Roma Consulting Engineers were on hand to answer questions about the proposal. A vote on the request was initially scheduled for a meeting in early January, but Mills and his consultants were unable to attend and answer questions.

Dustin Roma of DM Roma said at an earlier council workshop that, if granted the rezoning request, the potential development could include an estimated 15 units of multifamily housing on the property.

“What is the benefit to the developer, and what is the benefit to the town for rezoning?” Councilor Haskell asked this week.

Jayson Haskell said the zoning change would allow them to set the potential development back a bit from the road and maximize the number of units built on the Mills property, which sits on River Road between Route 202 and Gambo Road.

Councilor Haskell had concerns that adding multifamily housing – and potentially adding students to the school district – could increase costs to taxpayers.

“Myself, I don’t like it,” he said.

Jayson Haskell emphasized that the proposed project would have still had to go through the Planning Board if the council approved the rezoning.

“Sounds like spot zoning, and we’ve done a lot of that,” said Muir.

After the failed vote, Mills and Haskell said it was too early to tell what the next step for the property would be or to speculate whether they would move forward with development on the portion of the property now zoned as medium residential.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

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