In May, 2021, the Berlin Zoning Commission approved an amendment, a Planned Residential Infill Development: “which is not intended to facilitate the conversion of non-residential uses, but to redevelop motel uses into permanent dwellings ...” The amendment removes all 12 of the vintage motel properties from commercial use, allowing only high-density housing.
This amendment was passed without taxpayers' knowledge. Because of COVID restrictions, the only notification necessary was on the town website. (We all faithfully look at that for information.) This is not an ethical way to communicate with residents. We have been snookered.
The Planned Residential Infill Development amendment was written specifically for 1676 Berlin Turnpike, where a developer wants to put 20 new residential rental units onto 1.9 acres. The only way to cram 20 units onto this property is by radically altering setback requirements.
Hence the amendment, which changed the setback requirements where housing can be constructed.
Setbacks are buffers which give protection and space to abutting properties. The Turnpike property is in the BT-1 commercial zone, where setbacks are 25 feet for side yards and 50 feet for the rear. Setbacks now are 15 feet on any side.
We live on Holly Court and have at least 1/3 acre lots. This high-density housing will impact us greatly. Why do these old motel properties need to be “upgraded" into high-density housing? Who is really benefiting from the Planned Infill Residential Development amendment?
Berlin Zoning regulations purport to "protect the overcrowding of the land," "conserve the character" of the town, and "protect and conserve the value of land and buildings ..." We wish the Zoning Commission would take their own words to heart and abolish this amendment and stop this application.
We are taxpayers – stakeholders – and have a vested interest in our neighborhood, and in Berlin. But it appears that in the eyes of this commission, we don't matter.