To The Daily Sun,
On March 11, Belmont Ballot Question 2 is a Petitioned Building Code Amendment to adopt a Historic Demolition Review Ordinance. The Planning Board does not support Ballot Question 2.
State law permits 25 registered voters to submit a Building Code amendment by petition. Once submitted the Planning Board is required to hold a public hearing and must include on the ballot a statement as to whether the board does or does not support the proposal.
At the public hearing on Jan. 13, the petitioner explained that the proposed amendment was intended to closely follow the Concord, N.H., Code and also acknowledged that the Belmont submission had been "rushed."
The Planning Board acknowledged the important service that the Heritage Commission provides but considered the following comments and concerns:
• The last-minute preparation and submission resulted in no opportunity for the board and other town officials to adequately review and discuss the proposal or to consider the legalities of the proposal details.
• The proposal might be too broad as it encompasses every full and partial demolition regardless of size.
• The proposal as drafted might be overly burdensome on the rights of property owners.
• The proposal should be tailored more to the needs of Belmont.
• Unlike the codes adopted by Concord and some other communities, this proposal lacks the type of detail that would provide property owners with transparency as to what to expect, how the process actually works, when and how notice of meetings will occur, how they can participate and how they can appeal.
Based on the above, the Planning Board voted to not support the proposal at this time.
Belmont Planning Board
Peter Harris, Chairman