Public hearings will be held Jan. 31 on a proposed zoning amendment to allow certain inns in the Village District to serve food to the public, and on a proposal to improve local erosion control rules.

The Planning Board meeting takes place at 5 p.m., in the John French Jr. Conference Room on Washington Street.

A proposed change would allow restaurant food service to the general public at hotels or motels with 10 to 14 rooms located in the Village Distrct on lots of 3.5 acres or more, only if granted a special exception by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Three hotels of this size that serve food are located in this district, the Norumbega, the Whitehall and The Camden Harbour Inn. The Norumbega is the only one of the three allowed to serve food only to its guests at this time, and the one that would benefit from the proposed change.

Jeremy Martin, director of planning, development and code enforcement, said the proposal addresses public concerns about the viability of some of the unique, stately and historic structures in Camden, and the goal of the Norembega owners to fill seats in their 28-seat dining room when their guests are dining elsewhere. Supporting the viability of these businesses by looking at options such as allowing the public to dine there, supports the maintainance of these iconic buildings, according to Martin. The loss of these structures to disrepair can come about if options are not explored, he said.

Proposed changes to the town's erosion control standards would align the town's ordinance to state law that applies to soil disturbances. The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure protection of the town's unique water resources.

Following the public hearings, Planning Board members have the option of voting to send the proposals to the Select Board for further review.