Rockland council to revote on rescission of residential zoning overhaul

By Stephen Betts | Mar 21, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — The controversy over the approval -- and then repeal -- of an overhaul of residential zoning throughout Rockland will be back before the City Council next month.

The council will hold a revote on the rescission of the overhaul at its Monday, April 1, meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

The revote comes after a lawsuit by Rockland resident James Ebbert initially challenged the Jan. 14 approval of the residential zoning revamp and later challenged the rescission vote.

The City Council rescinded the zoning overhaul at its Feb. 11 meeting without any notice to the public that such a vote would be held.

Ebbert's lawsuit argued that the lack of public notice violated state law.

Since then, the city has placed notices in the newspaper twice and plans publicize again next week the planned April 1 vote. There is also a notice posted at City Hall about the April 1 meeting.

Ebbert and 18 other city residents launched a petition drive to overturn the law that would have reduced minimum lot sizes, setbacks and road frontage requirements for homes throughout the city.

The group had gathered more than the 523 signatures necessary to force a referendum to repeal the zoning law.

There will be no need for the referendum if the rescission becomes final.

Comments (7)
Posted by: George Terrien | Mar 25, 2019 09:41

How would this (re)vote affect the ability of the Council to re(re(re)) consider re(un(changing) the zoning to permit tiny--woops, I should have said itty-bitty--houses and redivided/squished-up lots?  There was some talk/writing earlier about how completion and passage of the proposed referendum would kill the question for at least five years, whereas simple recision (however fumbled in process) would permit reconsideration--though perhaps under Robert's Rules, a motion by a Councilor who had voted previously with the prevailing side.

Yes, this point is complicated--to me, anyway.  If my confusion is not irrelevant, I hope it will be answered publicly before April Fools Day, perhaps to make fools of all the rest of us, too.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 24, 2019 11:42

It really makes me angry that the naysayers sent out a advertisement on a postcard that was soooo false.  So, when or can the public stand up and speak on this issue again?  Would really like to be there.


Posted by: STEVEN VITTUM | Mar 23, 2019 16:32

I think Gerald is spot-on.  Having recently retired to Rockland after living in Chicago for almost 40 years, I believe developments of decent, affordable apartments/ condos is the way to go to solve this housing shortage.  Think about this - young workers seldom have the cash outlay needed to purchase a home with property; and older retirees may not need the space or land that requires upkeep.  It is a win/win situation on both ends of the age spectrum to offer alternatives to home/land ownership.  In Chicago, I would estimate 85-90% of city residents make use of this housing.  I am not advocating 30-story high rises- but a few nicely designed apartment/condo developments would go a long way toward alleviating the housing shortage we see in Rockland.  It is also a great way to allow younger workers to begin saving for an upgrade to a larger home with property.

Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Mar 22, 2019 11:24

CONDOS!!!  We need housing solutions in this city!!  There are SO FEW!  The Bicknell Block would be amazing as condos as it would be a boon to the city.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Mar 22, 2019 09:27

Let's all follow the bouncing ball.  Gerald I have been paying attention.  I think this is the fourth or fifth time you have mentioned this zone.  I don't think the council is listening.  I have always supported re-zoning, but think this "damm the torpedoes, full speed ahead" attitude they have is certainly not working.  All sides of this issue need to find common ground before a resolve can be made.  Just read the Bicknell story and find it absurd the city does not allow residential development in this area.  They should take a trip to Portland and see all the Ocean front high end condos down in the old port. or even closer Camden.  I just returned from our winter getaway and find Rockland's roadways are ready for planting, no progress on any housing solutions ( well maybe Philbrick ave.) certainly not McClain school.  Coming into school and city budget season.  I'm beginning to get that sinking feeling again.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Mar 22, 2019 07:01

While the Council takes up this zone that will do nothing to alleviate the housing shortage - the lack of good quality market rate apartments - the zone that would address it sits on a shelf in the City Manager's office, where it has for nearly nine years:

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 21, 2019 16:10

and moving on...…………………….

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