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Charlestown to look at Main Street zoning regulations

CHARLESTOWN — New commercial development on the north end of Main Street has the Planning Board taking a closer look at the town’s zoning regulations.

At the Nov. 5 meeting, board Vice Chairwoman Sharon Francis brought in proposed zoning changes for discussion.

The Planning Board plans to continue the discussion at its next meeting on Nov. 19, said David M. Edkins, planning and zoning administrator.

The recent approval of a new Jiffy Mart convenience store on the north end of Main Street on the site of a historic house triggered a townwide discussion about Main Street and how it should be zoned, Edkins said.

In this case, the historic house is to be removed from its downtown location and moved elsewhere in town, so the historic building will be preserved, but not on Main Street.

“That part of Main Street is zoned mixed-use, and basically our zoning regulations say that’s any use,” Edkins said.

Edkins added that while the zoning could be changed for use, that would still not protect historic structures. If, for instance, the town votes to restrict an area of Main Street to residential use only, an old historic home could still be demolished and replaced with a modern home, he said.

Perhaps this discussion would lead to the creation of a historic district on Main Street, but that is outside of the Planning Board’s purview, Edkins said.

The board plans to continue to discuss the issues surrounding the character of Charlestown’s Main Street and its zoning, he said.

“It’s in its very infant stages; the Planning Board has started talking about doing it,” he said. “We’re going to see where it goes.”

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