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November 17. 2013 7:07PM

Planners discuss streamlining rules for commercial zones

SALEM — The Planning Board is discussing a zoning change that would create the same requirements for North Broadway and South Broadway commercial zones.

At last week’s Planning Board meeting, board Chairman Robert Campbell said he is not sure zoning both areas the same would be practical.

At issue, he said, is the requirement in Commercial Zone B, the area of North Broadway past Rockingham Road, that allows the Planning Board to require access roads between commercial lots.

“With that, we get some control that we can’t impose on South Broadway,” said Campbell. He noted the successful site plan of Walmart on North Broadway that has access roads connecting to an abutting apartment complex.

“North of the intersection with Rockingham Road, there are some restrictions on access that gives the board authority to require access connections between the lots,” said Campbell.

Although that requirement is effective for the zone on North Broadway, he said it may not be a good fit for the properties on South Broadway.“The idea of combining Commercial B and C would either make that (access) requirement go away in Commercial B or impose the requirement on Commercial C (the South Broadway area),” Campbell said. “I think that would be unreasonable. Before we jump into the idea of combining Commercial B and C, that is my concern that it wouldn’t work.”

Planning Board member Ron Belanger pointed out that there are already areas of South Broadway where there is cross access between commercial lots. He said the Planning Board should at least hold a hearing and consider the zoning change.

“We should have an open discussion, and if we have to change it, we change it,” said Belanger.

Campbell said there is nothing that prohibits developers from adding access roads on South Broadway as they are on North Broadway, but he added that the Planning Board can not impose that requirement on North

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