Landowner’s bid to rezone Commerce Park put on hold

A request from landowner Craig Hicks to consider rezoning of the Commerce Park District was rejected by the Planning Board on Monday, but board members and Hicks agreed to work on a proposal to go on the ballot in 2014.

Last year, a petition article sponsored by Hicks to add retail business as a permitted use in the district failed, with 302 voters in support and 643 opposed. The Commerce Park District is made up of approximately 127 acres located off Route 202 north of the Southfield Village neighborhood. Hicks owns all the land in the district, where manufacturing, warehousing and storage, research laboratories or professional offices are among the current permitted uses. But he has been unable to attract anyone interested in developing the land for such purposes.

Last year, the board voted to support Hicks’s petition article and on Monday Hicks told the board he’d like to see the same article to allow retail use on the town ballot this year, but not by petition.

“I have concerns about bringing the same proposal back to voters,” Planning Board Chair Joel Harrington told Hicks. “We had this before them just last year.”

“I just want to get some game plan,” Hicks said. “Can we set aside time for this for next year?”

Harrington asked Hicks if he’d be willing to wait until after Town Meeting in May to start discussion of a warrant article for 2014. Hicks agreed to do that.

“I’ll see you in June,” he said.

— by Dave Anderson

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