Scenic road designation sought for Southport street
Published 6:59 am, Tuesday, March 18, 2014
A Southport neighborhood resident has submitted a petition to the Town Plan and Zoning Commission asking that Chester Place in the center of Southport Village be designated a town "scenic" road.
The TPZ last week voted to send the request filed by James P. Bohan, of Station Street, to a public hearing.
Chester Place is a short street that runs between Main Street and Pequot Avenue. Station Street is on the other side of Pequot Avenue.
There are three homes with Chester Place addresses and two more on the corner of Chester Place and Main Street. The petition was signed by all of those property owners, with the exception of 95 Chester Place, which is a 2.69-acre lot owned by Walter Buck. That property is on the sales market.
Three residents of a small condominium complex on Pequot Avenue also signed the petition.
To be designated a scenic road under local zoning regulations, the road must meet at least of the following criteria: be unpaved; bordered by mature trees or stone walls; the travel portion of the street must be no more than 20 feet in width; offer scenic views; blend naturally into surrounding terrain, and parallel or cross over brooks, streams, lakes or ponds.
If, after holding a public hearing, the TPZ finds Chester Place meets those standards, it can designate the street a scenic road. If a street is designated a scenic road, any changes to the public roadway itself must be approved by the TPZ.
"I think it's a largely misunderstood ordinance," Assistant Planning Director James Wendt said. "It puts a check in place for the town." It does not, he said, affect private properties that are on that road.
"I think there's a widespread misperception that the scenic road designation protects private property; it does not," Wendt said.
According to the zoning office, a previous owner of 95 Chester Place several years ago received approval to subdivide the property, but that subdivision application was abandoned.