Naples considers codes for development

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — In his capacity as an elected town representative and as resident of Naples, Robert Caron II has been attending Naples Planning Board meetings.

He was in the audience when Dunkin’ Donuts was approved to construct a new building, demolishing the structure that many locals remember as Sydney’s Restaurant.

Caron II was present when representatives from The Family Dollar agreed to return to the drawing board to improve the appearance of its proposed store.

At the time in late February, the Naples Planning Board was going through the site review for a structure a few hundred feet from the future Dunkin’ Donuts.

After doing some first-hand research, Caron II decided to see if members of the Naples Board of Selectmen were ready to establish some written codes for new businesses.

“We need to bring something into place. We need to help bring something to the planning board to give them more teeth,” Caron II said, explaining that the people sitting on the planning board cannot simply refer to the Naples’ Comprehensive Plan for rules on how development occurs.

Caron II suggested the town adopt a hybrid code for its commercial district, combining the concepts of form-based and design-based codes.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen instructed Town Manager Derik Goodine to advertise for a committee that would draft the codes.

“You want to get a wide array of people because you want to build a consensus that will please most everyone,” Goodine said, referring to the objectives and accomplishment of the Causeway Renovation Committee that was formed four years ago.

With the completion of the new Bay of Naples Bridge in 2012, and continued renovations to an already awe-inspiring Causeway, more chain stores will eye the open spaces along Route 302 in Naples.

Already Goodine and Selectman Rick Paraschak have been discussing form-based versus design-based codes.

“I think form-based code is the easiest way or go through the planning board meeting,” Goodine said.

“Some of the opponents think it restricts what people can do on their land. It can be streamlined so it is easier to use. Form-based codes allow people to use more of their land,” Goodine said.

Caron II said the codes would give the planning board some power to enforce, rather than request how a building and landscape should look. Also, it would make the process easier for prospective builders and business people, he said.

“It needs to be written down. So that code enforcement can say, ‘These are the rules we have in place,’ ” Caron II said.

Paraschak agreed.

“Seeing what happens when a builder goes in front of a planning board, I agree we need something hybrid,” he said.

Paraschak said when he first learned about design-based codes a few years ago, the concept didn’t appeal to him. In fact, the idea scared him, he said. Since then he has had a change of heart.

“It gives guidelines — this is what we are looking for,” Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Renee Carter said.



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