Put the Brakes On
Proposed new zoning regulations will slowly shape and can reshape the way Guilford looks. The Planning and Zoning Commission’s online summary page tells us that residential regulations incorporate “new approaches” but doesn’t tell what they are, why they’re necessary, why particular “numbers” or densities are needed, or what they might look like. A “first cut” review suggests that residential changes are anything but minor—notably when it comes to “floating” or “overlay” zones and home businesses.
Similarly, the summary tells us that proposals “remove some limitations to building size/development/separation requirements” in business zones but don’t tell us or, better yet, show us what they mean—how they will make Guilford look and work better.
We appreciate that, with consultant help, current proposals reflect a multi-year planning and zoning (PZ) effort. Nevertheless, there is nothing sacrosanct about the soon-to-be-completed formal 35-day PZ regulations review period. We hope that the commission puts the brakes on and tells staff and its consultant to tell Guilford residents more about what the proposed changes allow; why they’re necessary; how they compare to current controls; and, perhaps of most importance, what they might look like “on the ground.” Right now, understanding the “whys” and impacts baked into 300-plus pages isn’t exactly a one-night project.