Chester planning board to send referendum info letter to homeowners

The Chester Planning Commission met Monday, Oct. 27 to discuss the wording of a letter to be mailed to residents regarding the referendum on a zoning issue to take place on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

The vote is a result of a successful petition drive signed by 148 registered voters to remove “automotive sales/service/fuel” use that had been added to the new zoning regulations. The commission, which is responsible for writing those regulations, decided at its Oct. 20 meeting to send the “informational” letter.

“It’s not totally easy to understand,” said commission member Harry Goodell.

“People are confused,” said Julie Hance, executive assistant to the town manager. “They ask us what happens if I vote yes or if I vote no?”

Discussing the first draft of the letter, Hance noted that she had shown it to town manager David Pisha as someone who was not closely involved in the issue. “David felt it was confused,” said Hance. “He suggested putting it in layman’s terms but not shading it one way or the other.” According to Hance, Pisha’s suggestion included spelling out what a ‘yes’ vote would mean and what a ‘no’ vote would mean.

The mailing list to be used will not be the voter checklist of more than 2,000 names, but a list arrived at by sorting out homestead declarations from Chester’s grand list. This list of approximately 800 names  includes homeowners – regardless of their voter registration status – who live in Chester, but will not include people who rent apartments or houses whether or not they are registered to vote.

–Shawn Cunningham
©The Chester Telegraph — 2014

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