THOMASTON — The Town Center Plan Committee, meeting on Wednesday, September 11, discussed downtown parking, greenway routing and grant updates, ideas and actions for the next committee meeting and finalizing the discussion of the potential boundary expansion of the Downtown Development District overlay zone.

Jeff Dunn, a member of the committee, reviewed updates on the parking survey that was sent out by the Economic Development Commission. Mr. Dunn explained that the survey originally went out to landowners, businesses, employees and patrons of downtown.

The survey, which received more than 100 responses, is still active.

The EDC plans to send the survey out using various channels like social media, the town website and the local newspaper to get more results from people in town.

The commission is trying to reach out to the rest of the town residents to understand their opinions of parking in the downtown district. The commission will then overlay the initial results with the remaining town results to understand a general consensus.

The survey has questions that help identify participants; however, if it is being opened to the public, the committee discussed making a question that identifies whether participants are residents or non-residents of the town.

Reports from the parking survey will be discussed the next committee meeting on Wednesday, November 13.

The committee then discussed Greenway routing and a possible grant update.

The routes for the Greenway have not been finalized. Mike Madow, a member of the committee, explained that there is a grant available. If accepted, there is a match portion required, which can be met with services.

The grant was proposed at the Board of Finance meeting on Tuesday, September 10.

The committee will look further into the grant and reach out to the Greenway Committee.

The committee then discussed ideas and actions for the next committee meeting specifically, making recommendations regarding the downtown area.

“A lot of it is based on feedback that we would get from the public,” said Chairman Ralph Celone.

Mr. Celone explained the committee should take the temperature of the area and forward the information to whichever commission it pertains to.

Stacey Sefcik, land use administrator, explained that there have been some comments regarding architectural signage and whether such signs are in character within the area and within the requirements.

This idea will be further researched and presented for the next meeting.

The committee reviewed the potential map to expand the overlay zone for the Downtown Development District by adding lots that are surrounding the district before recommending it to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

At the last meeting, the committee discussed adding lots that are surrounding the district; however some lots are in the district overlay zone and some are not.

As a result, when they were originally developing the initial map of the Downtown Development District overlay zone, some of the lots had some oversights. For example, some properties were not fully in the district overlay zone and now they are fixing that by combining the properites or putting the rest of the property into the overlay zone of the district. 

Discussion ensued about a lot on Grove Street, which is currently inhabited by two properties; a house and St. Peter’s Trinity Episcopal Church and its parking. The committee discussed that if a potential split occurred in the future, the Planning and Zoning Commission could handle the modifying of remapping.

The main discussion point was that the front of the Grove Street lot is within the district zone but the back is in a residential area and if that part of the zone was to be included in the district zone, it might potentially change the character of the residential neighborhood.

Currently the lot is zoned as general commercial.

Resident Christine Yoos asked what the main reason was for adding the lots to the district zone. Mr. Celone explained that the committee is trying to make the Downtown Development District zone reflect what is happening downtown.

The committee’s next step for this expansion is to present the map in its current state and make a recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Commission to change the zoning of these lots. 

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