Town design standards ready for board review

The Highlands Planning Board has approved a Community Design Standards manual, which now goes to the Highlands Board of Commissioners for final approval.
After commissioners complete a review of the proposed ordinance, a public hearing will be required, according to Highlands Planning Director Andrew Bowen. When the hearing will be held has not been determined.
“It all depends on when the board completes their review, or if they send it back down for changes,” Bowen said. “If they feel comfortable enough with it, they will schedule a public hearing.”
The design standards were unanimously approved by the Planning Board at its June 23 meeting. The Committee had the manual for two months, but were unable to take a vote until June due to a lack of quorum during the May meeting.
According to Planning Department documents, the Community Design Standards manual includes all commercially-zoned parcels, multi-family housing complexes and all current structures within the town limits. The manual is standards and procedures to allow the town to maintain the desired aesthetic look and so the planning department can be consistent with its decisions, Bowen said.
“The main part of the ordinance is not to set style, but to maintain features,” Bowen said. “The architect or developer will sit down with me and we’ll go down the list, and if they comply, we sign the permit.”
Architects will still have to come before the Planning Board with designs.
“The entire point is to make it extremely easy to re-do their building and this is it,” Bowen said. “They come, pick this up, and work off the list. I think what we have (in the manual) is fair.”

The Highlander

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