Zoning changes proposed as part of an expansion of the Mashpee Commons will not be before Mashpee Town Meeting voters until at least March 2022.
The Mashpee Board of Selectmen voted unanimously during its meeting in the Waquoit Meeting Room at Mashpee Town Hall on Monday, June 7, to extend the timeline for review of the proposed zoning changes.
The Mashpee Planning Board had previously set an ambitious schedule of meetings to attempt to have the zoning bylaw changes submitted by the July 12 deadline for October Town Meeting articles.
“To avoid some of that energy that is negative and doesn’t go towards a positive outcome, I think the best course of action is to signal clearly that we’re not going to do this in October,” Selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb said. “That lets everybody chill out and figure it out.”
More than a dozen residents raised concerns about the proposed expansion during a tense planning board meeting last week that marked the first time that the planning board received a draft of the proposed zoning bylaw.
The proposal to establish an zoning overlay district that would incorporate 187 contiguous acres, including the existing mixed-use development at the Commons, comes as the Town of Mashpee has agreed to enter into the region’s first three-party development agreement process with the Commons and the Cape Cod Commission.
The zoning overlay district would allow more mixed-use development within three different subzones: a “core” area with 450 dwelling units and the existing commercial density expanded from about 350,000 to 890,000 square feet; a “transition” area with about 1,075 dwelling units and 330,000 square feet of commercial density; and an “edge” area with about 185 dwelling units.
During the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, several residents continued to raise concerns that the zoning bylaw should be negotiated later in the development agreement process and about the scope and lack of details about the proposed project.
“We hear you. We’ve gotten your emails and your letters,” said Selectwoman Carol A. Sherman, the chairwoman of the board. “Please give us time; let us do our job; they’ve only had one meeting, the planning board.”