Special Town Meeting Voters Nix Monomoy Theatre Zoning Proposal

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Town Meeting , Housing and homelessness , Zoning/land use , Historic preservation

Voters at Saturday's special town meeting unanimously rejected the zoning bylaw amendment.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

CHATHAM — Disposing of Saturday’s special town meeting in about 36 minutes, voters unanimously rejected a zoning bylaw change linked to the redevelopment of the Monomoy Theatre property.

Worried about the density and traffic that the project would create, and without any guarantee that a restored theater building would ever operate the way Monomoy Theatre did, 324 voters unanimously turned down the zoning bylaw amendment. The action likely closes the door for at least two years on the proposal by property owner Greg Clark of Alexandra Properties.

The defeat of the meeting’s single warrant article seemed all but certain, given votes by the planning board, board of selectmen and finance committee last week against supporting the measure. Clark, who was present at Saturday’s meeting but did not speak, had gathered the 200 signatures necessary to call the meeting so it could not be canceled.

A motion to refer the zoning bylaw change back to the planning board, sought by Clark, failed overwhelmingly. Voters instead opted to close the door firmly on the proposal by unanimously rejecting the warrant article itself.

The article sought to establish a Main Street Overlay District for redevelopment of the 776 Main St. and 70 Depot Rd. property, clearing the way for the creation of around 24 condominium units, as well as the restoration of the former Monomoy Theatre and the historic Washington Taylor house.

Under pandemic protocols, the special town meeting was held outdoors at Veterans' Field under sunny skies.