Town planners said one major hurdle for the town to overcome is a lack of sewer and water infrastructure, which is a hurdle for more significant projects.
Resident Dan Byrnes was positive about the two-hour meeting and said moving forward at a slow pace could have benefits.
“I think we’ll see small things, and if it can develop more into a plan that will lead to something successful down the road initially, but they are small, then bigger things will come down in four or five years that will be really successful and fit into the plan,” said Byrnes.
Representatives from Behan Planning, which conducted the hamlet area study, presented a variety of designs for residential and commercial properties that could be considered down the road.
Long-time resident Steven Schreiber was interested in keeping the character of the study area, which includes a number of parcels of land used for agriculture.
“A solid majority still want to have a neighborhood-focused commercial or retail type of operation here, not something that’s going to be drawing people from throughout the region,” said Schreiber. “If people believe that, then that imposes some very serious limitations on some of these plans being thrown around, like eateries and breweries.”
The meeting served primarily as a fact-finding mission for those working with planners to come up with detailed plans moving forward.
“I think this is a critical and appropriate part of the process,” said Mackay. “What the study committee will be challenged to do is to incorporate the feedback and the suggestions and the ideas that come out of this.”
Most in attendance were pleased to see a solid turnout for the meeting, but wanted to see more people involved in the process.
“I thought there would be more people here tonight,” said McManus. “I’m happy to see the turnout that we have, but I want the rest of the community to have a voice.”
A second public meeting will likely be held in late winter or early spring. More information about the study can be found at newscotlandhamletstudy.wordpress.com.