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How to make Duxbury a more attractive town for businesses is a complicated, nebulous question, and the Economic Advisory Committee is seeking to narrow their focus.

The group has discussed a number of different ways to make the town more business-friendly over the last several months, including making changes to the individual business districts in town and reforming the application process before the Planning Board.

Board member John Bear said he was under the belief the group’s mission statement had three prongs: making it easier to do business, enhancing the existing business districts and attracting new business.

Will all the business-related topics under discussion, the group is seeking a tighter focus, and is zeroing in on the individual businesses districts, including Hall’s Corner and Snug Harbor.

The group is leaning towards focusing their efforts on the Snug Harbor area. Chairman Tom Tucker referred to the Community Development Plan created in 2004, which has some recommendations for the individual business districts in town. However, Tucker felt the plan was too focused on broader issues.

“Most of this is a little too large scale – it’s not specific enough,” he said.

“Or it costs money,” added Selectman Betsy Sullivan.

Some of the challenges facing Snug Harbor are filling vacant store fronts and dealing with overflow parking during the summer.

“What you’re doing is not development, but occupancy,” said Sullivan, pointing out the post office there may soon be closed.

Other issues being tackled by the committee include making changes to the process of applying to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. Planning Board member Bear has been part of the committee for some time and ZBA Chairman Dennis Murphy just joined, although he was not present at last Wednesday’s meeting.

Tucker said he wanted to have a “general review of the process,” creating a study committee and looking at making some changes to the town’s bylaws.

“Maybe something can be done to facilitate the process,” he said.

Committee member Georgia Cosgrove said that the lengthy process of going before town boards can often make or break a business that has time and money invested in a particular space.

Sullivan said the committee needs to approach any such reforms with caution, especially putting too strict a time limit on the process or preventing the boards from asking additional questions.

“What if somebody comes in and there’s a question just begging to be asked?” she said. “That’s the nature of volunteer boards. You can’t legislate their mind set.”

 

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