Planning Board to hold hearing on proposed zoning changes

[DISCLOSURE: This article was written by a member of the Planning Board]

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Monday night on proposed changes to the town’s zoning code that the board says could increase the amount of green space in developments, maintain the town’s tree canopy, and improve stormwater runoff.

The public hearing is required under state law ahead of Abington’s Annual Town Meeting. The board’s meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Cotter Room at Town Hall. Public comment on the proposed changes will begin at 6:15 p.m.

The proposed zoning changes would:

  • Specifiy that anyone removing more than 40 cubic yards of earth materials, such as sand or gravel, must preserve the top soil and respread it when consturction activities are done.
  • Encourage commercial and retail developers to identify opportunites to share parking when there’s differing peak hours to reduce the need for additional parking lots.
  • Reduce parking space dimensions for lower traffic areas, as well as encourage the use of pervious materials for lower-impact parking areas.
  • Increase the number of trees planted on parking lot buffer strips.
  • Give boards the ability to reduce parking requirements if the applicant can prove that less parking is needed because the site is located near a transit station.
  • Allow developers to use green roofs, and recommend that surface water from parking lots be directed into a stormwater treatment device.
  • Unify multiple bylaws dealing with tree plantings, require developers to plot and save mature trees of a certain size when possible, and design landscaping plans that restore a green canopy post-construction using native trees.

Many of the proposed bylaw changes were suggested by the town’s stormwater management consultant in accordance with goals in the town’s Master Plan.

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