Planning Board resumes public hearing Monday morning

The Planning Board will take the unusual step of meeting Monday morning to wrap up its public hearing on a number of proposed zoning changes. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. in the Cotter Room at Town Hall.

The board is considering seven changes to the town’s zoning bylaws. It held a mandated public hearing on the changes during its regularly scheduled meeting last Monday night. However, it delayed closing the hearing and taking formal votes to allow the Zoning Board of Appeals to weigh in on them. The zoning board discussed the articles at its meeting this past Thursday and did not raise any objections.

The board typically meets at night, but voted to meet in the morning in order to have their final decisions recorded before the Annual Town Meeting warrant is sent to the printer.

The proposed zoning changes would:

  • Require sand and gravel excavation operations to spread high quality topsoil over impacted areas when finished
  • Encourage the use of shared parking spaces for retail and commercial properties in the Central Business District
  • Provide commercial builders more flexibility when designing parking and paving layouts
  • Increase buffer requirements for parking lots near residential property lines
  • Reduce commercial parking requirements if developers can prove they don’t need as many because of a nearby transit hub
  • Allow commercial buildings to have green roofs
  • Require housing developers to preserve and replace more trees during construction

Full text of the proposed changes are available on the town website. Last week’s board discussion on the changes can be viewed here.

The Planning Board indicated Monday night it may vote to not support all the proposals, some of which were suggested by the town’s stormwater permitting consultant after reviewing both the town’s master plan and zoning bylaws.

The board will also discuss sending a letter to state Sen. John Keenan asking him to support legislation providing expanded state grants to help cities and towns pay for infrastructure upgrades needed to implement the state’s new multifamily housing zoning mandate.

[DISCLOSURE: The author of this article is a member of the Planning Board]

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