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GA Blog: Zoning

Showing blogs: 16 of 14

3.11.20 Haverhill Holds Public Commit on Reducing Lot Sizes

Tonight, Haverhill will hold public comment for a zoning change that would reduce the minimum lot area in residential rural areas from 80,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet.

The change is designed to reverse a decision made around 2000 to slow housing growth by having larger lot sizes.  Reducing the lot sizes to increase housing growth is in line with the adopted Haverhill Vision 2035 Master Plan.

The Haverhill Planning Board will meet tonight at 7pm in the City Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

You can read more about the proposed change here.

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2.11.20 Danvers Votes for Rezoning

On Monday night at a Special Town Meeting, Danvers voted to rezone the Downtown Corridor.  The zoning change is not an overlay but a change in the zoning bylaws themselves. The new zoning will allow for the creation of live/work, mixed-use developments in the downtown, especially along High St near Route 128 which was previously zoned for industrial.

The goal of the rezoning is to create predictability in development and focus on allowing a mixture of land uses to create a more vibrant, walkable, and livable downtown.  There are development guidelines included to create a standardization of facades, building treatments, and signage.

An amendment of “no action” was proposed during the meeting but not adopted.  The final vote required a two-thirds majority and was passed without the need for a roll call.

You can read more about the Special Town Meeting here.

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2.10.20 Danvers Downtown Corridor Special Town Meeting

Danvers will hold a Special Town Meeting today starting at 7:30pm in the Danvers High School auditorium. Among the articles on the warrant is a zoning bylaw change that would create new rules and regulations for the Downtown Corridor.

The Downtown Corridor rezoning is divided into three subdistricts known as the Core District, the Live/Work District, and the High Street Corridor.  The Core District would allow increased density of both residential and mid-sized commercial development.  The Live/Work District would allow for a variety of housing choices and civic spaces along the Danvers Rail Trail.  The High Street Corridor would focus on commercial development and increasing walkability.

You can find the proposed motion, maps of the Downtown Corridor and subdistricts, design standards and guidelines, and an FAQ here.

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2.10.20 Essex Considers Mixed-Use Downtown


The Essex Planning Board is preparing a new zoning bylaw to create a mixed-use zoning district downtown. The concept has been shown support by the Board of Selection, the Economic Development Committee, and the Essex Housing Coalition. The most widespread trend in zoning for multi-family housing has been to adopt mixed use zoning.

After completion of the proposal by the Planning Board a public hearing will precede the Town Meeting in May.  Since the change pertains to zoning bylaws it will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

You can read more about the Essex proposal here.


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12.20.19 Housing Choice Moves Out of Committee

Yesterday, the Housing Committee voted 16-1 to favorably recommend Governor Baker’s Housing Choice Bill out of committee.  This is a strong move forward for the bill that had been in committee for some time. 

Speaker DeLeo indicated that this favorable recommendation is not a sign that an agreement has been reached on the issue.  Chair of the Housing Committee Rep. Kevin Honan said the goal is to vote on the bill sometime in 2020.

MAR has supported the Governor’s Housing Choice Bill since its introduction.  A highlight of the bill is the reduction on the required votes to pass certain zoning changes from a super majority of 66% to a simple majority at 50%.  On the North Shore, there have been several recent votes of the Salem City Council that would have passed if the Housing Choice Bill was in place but did not reach the supermajority threshold.

You can read more about what state legislators are saying here in CommonWealth Magazine.

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9.13.19 Salem's Municipal and Religious Building Re-Use Zoning Ordinance Passes

With a vote from the City Council of 9-2 the Municipal and Religious Building Re-Use Zoning Ordinance recieved final passage at the City Council meeting on September 12th.

This ends the long journey for the ordiance that started in 2018 with the identification of municipal and religious buildings that were no longer serving thier prior use.  Without the overlay the identified buildings in current city zoning could only be redeveloped into single family or two-family housing.  

The approved ordiance increases the number of approvable units through special permit and also contains an affordable housing requirement.  These developements as they now move forward will bring much needed housing the to the city.

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