The effort to bring the city's zoning up to date has been "very slow and very tedious," beginning several years ago with cleaning up language and sections in the ordinances and moving on to the latest update of aligning zones with property boundaries.
The Department of Community Development is hoping to make it easier for businesses to redevelop downtown.
The department is closing in on new zoning for the downtown district that will open up the possibilities for businesses to seek permits by right. The adoption of form-based zoning would be a switch from dictating uses to focusing on what any type of redevelopment would look like.
The City Council unanimously backed an effort to reduce the number of commercial solar arrays being installed in residential neighborhoods.
The Zoning Board of Appeals petitioned the council to adopt new rules guiding where solar arrays can be installed. The new ordinance breaks photovoltaic arrays into three sizes and guides the medium and large scale ones to commercial and industrial land.
The ordinance breaks solar proposals into three sizes: small, medium, and large. The medium and large-scale arrays cannot be installed in residential zones. It also sets criteria for commonly cited issues such as decommissioning and maintenance and setback requirements.
After months of debate and public input at its regular monthly meetings, the panel has crafted two proposals that allow more flexibility to homeowners who want to put a second or third dwelling unit on a residential lot.
The councilors had at first been positive toward the idea but when they felt some of the questions as to how the stipends would affect the city budget weren't being fully answered, they balked and sent the matter to the Finance Committee, which met two weeks ago. The committee returned a recommendation on Tuesday night to approve it.
In the spring, faced with intense opposition from a vocal group of residents, the board abandoned a proposal to implement changes that would have eased zoning restrictions and created more flexibility in residential zones.
The Planning Board on Tuesday held its second meeting since May's town election and the town meeting at which the prior board had hoped to bring an ambitious proposal to revamp the town's zoning bylaws before voters.
In a series of unanimous votes spread over a 2 1/2-hour public hearing Tuesday, the Planning Board decided to pull all three of the zoning bylaw amendments it had planned to bring before next month's town meeting.
Since it already had a hearing posted for 7 p.m. at Town Hall, the body will meet there first and plans to immediately recess with the intention of reconvening across town in the larger space half an hour later.
Among other things, the bylaw drafted by the Planning Board would divide a large chunk of the town's General Residence district into four newly created zones. Those zones would allow varying degrees of density — the number of housing units allowed on a property.
Allowing the possibility of higher density is the intent of the Planning Board's proposal, which would create four new zoning districts in the town's residential core and allow — by right or by special permit — more dwelling units per property throughout a large chunk of what now is known as the town's General Residence District.
Attorney Anthony Lepore is sounding the alarm on legislation allowing 5G technology to roll out.
Lepore said states have been passing legislation that effectively removes a local municipality's say in wireless infrastructure placed in a right of way.
The city is considering capping the number of marijuana retailers at 10.
The Department of Community Development has proposed zoning regulations to guide where an establishment can go. Those regulations would cap the number of retailers at 10, three more than the required minimum.
The bylaw is the outcome of a year-long Planning Board study undertaken with a grant from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership that included community outreach sessions and sought to find ways to address the "missing middle" of housing options between detached single-family homes and large apartment complexes.
The Selectmen and some members of the Planning Board met with Thomas Matuszko of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission last Tuesday to settle a misunderstanding about a state housing grant BRPC was administering on behalf of the town that town leaders did not agree with.