Selectmen Weigh in on Planning Articles

Written by Administrator
 | Sunday, 27 January 2008 19:58
This week, selectmen voted to support many of the Town Meeting articles submitted by the planning board. This week, selectmen voted to support many of the Town Meeting articles submitted by the planning board.

These articles range from establishing new committees to making zoning bylaw changes. The planning board submitted a total of 15 articles, although selectmen discussed nine at the Monday night meeting.

One article selectmen did not take a position on was Article 28, a zoning bylaw change that would prohibit gravel parking lots. Discussion on this article centered on how eliminating gravel parking lots would result in creating more site coverage for a proposed project and could ultimately hurt development or improvements in neighborhood business districts. Selectmen decided to hold their vote until a later date.

They did vote to support Article 13, which seeks to establish an affordable housing trust fund that could take in money and then spend it specifically for creating affordable housing. This money could come from developers, Town Meeting or other gifts, grants or donations.

Selectmen also supported Article 14. This article on Inclusionary Housing was amended on Town Meeting floor last year and the planning board seeks to reverse that amendment. According to Planning Director Christine Stickney, this article includes language that governs maximum incomes of housing applicants and selling prices of affordable units, resale restrictions, fees in lieu of affordable housing units and a schedule of fees in lieu of payments.

Selectmen did not take a position on either Article 15 or Article 30, as they wanted to hear a recommendation from the Community Development Committee first. Article 15 will ask voters to establish a permanent Economic Advisory Committee to take the place of the Community Development Committee, which will be ending soon after Town Meeting. The proposed Economic Advisory Committee would be charged with supporting and promoting efforts to foster economic strategies by working with the local businesses in town. Article 30 seeks to create a Local Housing Partnership that would support and promote efforts to meet the affordable housing needs of the town. This would be an 11-member committee appointed by selectmen for three-year staggered terms.

Selectmen recommended Town Meeting approval of Article 24, which will ask voters to adopt a new zoning map created after last year’s Town Meeting appropriation. This updated map, the first since the 1980s, came in on-time and under budget, said Stickney. Annual Town Meeting 2003 appropriated $10,000 to create this 6-page map. By approving Article 24 and adopting the new map, voters will just be replacing the old zoning map.

Along the same lines as Article 24 is Article 27. The planning board is requesting Town Meeting fund a capital expense of $5,000 to update the town’s street map. This also has not been redone since the 1980s, said Stickney. There is money in the budget for this article. Selectmen voted in favor of it.

Selectmen also voted to support Article 29, which makes a minor change to the zoning bylaw. It would replace the wording of section 560.5, Provision for Affordable Units, by deleting “560.9” and replacing it with “560.8.”