Planning Board continues public hearing on zoning changes – TONIGHT

When the Planning Board meets tonight, it will continue its discussion of a proposed overhaul to Southborough’s zoning bylaws. Tonight the focus will be on changes to the bylaws that govern open space requirements in residential subdivisions. They’re changes not everyone agrees with.

At a public hearing earlier this month that focused on more general feedback about the proposed zoning changes, Frederica Gillespie of the Open Space Preservation Commission said her board does not support the changes being proposed to regulations on open space residential development.

The changes are part of a total overhaul to the zoning code that has been in the works for about four years now. Residents will get to vote on the new zoning bylaws at a Special Town Meeting this fall.

If you want to get a look at the changes to open space residential development, you’ll find them in Chapter 174-48 of the draft code posted on the town website. You can see the original code in the published bylaw (I *think* it’s Chapter 174-13.2 – Major residential development, but I’m not 100% sure). To find out what changed, you’ll have to read each line-by-line and do your own comparison.

The fact that residents have to compare old and new code on their own to figure out what the proposed changes are, was the biggest complaint heard by the Planning Board at their public hearing earlier this month. While a third draft of the proposed zoning bylaws has been posted on the town website for several months, at a length of more than 100 pages, residents told the Planning Board the changes need to be more clearly spelled out.

Residents spent a good part of the hearing asking for a “red-line” document that would compare the existing code with the proposed new code. Planning Board Chairman Donald Morris said the board was having a hard time figuring out how to produce such a document, but that they would continue to work on it.

The Planning Board meeting starts tonight at 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room (second floor), with the public hearing on the zoning code kicking off at 7:30 pm. It’s open to the public.

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