MBTA Zoning Mapping Session tonight

Above: In preparation for tonight’s session, Planning has posted a new map and an updated overview of the zoning situation. (images cropped from materials)

Tonight is the Planning Board’s re-mapping session for overlay zoning within a 1/2 mile of the commuter rail station.

The board has encouraged residents within the semi-circle to attend the session. The intent is to identify where allowing new by-right high density zoning would have the least negative impact.

The meeting will be held at the Senior Center, 9 Cordaville Road, at 6:30 pm tonight, Monday, June 3rd.

In preparation, the Planning Board’s dedicated page on the Town website has been updated with new materials as promised. That includes a new powerpoint presentation with an overview of the initiative, status, and next steps. (You can view that here.)

Updated MBTA Zoning Timeline from Planning Board websiteThe page also spotlights the updated timeline for the board’s efforts. (See image right.)

There is also a new map of the area being targeted in tonight’s focused mapping session.

MBTA Zoning map of focused area and keyThe posted map highlights which lots can’t be counted towards the zoning minimum thresholds. (Based on prior Planning Board discussions — some excluded parcels could be included in final zoning maps in order to create contiguous areas. But the zoning wouldn’t actually apply to them, and they wouldn’t count towards other minimum requirements.)

The map may not be the version that is relied on in tonight’s session.

As of their last meeting on May 20th, it appeared that the board intended for maps to also highlight additional details that this version does not capture — parcels with historic properties, and lots too small to comply with the MBTA zoning based on the current underlying zoning regulations.

At a prior meeting, the board highlighted that they have asked the state to consider shifting the targeted semi-circle east (using the eastern border of the train station’s parking lot as the diameter mid-point). As of their last meeting, they hadn’t heard back from the state. In the meantime, they will continue to focus on the area the state originally identified.

Because tonight’s session is an open government meeting, anyone can attend. However, the board specified that they would prioritize feedback from residents in that area, since they would be the most impacted by any zoning changes.

The area near the train station isn’t the only location where MBTA zoning would be applied if approved at a future Town Meeting. However, members don’t plan to re-consider their maps for zoning outside of the semi-circle.

Earlier this year, the board opened hearings on zoning for three overlay maps. The area near the MBTA station is where maps were flagged as failing to meet the state’s requirements. The board believes that the other two designated areas in town do meet requirements.

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