Zoning Bylaw Working Group - Feb 6th, 2019

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Today's meeting was a quick tour of this year's zoning-related warrant articles.

The sign bylaw article will replace the entire signs section of the ZBL with the recodified version, including material moved from the general bylaws. Steve Revilak liked the illustrations, particularly how they were used to create a visual index of sign types. Pam Heidell wondered if this would raise questions about why there aren't more illustrations in the ZBL. Additional ZBL illustrations could be useful, but that's a topic for future discussion.

We discussed signs on trucks. We don't want to prohibit signs on trucks, but we do want to prohibit someone from parking a truck and using it as a sign. Food trucks and trucks parked in a business owner's driveway should be permitted.

There was a brief discussion about how to present definitions: should we say "Foo Sign", or "Sign, Foo". We generally preferred the latter convention during recodification, because it naturally grouped similar terms together.

Charlie Kalauskas questioned whether 50' was sufficient frontage for a townhouse structure, because a townhouse involves at least three units plus side-yard setbacks. A working group member suggested we seek input from a developer regarding minimum frontage.

Shadow analysis is in progress, and should be done later this month.

For the inland wetlands article, there was discussion about how to word "soil scientist" and "engineer". Should the bylaw require a professional designation, or association with a professional organization? There were also questions about whether the bylaw should have some reference to climate resilience. Pam Heidell wished to see specific references to the town's wetlands regulations. John Worden cautioned the group about incorporating items by reference; the referenced law can change out from underneath you. On the other hand, repeating the text of a reference can cause a bylaw to become outdated if the related law changes.

The Dover amendment article introduces a two-step procedure for testing applicability: inspectional services will perform the first step, and DPCD will perform the second. There were questions about the phrase "appreciably advancing municipal goals" in section 3.5.1, and the word "dominant" in section 3.5.2(A).

The proposed bicycle parking standards will decouple the number of bicycle parking spaces from the number of automobile parking spaces. It also creates categories for long- and short-term bicycle parking (short-term is two hours or less). Steve Revilak and Christian Klein liked the provision that prevents front-wheel-only racks from being used to satisfy the bicycle parking requirements.

The group discussed whether the ADU article should impose an affordability requirement, and whether we should allow ADUs to be constructed as part of an addition. Steve Revilak stated that two homeowners on his street have rented rooms long term. He suspects that a number of homeowners rent rooms already, and ADUs would just provide more privacy.

The group discussed Mr. Revilak's inclusionary zoning proposal. Mr. Revilak said the article was inspired by Somerville's inclusionary zoning laws. Somerville's IZ laws have three related provisions: the percentage of affordable units required (which increases with the size of the project), a lot-area-per-dwelling-unit bonus for larger projects, and three tier of affordability, targeted towards different AMI brackets. He proposed 20% for 20 units or more but wondered if there should be more of a ramp than a bump. Overall, the group expressed support for the article.

Two articles were submitted through the residential study group. The first article changes the height limit associated with half-stories from 7 feet 3 inches to 7 feet. Inspectional services has wanted this change for a while, to make the ZBL consistent with the state building code. The second article makes a technical clarification to driveway slope requirements.

Next meeting on Feb 27th. This is a week earlier than usual, but allows us to meet before the ARB's public hearings start.