Zoning Recodification Neighborhood Meeting - Feb 7th, 2018

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This was our fourth neighborhood outreach meeting for zoning recodification. The meeting took place at the Stratton school, and approximately 15 people attended.

Jenny Raitt gives an presentation on the recodification process.

The group discussed the passage of the Master plan by town meeting. Town meeting passed the Master Plan in 2015, and it was the very last article in the warrant. It would be interesting to dig up the video on ACMI and re-watch (i.e., to examine the arguments made for and against the master plan).

One TMM said she was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information. Jenny suggested she start by going through the guide.

One attendee asked if there were any dimensional changes. No, there are no changes to the dimensional and density regulations, and no changes to the table of uses (beyond what's necessary for compliance with the Dover amendment.)

There was a lot of discussion about moving administrative procedures into board regulations. Attendees were particularly interested in what these administrative procedures were.

The ZBA wants to change the list of materials needed to apply for a special permit - they want to require more stuff. It's common for ZBA hearings to be continued because the application submitted materials required by the ZBL, but those materials were not sufficient to hear their case.

Can the ZBA and ARB change administrative procedures by going through town meeting, and amending the ZBL? Yes, that's possible. However, doing so means that any administrative change will take up to 18 months. The ARB or ZBA would have to wait for a town meeting, and then wait for the state attorney general to approve the bylaw change.

Jenny points out that the Conservation Commission and Historic Districts commission hear cases related to building permits. These committees have their administrative procedures in regulations.

Commissions can update their regulations, but they can only do so through public hearings.

Several attendees suggested that the ARB present examples of board regulations during town meeting. Or, to present a concrete list of administration procedures that the ZBA and ARB would like to change. There were many suggestions for how to present this topic to town meeting.

There's discussion about the merits of including 40A language in the ZBL. The state statues apply, regardless of whether we repeat the language in our ZBL. There is a risk of duplicating 40A: the state could change the law, and our bylaw would be out of sync.

One attendee brings up an issue related to parking. I didn't get the entire gist, but it involved the R7 district, parking reductions, and a warrant article from three years ago. To resolve this, DPCD and the ARB will have to go back to the clerks records of what was passed in the warrant article, compare with the current ZBL, and then with the proposed recodification.