Zoning Recodification Working Group - Apr 27th, 2017

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Our consultants presented the recodified ZBL's first reading draft.

RKG has provided a comment resolution matrix, as a word document. Please use this matrix for all comments. The "response" and "status" columns are for RKG's use.

A summary of what's in (and not in) the current draft. Things we have:

  • an introduction to the bylaw
  • establishment of zoning districts
  • Administration and enforcement
  • one piece of the sign regulations
  • Off-street parking.

Things we don't have (but are coming later):

  • Table dimension and density regulations.
  • A table of allowable uses.
  • Special regulations.
  • Illustrations

The tables in our ZBL were just landscape pages with tab alignment -- it wasn't actually a table. Thus, the tables need to be redone from scratch.

We've discussed how far to go in terms of cleanup. Section 1 was cleaned up a lot. Other sections received only light editing.

The section on dimensional regulations was edited a lot. RKG tried to replace legalese with plain language, and there was a lot of legalese.

The draft makes reference to "Section X.X". These section numbers will be filled in later. For now, footnotes describe what section is being referenced.

RKG tried to refer to statues (e.g., 40A) rather than including the text of the statute.

Some passages are highlighted, to indicate a need for further discussion or review. We should pay special attention to these passages. Likewise, pay attention to footnotes.

Most people will use the ZBL as a retrieval document; they'll read individual sections in order to find some specific piece of information.

The definitions are largely the same (for now).

RKG added material to special permit conditions (Section 3.3.4). It's intended to help establish the Zoning board's authority, and the kinds of conditions that the ZBA might impose. Please provide feedback on these additions.

The environment design review (EDR) regulations come from the existing ZBL. During the interviews, people seemed to indicate that this process was working okay.

RKG removed the submission requirements for special permits. Submission requirements are administrative, and don't belong in a zoning bylaw.

We discussed the term "architectural integrity". It's used in section 3.4.2, but it's never defined and the meaning is vague. According to someone involved in the 1975 recodification, we'd have to ask Brookline; we copied the term from them.

Now that we have a Conservation Commission and a Wetlands Protection Act, does the ZBL need to include a floodplain and wetlands district?

The ZBL states the purpose of each zoning district. These statements haven't changed.

The section on non-conforming uses was significantly cleaned up. We need to provide feedback on this section, particularly because there are so many non-conforming uses and structures in town. RKG tried to separate the parts that deal with land use vs the parts that deal with structures.

Many of the dimensional and density regulations would benefit from diagrams.

The ZBL uses the phrase "August 1975" in several places. This should be changed, to give the specific date when the 1975 bylaw was first advertised.

Massachusetts didn't have a statewide building code until the 1970s. There may be parts of the ZBL that are now addressed by the state building code.

Comments should be submitted by May 26th.

We'll present the second reading draft at a public meeting, on July 13, 2017.