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Posted on: August 6, 2018

Proposed zoning text amendments regarding Special Permit and Special Exception

image-stacks-of-paperworkTop schools, preservation of community character and enhancing neighborhoods are goals we all share.  How these goals are achieved has been the focus of recent debate with respect to the pending text amendment to increase the allowable floor area in residential zones for educational institutions.  These should not be mutually exclusive goals and the public hearing process is how the community at large works together to ensure that the right balance is struck.  The application process to discuss the text amendment began in May, and through public request to allow for more time, it has now pushed into the summer months.  Given both the timing and the strong sentiment expressed on both sides of the issue, the text amendment regarding FAR increase for educational institutions in residential zones has been withdrawn.  Those interested in this topic are encouraged to continue to work with planning staff during the upcoming months so that a mutually agreeable proposal can be put forth to the Commission for consideration in the future.  The remainder of the text amendments will be further considered at the July 24th Public Hearing at 7:15 in the Town Hall Meeting Room.

"The Building Zoning Regulations currently specify when a particular use is subject to a special permit application subject to Planning and Zoning Commission review and approval, or a special exception subject to review and approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Application PLPZ 2018 00233 is a proposal to amend the aforementioned Sections such that all special exception uses would now be reclassified as special permit uses with the exception of accessory uses in residential zones over a certain size (see Section 6-95(a)(2)(A)), which would still be handled by the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals unless it is part of a special permit application already required per Section 6-101, then only a special permit is needed. The net effect of this would be that the outside resources available to the Planning and Zoning Commission would now be applied to the questions of use that had previously been characterized as special exception uses. These resources include analytical reports prepared by Planning and Zoning Staff, which include specific comments from Town Departments, reports from the Commission’s Traffic Consultant, and public briefing meeting prior to the public hearings. This would also have the effect of significantly reducing the time it takes to go through the regulatory process from approximately nine (9) months to four (4) months. Lastly proposed, is a modification that would allow the Commission, under special permit applications, to permit a limited increase of FAR for special permit uses in residential zones, for those properties that also rezone to Historic Overlay to protect historic assets, and also for non-profit educational institutions."

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