, Newburyport, MA

February 28, 2013

Proposed zoning changes headed for Town Meeting

By Jennifer Solis

---- — NEWBURY — The Planning Board is holding a weekend workshop to review proposed boundary changes to three zoning districts — Business and Light Industrial, Byfield Village Business and Commercial Highway at Pearson Plaza.

Saturday’s workshop, which will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Town Hall, is open to the public. Property owners whose parcels may be affected by the change were specifically invited to give their feedback.

Town Planner Martha Taylor said the Planning Board is proposing the boundary changes for two reasons.

“First, in all three districts, some of the existing zoning district boundary lines go through parcels, so that a number of parcels on the edges of these districts fall in two separate districts,” Taylor wrote in a memo to selectmen on Monday.

The board is proposing that district boundaries be revised so they are defined by parcels. Most parcels are either completely pulled into or out of one district or the other. In some case, however, new lots are being added to a district, Taylor told selectmen Tuesday night.

The Planning Board is also looking to “review the extent of these three districts to make sure that they are consistent with the purpose of the district and the town’s goals,” Taylor said.

Together, the proposed zoning district boundary changes constitute one of four amendments to the zoning bylaws that planners are hoping voters will adopt at the Annual Town Meeting in May.

Planners are also seeking to amend a section on Regulation of Use Districts to revise certain uses in the Table of Use Regulations. The goal of this amendment is to delete redundant uses, clarify the level of permitting required for certain uses, improve the organization of the table and better reflect current uses in the existing zoning districts, Taylor and Planning Board chairwoman Kathleen Pearson said.

Another proposed amendment seeks to establish a permitting process and standards for the installation of all ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations.

The board also wants to revise the bylaw governing accessory apartments to broaden the provision for detached structures, to clarify the square footage requirements and to allow for minor deviations from the requirements.

Selectmen on Tuesday voted to send the proposed amendments back to the Planning Board for a public hearing, which will likely be schedule for the planners’ first meeting in April. Planners meet the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Town Hall, 25 High Road.

April 10 is last day to register to be eligible to vote at the Annual Town Meeting on May 21.