Jerry Budgar, president of the Ward Three Neighborhood Association, circulated these comments to Northampton ward and neighborhood groups this week:
I just want to give everyone a heads-up that a package of rezoning proposals that would, in some instances, substantially increase density in many areas of the city has been introduced to the City Council for tomorrow night’s meeting [see proposals]. It is expected the package will be referred to committee. The rezonings primarily impact zoning districts Urban Residential B and Urban Residential C and have some but lesser impact on Urban Residential A. The most affected areas will be in Wards One through Four, areas around downtown Florence, and the downtown area of Leeds. Among other things, the zoning proposals would reduce lot sizes, reduce frontages, allow neighbors to build closer to your side lot line, and in some cases allow substantially higher numbers of units on lots. This is a rather far-reaching set of rezoning proposals, and I suggest you speak with your city councillors to get the specifics about the ways it will impact your wards and your neighborhoods. Among the concerns about this package are the potential loss of lots of green and open space in the most impacted areas, the possibility of developers buying homes in existing neighborhoods and tearing them down to erect as many units as the new zoning would allow, and reduced storm water runoff areas in the city’s urban cores.