Zero Lot Line Workshop Rescheduled to March 17

Northampton’s Office of Planning and Development announces:

The Zero Lot Line workshop that was canceled due to the Bridge Street School snow closure on Mon Mar 2 has been rescheduled for Tuesday March 17 at Bridge Street School at 7:00 PM.

See also:

Gazette: “What’s up with zero lot lines?” (3/2/09)

Video: Planning Board and Ordinance Committee Discuss Zero Lot Line Changes, Traffic Mitigation Payments
[Planning Director Wayne Feiden circulated a handout on the proposed ordinance changes (PDF)]

Some issues that arose during and after the [1/8/09] discussion include:

  • Land Use and Conservation Planner Bruce Young favors the adoption of “design standards in architectural ordinances
    Because if we’re saying we want a house between two houses, and we
    can’t get the neighborhood to buy onto houses that are just not helping
    the neighborhood…” The Planning Board should consider setting aside
    infill-related ordinance changes until design standards are in place. Springfield is working on its own infill housing design guidelines as we speak.
  • Planning Director Wayne Feiden says the proposed Zero Lot Line
    ordinance changes are not supposed to affect rear setbacks, but certain
    developments may not have a clear “front” or “rear”. An example could
    be the condo complex proposed for North Street by Kohl Construction.
  • If tree canopy is given away piecemeal in our built-up wards and
    impervious surface spreads, this could make these wards less pleasant
    to live in and more vulnerable to flooding over time. The Planning
    Board should track tree canopy and impervious surface by ward and
    report it to the public annually. All infill-related ordinance changes
    should be evaluated in how they will impact these and other critical
    environmental metrics.

More Detail on the Zero Lot Line Proposed Changes; Evaluating Infill Impacts
The maximum possible consequences from the proposed changes need to be
spelled out, including the potential percentage increase in impervious
surface and potential loss of tree canopy, broken out by ward. As with
the new wetlands ordinance,
it’s not enough to evaluate the impacts of new rules project by
project. Long-term impacts at the ward and city level must also be

Portland: A Photo Tour of Spiraling Densification
What we see happening is
that planners are never satisfied — let them densify you a little
bit, and they keep coming back for higher and higher densities.

Photo Essay: 10 Reasons People Like Trees Around Them; Will the Sustainable Northampton Plan
Put Urban Trees at Risk?

March 10: Zoning Revisions Committee to Meet; Our Suggestions

March 11: Public Forum to Discuss Planning and Sustainability for Northampton