March 26 Planning Board Agenda: Zero Lot Line Development, Traffic Mitigation Payments, Hospital Hill

Here is the March 26 Planning Board agenda. Tofino Associates/Northern Avenue Homes/Kohl Construction is on it (8:00pm) but in the face of opposition to Tofino’s North Street condo proposal from some members of the Conservation Commission, Tofino withdrew its Notice of Intent (NOI) from the Department of Environmental Protection last week.

Tofino is also still on the March 26 agenda for the Conservation Commission (6:00pm, City Hall Hearing Room, 210 Main Street, 2nd floor – enter via the back door). At the March 12 Conservation Commission hearing, Doug Kohl expressed a desire to withdraw Tofino’s condo proposal before the commissioners could take a vote. It was unclear whether he could do so, and the issue remains to be resolved.

FOR Thursday March 26, 2009

THE PLANNING BOARD AND THE CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCE COMMITTEE meets at 7:00 P.M. in Council Chambers, Puchalski Municipal Building, 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA for public hearings on the following proposed zoning ordinance amendments:

7:00 P.M.
1. Continuation of a hearing on simplifying Zero Lot Line Development to eliminate fences, reduce 30’ side setback to 15’, and allow lots next to non-zero lot projects.
2. Continuation of a hearing to amend site plan submission requirements to specify traffic mitigation payment-in-lieu of standards and require construction materials for sites to be comparable to those required in subdivisions.
3. New Hearing on clarifying use standards for Planned Village District.

THE PLANNING BOARD meets at 8:00 P.M. in Council Chambers, Puchalski Municipal Building, 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA for public hearings:

8:00 P.M. Continuation of a hearing on the request by Tofino Associates/Northern Ave. Homes for a special permit to construct a 25-unit Townhouse project with associated site plan including driveway access from North and Northern Ave at 8 View Ave, Northampton, Map ID 25C-12 & 17.

9:00 P.M. Request by Hospital Hill LLC for definitive subdivision approval on the north campus of the Village at Hospital Hill (Moser Street Extension). Located off Village Hill Rd, Map ID 31C-17 Northampton.

Please See “Hot Topics” for copy of proposed plan and other details.

Location: City Council Chambers

Contact Information
Carolyn Misch
(413) 587-1287

See also:

Video: Conservation Commission Meeting of 3/12/09; Deadlock on Kohl Condo Proposal; Kohl Seeks to Withdraw Application

Valley Advocate: “Bogged Down – Doug Kohl runs into trouble with plans for his subdivision off North Street in Northampton”

Video: Zero Lot Line Workshop, 3/17/09; Equity of Infill Distribution
1:13:40-1:14:41… Ghiselin: “…Under the general plan of
making neighborhoods, increasing walkable places, is the rationale for
the project on North Street…Kohl’s project. Significant inroads into
greenspace there, at a time when…you have big chunks of the URA where
you can’t even have a two-family house. It seems to me that you’re
asking, you’re putting…the cart before the horse. You really want to
draw concentric rings around areas that you’re looking for density and
begin to move in those areas first, so that people in the rest of the
city have a feeling of equity…that we’re all…aimed in the same

Video: Planning Board and Ordinance Committee Discuss Zero Lot Line Changes, Traffic Mitigation Payments
High traffic mitigation payments could prove burdensome to small businesses. For example, a 3,000-square-foot grocery store could face a payment of $108,000 if it was located in certain districts. This could inhibit some businesses from forming, especially in the northern and western portions of Northampton. Ironically, this could impede traffic reduction by compelling residents there to drive relatively long distances to buy basic necessities. Where there are already clusters of homes in these outlying areas, it might be better to encourage the establishment of small stores to form the center of walkable neighborhoods.

More Detail on the Zero Lot Line Proposed Changes; Evaluating Infill Impacts

March 10: Zoning Revisions Committee to Meet; Our Suggestions

Video: Planning Board Meeting of January 22; Hospital Hill; Kohl Condo Proposal
0:00:00-0:59:59… Informal discussion with Mass Development on
Planned Village changes [Hospital Hill]. Kollmorgen’s plans are
discussed starting at 0:40:05. Planning board member Kenneth Jodrie
(0:49:03): “A village center was always a very, very strong piece of
that concept that we represented to the community. We’ve lost it… We
can make the argument right now that the market today is dismal, the
economy is coming apart, and we gotta do what we’ve gotta do right now
to address that. Or we can stick to the concept that we’ve been talking
about for fifteen years, and advance it and move forward with it and
look further down the road, and that’s what I’m committed to, and
that’s what we’ve advertised to the community here in Northampton.”

Hill: 12/1/08 Joint Meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee,
Planning Board and Housing Partnership – Video and Minutes;
MassDevelopment vs. Notre Dame Visions

November 13 Planning Board Meeting: Hazards Mitigation Plan; Zoning
Revisions Committee; Hotel Northampton Complaint; Hospital Hill
Diverging from Vision of Planned Village; Comments on Notre Dame
Charrette Website

Members of the Planning Board Are Displeased with
How Hospital Hill/Village Hill Is Diverging from Their Vision of a
Planned Village

Jodrie: “…the developer is not complying with our vision of what a
village ought to be… We need to tell the developer directly that
they’re not going to get these approvals when they arrive here
regardless of what the CAC says…”

2:26:35… Dierenger: “I think that we have to fight
that pressure… What I’m sensing here is that this is what MassHousing
is doing. They have this strategy of going to CAC, getting their
approval and then things fester politically and then the pressure
mounts for us to just approve what everyone already thinks is a
foregone conclusion ’cause CAC approved it… We know that’s not true.
We know what our purview is. We know what we have control over…
[Resisting the pressure is] going to suck, but…we’re not the CAC…”