Chamber Plans to Take King Street Proposals to Planning Board if Zoning Revisions Committee ‘Bogs Down’ in Process

Here is a video of the first 1 hour and 40 minutes of the 6/16/10 meeting of Northampton’s Zoning Revisions Committee. This recording was made by Lachlan Ziegler. Much of the meeting is devoted to discussing “Rezoning King Street” (PDF), a proposal advanced by the Chamber of Commerce.

Here is a 10-minute YouTube video excerpted from the end of the above recording. Dennis Bidwell, member of the Zoning Revisions Committee and chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee, advises: “If we get to September, we get to October, and we’re feeling like it’s bogged down in process, and meanwhile, folks are waiting for something to happen, we [the Chamber] would go to the Planning Board and say, ‘Act on it’.”

See also:

Video: Chamber Presents “Rezoning King Street” to Planning Board (6/13/10)
Potential areas of controversy include:

  • Allowing more uses without a Special Permit, including hotels. A recent proposal to build a Hilton Garden Inn downtown was extremely controversial. One way to address the public’s desire for good design would be robust infill design standards.
  • Reducing the setbacks between commercial areas and residential neighborhoods
  • Stormwater management problems caused by an increase in impervious surface

“Opposition grows to suburban-style design in Birmingham neighborhoods”
 “The real issue is you have a choice. When a chain store developer – whether it’s a McDonald’s or a Chick-fil-A or a Walgreens – comes to town, they generally have three designs: A, B or C, ranging from Anywhere, U.S.A., to unique, and by that I mean sensitive to local community character,” McMahon said [Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute]. “Which one gets built depends completely on how much pushback the company gets from local residents and officials about design and its importance…”