See Zoning Revisions Proposals for URA, URB and URC Ahead of March 30 Meeting

Here are rezoning proposals (summary and details) to be considered by the Zoning Revisions Committee at its March 30 meeting (7-9pm, City Council Chambers). The proposals aim to increase density moderately while preserving the character of Northampton’s traditional neighborhoods. We urge concerned citizens to attend the meeting.

The proposals below have been suggested by individual members of the ZRC. They have not yet been reviewed or approved by the committee as a whole.

See also:

Videos: Zoning Revisions Committee, March 16, 2011; Urban Chickens, Future of ZRC

Video: Zoning Revisions Committee Studies Feedback from Forums (3/2/11)

Video: Planning Board Meeting of 3/26/09; Board Declines to Endorse Zero Lot Line Changes; New Kohl Condo Proposal Discussed
Video time 0:00:00-1:15:30… At 1:11, the Planning Board declines to endorse staff’s initiative to change Northampton’s zero lot line regulations. Issues raised included ensuring the public has a chance to weigh in on specific development proposals and the possible unfairness of changing the rules in zoning districts URB and URC but not URA, even though some URA parcels are close to downtown (infill) areas. The diversity of parcels in URA is making it hard to regulate them all optimally. Planning Board member Katharine Baker: “…sounds like URA is a mess…” (1:15:17) See the Northampton zoning maps for details.

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 direction.”

Berkeley, California: Cautions on Infill
Becky O’Malley, executive editor of the Daily Planet, observes that some kinds of infill risk depriving the community of valuable common spaces (“Editorial: Southside Needs Public Space”, 11/4/03):

The current push for infill development, if not properly managed, risks contributing to the privatization of public space. When the requirement that a building project incorporate a certain percentage of open space is translated into isolated rooftop gardens and gated courtyards, residents are encouraged to turn their backs on public life. At the same time that movements like the New Urbanism are preaching the gospel of building suburbs with shared common spaces, comfortable old streetcar suburbs like Berkeley are being pressured to convert their existing shared spaces into blocks of individual apartments, too small for families or voluntary affinity groups…