Presentation on theme: "Zoning Amendments 2015 Changes to Dimensional Requirements."— Presentation transcript:
Zoning Amendments 2015 Changes to Dimensional Requirements
Problem: Clarification is needed on how the lot width zoning requirement, Section , is interpreted and applied. Solution: The proposed amendment clearly defines how the required lot width is to be measured and adds two new lot width definitions to regulate lot shape. Changes regarding required front setbacks, corner lots, and lot line definitions are also proposed.
EXISTING ZONING REQUIREMENT Section Lot width. Lot width shall be measured as the shortest distance between side lot lines taken through the dwelling. In the event of an irregularly shaped lot and a question as to the identification of the appropriate side lot lines for the foregoing measurement, the matter shall be decided by the Building Commissioner with the advice of the Planning Board. At no point between the street frontage line and the principal structure shall the lot be narrower than 75% of the required lot frontage. CURRENT PRACTICE Currently, the way the lot width requirement is enforced is “parallel to a line drawn connecting the two points where the frontage meets the side lot lines and taken through at least one point of the building layout.” This explanation is not found in the zoning bylaw. However, if the lot is “irregular” the Planning Board can allow the lot width requirement to be measured in different ways. There is no definition of what constitutes “irregular.” EXAMPLE 1
Lot width. Lot width shall be measured as the shortest distance between side lot lines taken through the dwelling. In the event of an irregularly shaped lot and a question as to the identification of the appropriate side lot lines for the foregoing measurement, the matter shall be decided by the Building Commissioner with the advice of the Planning Board. At no point between the street frontage line and the principal structure shall the lot be narrower than 75% of the required lot frontage. This requirement is ignored Currently no definition of side or rear lot lines exists Buildings do not usually exist when new lots are created “Irregularly shaped lot” is not defined. When is Planning Board advice required or necessary? No set criteria to base decisions re: irregular lots, no records kept of “advice”, inconsistent advice A second lot width requirement that is not found in Table of Dimensional Requirements can confuse readers
State Zoning Protection for Lots MGL, c. 40A, § 6 (Pre-existing Uses, Structures and Lots) gives different forms of protection to lots created by both the Approval Not Required (ANR) and the Subdivision process. ANR lots under separate ownership that conformed to zoning at the time they were created, are exempt from dimensional zoning changes forever. ANR lots under common ownership (up to 3 abutting lots owned by the same entity) are exempt from dimensional changes for five years. Lots approved as part of a Definitive Subdivision plan are exempt from all changes in zoning (dimensional and use) for eight years from the date the plans were endorsed as approved by the Planning Board. The effect of the above described zoning "freeze" protection is that all lots that were created before any zoning change, and conformed to the zoning in effect when they were approved, are exempt from new zoning changes for periods of time long enough(and in some cases forever) for their owners to take advantage of the zoning freeze before it expires.
Town Zoning Protection for Lots The Middleton Zoning Bylaw, Section 3.3.5, allows changes to be made to residential 1 & 2 family structures on non-conforming lots with approval from the building inspector as long as the proposed change does not increase the non-conforming nature of the building. In the case of any changes to the "minimum lot width", no proposed change to a residential structure could increase the lots non-conformance with a revised "minimum lot width" regulation. A non-conformity caused by the fact that a lot does not meet a new definition of "minimum lot width" would be similar to a non conformity caused by an increase in the minimum frontage or minimum lot area requirements. As long as all current setback, lot coverage, and building height requirements are met, a building permit would be issued.