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ZONING BRIEFS - EARLY WINTER 2013

There has already been much recent zoning buzz about the impending medical marijuana dispensaries, and a significant SJC ruling (ZBA of Lunenburg v. Housing Appeals Committee) in the Chapter 40B affordable housing front, so let's take a look at what else is happening in the realm of zoning and planning around Massachusetts during the first week or so into the New Year.

In Harvard, Massachusetts, there seems to be some confusion about how to go about updating the Town's 2002 Master Plan, including whether to hire a full time professional planner. Read more about the debacle here.

Apparently, there was also some past confusion in Burlington, Massachusetts about who has the authority to appoint members of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Turns out it was not the Town Administrator's job, but rather that of the Board of Selectmen. In any event, read more about that here and how the Town is in the process of adding new ZBA members.

A bit of development news from Wayland, Massachusetts. A parking reduction request was made as part of the proposal for the redevelopment of a site that includes a 11,900 SF pharmacy and a mixed use building. Whether the parking reduction request will be granted remains open for now, but read more about the proposed project and some of the abutters' and residents' concerns.

In Belmont, Massachusetts, it remains to be seen what will become of the site in Waverly Square that is the site of the 142 year old First Congregational Church which was sold to a developer for $1.3M earlier this week. Read more about the possibilities here, which may ultimately require some kind of zoning relief.

Not unexpectedly, there is some uproar in Uxbridge, Massachusetts about a proposed asphalt plant. Apparently, part of the problem is the fact that a 1995 zoning amendment that would have banned such facilities was never properly recorded in the registry of deeds, and that residents did not understand the effect of some related bylaw amendments in 2008 (which allow such plants under special permit). There will likely be more coverage of this controversial development in the coming weeks, but you can read about where things presently stand in this article and here.

As biotechnology continues to be a strong industry in Massachusetts, it was nice to see that the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) handed out more of its "BioReady" ratings to Middleborough, Abington and West Boylston (and an upgrade for Hopkinton). These ratings are related to the kinds of building codes, zoning bylaws and other similar criteria in place in each municipality. Read more about those recent ratings here. To see the full listing of BioReady communities in Massachusetts, visit the MassBio website.

Finally, some proposed zoning amendments are afoot in Westwood, Massachusetts for the University Station commuter rail station development (click here). Zoning changes might also be coming in Saugus, Massachusetts, where there is a push to create a historic mill district (click here); the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is providing both technical and grant assistance to study the issue.

Written by Kristen M. Ploetz, Esq., of Green Lodestar Communications & Consulting, LLC, on behalf of Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. Edited by Jeffrey T. Angley, Esq.

Copyright (c) 2011-2013 by Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is general in nature and for educational purposes only. No personal legal advice is being provided. If you have an actual legal issue that needs to be addressed, you should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C., Phillips & Angley or their attorneys.

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