The Planning Board met remotely on July 13 after a nearly 4-month hiatus. With Town Meeting over and FY21 underway, the Board began to evaluate which upcoming projects they will focus on first.
With uncertainty surrounding future Town Meetings, member Amy Lloyd suggested the board focus on essential projects. The list of upcoming projects includes the rezoning of Great Road, review of “Approval Not Required” (ANR) regulations, parking ratios, building height regulations, and a review of rules and regulations at work sites. Planning Director Tony Fields noted that the height regulations are something the Board will have to address when Ultragenyx develops plans for its new site.
The Board also appeared to prioritize social equity for FY21. Fields posed the question to members “What role should planning and zoning play in creating more socially equitable communities?” As they review zoning bylaws, members agreed that focus should be placed on addressing policies that may contribute to discrimination or inequality in any form, although no problem areas have been identified by the Board yet.
Jacinda Barbehenn mentioned that she recently hosted a webinar about ways zoning bylaws could contribute to racial discrimination and voiced her support for tackling this issue. The Board might also address inequalities by amending the bylaws to encourage the creation of more multi-family residences. Barbehenn explained that the town consists of predominantly single-family homes, with a significant number of large residential complexes, but lacks affordable multi-family houses in neighborhoods.