Changes Pleasant Street Area Zoning Moving Along

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Efforts to prevent more large housing project coming into the Pleasant Street areas moved a step closer Monday night.

The Economic Development and Planning subcommittee voted to have the proposed changes go to the Town Council during the May 27 meeting, which would essentially put the new zoning into effect at that point.

The Town Council seeks to draw development that includes retail, office and some light industrial in the West End of town.

Three types of zoning will be created in the Pleasant Street Corridor – one where at least 25 percent of projects is commercial; a second where no retail is allowed – only retail, commercial and light industrial; and one where anything fitting the Pleasant Street Corridor rules can be built.

Councilors also want to prevent “canyon-ization” when multi-story building are built close to the street.

To prevent this, buildings will have to be “stepped back” –  so floors above the second must be pushed 15 feet back from the front facade, and floors above the sixth must be pushed back 25 feet from the front facade. They must also be pushed back 15 if it is over two stories and backs onto the Charles River.

Also, residential projects must be built 15 feet from the property line – five feet farther back than under the current zoning. 

Before the zoning is officially adopted the Planning Board will hold a public hearing and approve it and then the Town Council will see it again and vote on it.

However Magoon said that when the Council holds the first reading, it will essentially call a timeout for future developments, and the new zoning will have to be considered by developers, as well as the Planning and Zoning boards.

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