COLRAIN – Residents returning for a second round of annual town meeting last week approved all the zoning revisions requested by the town Planning Board.
They also approved a one-year moratorium on the construction of any wind turbine facilities producing more than 35 kilowatts of power.
The zoning bylaw changes include a new zoning map, and revised definitions of the town’s village district (compact, mixed-use development) and commercial/industrial district, which allows “a combination of business and light industrial uses that reflect traditional land use patterns.”
The land-use table has been modified to allow for some types of development in town through a “site plan review” process, instead of by requiring a special permit.
Types of development that would have required a special permit, but which may now be approved through a site plan review in either the village or commercial/industrial districts include:
• businesses and professional offices for up to six employees.
• conversion of historic, industrial or commercial structures for mixed-use complexes.
In the village districts, the following uses may be allowed through a site plan review: restaurants and seasonal food services; a bed and breakfast with up to six bedrooms; motels, artisan studios and retail stores of 3,000 square feet or less.
Also, to make better use of the town’s housing stock, two-family dwellings will be allowed in all zoning districts, and by site plan review in the rural/residential areas.
There is a new definition for accessory apartments; it basically strikes the requirement that the apartment, of up to four rooms in a pre-existing single-family home, be “occupied by a member of the family.”
An applicant for a site plan review must file a completed application with the town clerk, along with seven copies for town boards and officials. No building permits required for site plan review projects will be issued until the Planning Board has approved the plan or until the required time for taking action has lapsed without action from the Planning Board. A public hearing will take place within 65 days of the application.
Review criteria may include: adequacy of vehicular traffic access and circulation; sufficiency of off-street parking and loading; lighting; conservation measures and adequate landscaping, to provide a buffer from abutting properties, if applicable.
The second night of annual town meeting took place on Wednesday, at the Colrain Central School.
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