The Planning Boards report on the Growth Management Zoning
Petition recommends immediate adoption of six of the petitions points but
also proposes lengthy study of key parts of the petition that would put the issue of growth management on the back burner.
The report is the result of a three-month review by the Board, the Community Development Department and a team of consultants and is expected to be the starting point for the City Councils discussion of the petition this month.
The Board recommends that the City Council adopt six zoning changes, modified from the Growth Management Petition.
- Maximum height limit of 120 feet in districts now without limit, with special permit for more height for housing and dorms.
- New residential height limit of 45 feet in Business A District, down from 85 feet. (Cambridge and River Streets)
- One-quarter reduction in maximum building size (FAR) in densest districts, Business B (Harvard Square), Industry A-2 (Limpro site) and Industry B (Tech Square and area to north), with special permit for more in Business B only.
- Increase Incentive Zoning special permit "linkage" fees to support affordable housing to $3.00 per square foot and broaden applicability to more projects.
- Require notice boards be posted on premises prior to special permit or variance hearings.
- Zoning of publicly owned park lands for Open Space use instead of buildings.
The Board recommends lengthy, two to three-year, study of general reductions in allowable building size (FAR) and height needed to manage growth and control increases in traffic congestion and other spillovers.
The Board urges early reconsideration, after disapproval, of six other provisions
- Regulation of infill construction in residential backyards, especially C-1 districts (most of eastern half of city).
- Regulation of construction in flood plain areas (near Alewife).
- Inclusionary affordable housing.
- Transition requirements (buffers) between high and low-density districts.
- More open space requirements in residential and abutting commercial districts.
- Lower FAR in the Open Space district.