Suggested Zoning Compromises

In response to the public hearing process, as well as feedback from the mayor, the planning community, and town officials, Councilor Wheeler and I have suggested potential revisions to the proposed zoning changes. While public response to the changes as initially proposed was overwhelmingly positive–by margin of more than five to one–we believe that compromise in certain areas could strengthen the changes and broaden their appeal to the community. We suggest:

  • Compromising to 4,000 square foot minimum lot in the RA zone, in place of the 2,000 square feet initially proposed.
  • Limiting parking changes to residential uses, with the idea that we might revisit commercial uses at a later date.
  • A parking requirement of 1 space per unit for residential uses, instead of eliminating the minimum entirely.
  • Not replacing the definition of ‘family’ with that of ‘single housekeeping unit,’ and instead leaving that term undefined.
  • Reinstating the owner-occupancy provision of the ADU ordinance.
  • Reintroducing the three types of ADU (within, attached, and detached) present in the original ordinance which, given the suggested compromise to minimum lot size above, preserves the ability to build all types of ADUs on non-conforming lots.

The suggested revisions are summarized and/or highlighted in yellow in the documents below.

To pass zoning changes, one must clear an exceptionally high bar. A Boston Globe editorial from March 8th notes: “Public participation in development seems laudable, acting as an integral underpinning to local democracy. In practice, it does the opposite: research shows that public meetings empower an unrepresentative group of people who overwhelmingly oppose new housing.” 
 
Greenfield is fortunate in this moment to enjoy broad support for the creation of a modest amount of new housing. Let’s seize the moment. The status quo is rising rents, edge development, and more encampments. On the other side of change, development could be nudged back towards the center, new growth could help pay for declining infrastructure, and rents could stabilize. These changes could be the start.