WINCHESTER - With fall Town Meeting on Monday, Nov. 1, the Planning Board will present four articles for the meeting’s consideration including the standard article to hear a report from the chair.
The first non-report article concerns the Winchester Zoning Bylaw and the Floodplain Overlay District. According to the article, the bylaw must be updated in accordance with new National Flood Insurance Program guidelines.
Those guidelines include: purpose (to ensure public safety, eliminate new hazards, prevent public emergencies, avoid the loss of utility services, eliminate costs associated with response and cleanup, and reduce damage to public and private property) and boundaries (it includes all special flood hazard areas of town designated as Zone A, AE, AH, AO, and A99 on the Middlesex County Flood Insurance Rate Map issued by FEMA).
The new guidelines also mention abrogation and greater restriction, disclaimer of liability, severability, designation of community flood administrator (the town engineer), requirement to submit new technical data, variances to building code floodplain standards, variances to local zoning bylaws related to community compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program, and permits.
The new guidelines talk about base flood elevation and floodway data, the floodway and floodplain, notification of watercourse alteration (the town engineer must notify adjacent communities, especially upstream and downstream, NFIP State Coordinator, and NFIP Program Specialist, FEMA Region 1), use regulations, recreational vehicles, and permitted uses.
The new guidelines also include a section detailing the Floodplain Overlay District and such terms: base flood, development, district, flood boundary and floodway map, Flood Hazard Boundary Map, Flood Insurance Rate Map, flood insurance study, floodway, functionality, historic structure, lowest floor, manufactured home, manufactured home park or subdivision, new construction, 100 year flood, recreational vehicle, regulatory floodway, special flood hazard area, start of construction, structure, substantial damage, substantial improvement, substantial repair of a foundation, variance, violation, and Zones A, AE, AH, AO, A99, B, C, and X.
The Planning Board will also present shorter articles such as asking Town Meeting to amend the definition of “half story” by deleting the current definition and replacing it. The replacement text reads: the space in a building directly under a sloping roof in which (1) the bottom of the roof rafters intersects the interior faces of at least two exterior walls at not more than three feet above the floor of this space, and (2) the total floor area that has a clear height of seven feet or more is not more than 65 percent of the total square footage of the floor area of the story directly beneath.
The third Planning Board article concerns adding a new section to Chapter 2 of the Winchester Code of Bylaws to establish a new Master Plan Implementation Committee to consist of 10 members, one of whom will be the town planner, one of whom will be a youth representative between 16 and 20 to serve for one year and eight more members appointed for three year terms.
The youth representative will be appointed by a committee consisting of the town moderator and the chairs of the Select Board and Planning Board. Other chairs responsible for appointing members include: Historical Commission, Housing Partnership Board, Disability Access Commission, Traffic and Transportation Advisory Committee, Council on Aging, Conservation Committee, Climate Action Advisory Committee, Board of Health, Cultural Council, and School Committee. The new Sustainability Director will also help appoint new members.
The committee’s mission involves ensuring the vision, goals and strategies of the Master Plan Action Plan are achieved through advocacy, collaboration, research, and communication with the community. The committee will work wit the Planning Board, planning department and town manager to seek funding, review progress and develop and document metrics to gauge progress toward the plan’s goals.