Town Crier

TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Zoning Bylaw Committee met on Wed­nesday, Dec. 8 for another public hearing session. The committee is seeking community input on the draft zoning bylaw to be considered at annual Town Meeting 2022. It can be found here: https://www.tewksbury-ma.gov/zoning-bylaw-committee and click on “Final Zoning Draft” in the left-hand column.

The public is welcomed to email comments or concerns to zoning@tewksbury-ma.gov and al­so to appear in person. The committee will re­spond to every comment and discuss suggestions presented.

At the meeting, topics such as industrial zone use tables, allowed uses, and fee in lieu of were discussed. Resident Bob O’Bri­en asked the committee to increase the criteria for deciding to ac­cept a fee in lieu of payment from a developer in­stead of requiring the construction of affordable units within a subdivision. O’Brien would like the de­cision making to have more detail such as lot size, square footage of dwelling, and the disposition of the town’s housing stock at the time, for example.

O’Brien said that a single-family home subdivision should not be ex­empt from providing af­for­da­ble units, and re­jected the notion that an affordable home must look different than a market-rate home.

Further, O’Brien said any street in Tewksbury has homes that are of a varying values, and that a smaller home does not stand out as unusual.

Chairperson Todd John­son appreciated the in­put and asked O’Brien to send his detailed suggestions to the board following the meeting. Johnson also reminded the audience that affordable hou­sing is distinct from subsidized housing.

Resident Karyn Sliva spoke at the microphone to encourage residents to send in questions and comments about the by­law for consideration by the board, or to attend meetings in person.

“This is your town,” said Sliva, saying that now is the time to provide input.

Additionally, Sliva ask­ed the board to consider non-retail marijuana bu­sinesses in the Office/Re­search zone, such as manufacturing or re­search; a use that would take the place of the multifamily residential use that has been removed.

The board will be discussing marijuana business use at the next meeting on Dec. 20 and appreciated Sliva raising the topic. Assistant Town Ma­nager Steve Sadwick said that he expected the mee­ting to also prompt the retail discussion again. Sliva pointed to the new dispensary in Lowell on Route 38 just over the border as an opportunity that, just like billboards, Tewksbury may potentially be missing out on.

Al Salas of EcoAuto rose to request a consideration of the addition of green uses in the General Business zone in Tewks­bury. In specific, Salas’ company is looking at 623 Main St., the former Nis­san dealership, for a hy­brid and electric vehicle sales and service operation, along with electric vehicle charging stations and “other renewable en­ergy solutions for homeowners and businesses” according to the document presented.

The committee was ap­preciative of Salas’ presentation and agreed to continue discussion about this aspect of the zoning bylaw, including looking at the entire bylaw for other green opportunities. Building commissioner Mark Bertonassi also suggested the possibility of a special permit for such uses.

In order for the committee to evaluate concerns of the proposed zoning bylaw, the committee re­quests specific references to the proposed zoning bylaw which present is­sues. Specific references will add to a more meaningful dialogue in this effort to correct the problems that exist in the current zoning bylaw. 

The next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 20 at Town Hall. The public is invited to attend, though no discussion with the committee will be entertained at that time.

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