City Council chambers - December 13, 2018 at 6:30pm. (The city's meeting notice is posted here)
Proposed Zoning Changes: Use your voice to ensure positive changes.
The City Council and Planning Board will hold a Joint Public Hearing on December 13, 2018 in the City Council Chambers. This is the time to let Councilors and Planning Board Members know your thoughts on a proposed Adaptive Reuse Overlay District.
Here are some ways to learn more about this proposed zoning overlay:
The ordinance itself is here >> (Link to Municipal and Religious Properties Adaptive Reuse Overlay District Draft Ordinance on City’s website.)
This is a list of the properties to which the overlay will apply >> (Link to List of Municipal and Religious Properties.) This list includes most of the religious and city-owned buildings in the city, a total of 28 properties.
Please take a moment to read the zoning ordinance, especially if you live very near one of these sites. The city planning department is available to answer your questions, as they have many of ours, or consider calling your city councilor to discuss the ordinance. We will be attending the Joint Public Hearing and invite you to join us
Historic Salem’s thoughts:
The stated intent of the Adaptive Reuse Overlay District is to facilitate the appropriate preservation and reuse of eligible buildings -- this is an outcome that Historic Salem wholeheartedly supports.
However, the details of the proposed ordinance will also allow, and therefore encourage, substantial new construction on the lots on which the buildings are located. In some cases, additions to building footprint would be allowed 5 feet from neighboring property lines and in others, the existing buildings could have several floors added to their height. Important to note - any proposed new construction could be 50 feet tall, or higher. This is in contrast to the surrounding residential neighborhoods, which generally have buildings less than 35 feet tall. If you want to read more about the allowable dimensions for new construction on these school and church sites look for Section 8.7.4 in the ordinance draft.
We think that in order to meet the stated purpose, to allow for reuse…which will best serve the community but will minimize impacts to surrounding neighborhoods, additions and other new construction should be required to meet the dimensional requirements of the underlying or adjacent zoning – so that it fits into the neighborhood. New construction should also be a carefully considered with approval from the Historic Commission and Design Review Board. These changes to the proposed ordinance would allow for reuse flexibility while also respecting the civic presence of the historic buildings and the existing neighborhoods in which they sit.
 The public comment period is often closed on the night of the Joint Public Hearing, so we suggest comments be sent by December 13th.
 In an R-1 (Single Family) or an R-2 (2 family) zone new construction must be 10 feet from the lot line, and in R-3 zoning, which is a higher density, multi-family zone the minimum is 20 feet from adjacent properties.
 An existing zoning designation that has similar setbacks, density, height and parking allowances is the B-5 (Central Development) zone, which covers downtown Salem. In this zone, projects are successfully reviewed by the Salem Redevelopment Authority and Design Review Board to ensure that projects best serve the community.
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