Is Form Based Code right for Newton?
No. Form Based codes are intended to produce more consistent and predictable patterns of development than typically achieved through conventional zoning regulations. Form based codes are inherently prescriptive, and suitable for dense, urban areas. Our "Garden City" is a built out environment, with a diverse set of housing patterns.
How will removing the minimum lot size and frontage requirements affect the city?
It will increase Newtons Luxury Housing. Many previously unbuildable lots will become buildable. Newly buildable lots with be taxed at a much higher rate, incentivizing owners to build upon them. Many lots will be eligible to subdivide where they previously could not, replacing a single property with two.
Elimination of Single Residence Zoning / half mile from transportation
This will transform the character of this city. The idea is to make property in Newton "Attainable". At present our planning department does not define what attainable is. Fortunately we do know what happens now - a single family house in a 2 family zone gets sold between $800,000 to $1,000,000 and gets replaced with a 2 family each fetching $1,3000,00 to $1,500,000. This is not attainable, and it certainly is not affordable!
It will strain our infrastructure. Schools will need to be transformed or rebuilt. Incentivizing the intensity of use of land will increase the value of land, property tax will increase and our seniors will become more financially burdened.
Zoning is supposed to give property owners predictability. Many of us invested in our properties based on this premise and we deserve better!
How is the proposed zoning encouraging environmental change?
The current draft ordinance is intended to encourage us to walk, cycle and use public transportation - all admirable goals.
To help achieve these goals the new zoning ordinance is not going to require onsite parking in residential development. It goes even further and will prohibit us from parking in our front setbacks - typically our driveways! Has this ideology gone too far? We think so!
The original intent of zoning reform was to reduce non conformity with the zoning code. What is the the reality?
We believe the Zoning & Planning committee has lost its way. Most proposals are increasing rather than decreasing nonconformity! Vehicular access is a prime example; Many of us park in the front of our garages. If that is in your front set back (approximately 25 feet from the street) they will not permit it!