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Springfield Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project

Office of Planning and Economic Development

Objectives of the Zoning Modernization Project:
Expand Role of Site Plan Review Provide clear direction for land uses categories, zoning districts and definitions Implement structure and format improvements Employ traditional neighborhood development standards Encourage and foster better pedestrian access Address 21st century home business uses Employ new and flexible parking standards Modernize the current ordinance not completed since 1971

Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)
Formed to advise the Office of Planning & Economic Development on policy issues relating to zoning CAC comprised of diverse stakeholders including civic groups, business leaders, developers, regional planning agency, legal experts, and local boards and officials Technical sub-committee formed in the summer of 2008 to focus on unresolved issues

*Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)
• Tim Brennan, Pioneer • • • •
Valley Planning Commission Kathy Brown, East Springfield Neighborhood Council Frank Colaccino, The Colvest Group, Ltd. Clodo Concepcion, Sixteen Acres Civic Association Gloria DeFilipo, Pine Point Community Council

• Russ Denver, Former
President, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Kerry Dietz, Dietz & Company Architects, Inc. Ellen Freyman, Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin PC Peter Gagliardi, HAP, Inc. Ben Swan, Jr. Springfield Planning Board

• • • •

Linda Langevin, Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood Council Robert McCarroll, Springfield Historical Commission Bruce Stebbins, Former Springfield City Councilor Patricia Triggs, Forest Park Civic Association

*Members who agreed to participate

Process To Date
Project began March 2006
Over 20+ CAC meetings comprising over 1,000 total person- hours Two (2) full public meetings (Hall of Fame) Four (4) citywide neighborhood meetings Public review draft circulated for 45-day comment period in July 2008 Several meetings with business groups (Sign companies, MassMutual, Baystate Medical, Chamber of Commerce) Public review draft was presented to the Planning Board and City Council in June 2009

Since 2009
Four (4) City Council Sub-Committee meetings Over fourteen (14) individual meetings with the Development Group Presentations completed to the Chamber of Commerce, Live Well Springfield, Partners for a Healthier Community, Armoury Quadrangle Civic Association, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Numerous internal meetings with staff, City Council and consultant Draft was presented to the Planning Board and City Council in September 2012

Since 2012
One (1) City Council Sub-Committee meeting Two (2) individual meetings with the Development Group where a mutual agreement on all outstanding issues was reached

Summary of Proposed Changes
Structural Changes
Modernization of Ordinance New structure is more logical, easier to navigate, and follows state-of-the-art zoning practice Consolidated “Use Table” Use Regulations for all districts in one place Consolidated Dimensional tables Building height, lot size, and density in one place Reorganized from 22 to 13 Articles New structure based upon standards and process rather than districts Organization is typical of modern zoning codes Expanded References include detailed Table of Contents and Index

Clarity and Readability

Used to help the reader understand the words
Accessory Building

Principal Building

Updated and expanded to provide clarity


Use Table

Procedural Changes
Tiered Review
• New Tiered Review system links review process to project scale • Simple projects reviewed by staff, more complex reviewed by
Planning Board or City Council • Current proposal has been modified to only have three (3) levels of review as opposed to four (4): • Tier 1: Administrative (staff) Site Plan Review • Tier 2: Planning Board Site Plan Review • Tier 3: City Council Special Permit


Sign Standards
Illustrations added for clarity More defined terms Introduction of dimensional tables Clear approval criteria for signs needing special permits (Overlay District)

Display Area = A x B If Illuminated: Display Area = C X D




Proposed New Zoning Districts
Riverfront District (RF): • Combine several existing districts into one comprehensive district • West Columbus Urban Renewal District to become overlay zone Business B-1: (Corporate Campus) • Provide zoning options for professional campus office for corporate headquarters (i.e. Mass Mutual, Baystate Medical, etc.) Industrial Mixed-Use (Ind MU): • Encourage re-use of older industrial sites such as older mill buildings by allowing a wider range of mixed uses, including residential Business D: (Regional Shopping Center) • Provide distinct zoning district for the city's larger regional malls Open Space (OS): • Provide a comprehensive zoning classification for city owned parks and open spaces Casino Overlay District (COD): • To facilitate the location of licensed casinos and casino complexes with the City of Springfield

Other Proposed Changes
Additional Changes/Benefits:
• Introduction of new “green” measures

• •

• •

(new landscaping requirements, presumptive parking requirements, pedestrian oriented developments, etc.) Expanded opportunities for home based businesses Encourages “mixed-use” development (business on first floors, residences above) Clearly defines procedures and timelines Brings the document into the 21st century, while building upon the City’s historic development pattern

Major Revisions/Edits
• Reduction of delay period from 180 days to 90 days • Removal of the Planning Board Special permit level of review – thus reducing • • • • • • • •

the Tiered Review levels from four (4) to three (3) Revisions to “historic” review language Revisions to required parking locations Minor updates/revisions to Use Table Minor revision to entire document to reduce perceived “subjectivity” Introduction of additional Community Garden regulations and introduction of “Market Gardens” Revisions to Site Plan Review/Special Permit review criteria Revisions to Flood Plain Overlay District Introduction of Casino Overlay District

Comments & Questions
For more information contact: Office of Planning & Economic Development 70 Tapley Street Springfield, MA 01104 Telephone: (413) 787-6020

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