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Thursday October 19, 2017
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Zoning Switcheroo



Local developer Tom Fitzsimmons is less enthusiastic--because the committee also recommended a maximum lot size, of 6,525 square feet. That limit would prevent big projects like City Place, which combined seven lots--but also smaller ones like the three-story, five-unit condo building Fitzsimmons is currently developing at 922 and 926 Catherine St. He says his project is appropriate for, and has the support of, the neighborhood, but if the committee's recommendations became a part of the ordinance, combining the two lots would violate zoning code.

"Essentially, they're allowing [only] small remodels and additions," says Fitzsimmons. "It will kill any megaprojects and everything in between. That's fine if that's what everyone who lives in all of those neighborhoods wants, but in my opinion it is a reaction to City Place and may be killing some very good midsized projects."

Potts disagrees that midsized developments are necessarily more appropriate than mega-developments to the scale and character of near-downtown neighborhoods. And if developers really want to combine lots, Carman adds, they can always appeal to the ZBA.

For their part, members of the R4C/R2A Zoning District Study Advisory Committee are displeased with parts of the report that include recommendations on issues they don't feel they had sufficient time to study. Parking was one such issue--though that didn't prevent staff from including parking recommendations in their report.

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