Infill Meetings

Letter in Gazette from Kathleen Daly & Julie Kurose: Northampton should extend moratorium on certain development

Today’s Gazette features this letter from ZM members Kathleen Daly and Julie Kurose:

To the editor:

We are a group of concerned neighbors residing in Wards 3 and 4 of Northampton who have formed an ad hoc committee to build awareness on a zoning issue mentioned in the Gazette this past spring (“As moratorium nears end, Northampton eyes new residential zoning for larger projects,” April 10).

The moratorium refers to a hold on issuing building permits for larger residential projects while the Planning Board fine-tunes the language of the regulations to impose greater design and layout standards on any development calling for the construction of seven or more units.

Central to our group’s concerns is how this new zoning language will affect the eventual development of the Fort Hill/Lyman Estate, roughly 15 buildable acres in the center of town now owned by Smith College. Separate public meetings have taken place to discuss both the zoning language and the Lyman development, yet these two issues are inextricably linked. We feel that the consequences of large-scale development have not been thoroughly addressed in the language of the new regulations. Some examples of these include new access roads, increased traffic in our neighborhood of narrow streets and stress to utilities (water, sewer, stormwater).

The Ordinance Committee is scheduled to finalize and advance its decisions to the City Council Sept. 22. While we applaud the significant effort that has gone into crafting the principal guidelines for Smart Growth, we urge the committee to extend the moratorium to the end of the year to continue work on the new ordinances, while we continue to explore successful models from other cities.

City councilors Ryan O’Donnell (Ward 3) and Gina-Louise Sciarra (Ward 4) will sponsor a public forum on rules governing large building projects on Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room on the second floor of City Hall.

We appreciate their work and their efforts to generate greater public awareness of the issues involved. As the decisions regarding the new zoning regulations will affect development in all neighborhoods going forward, we urge the Gazette to continue its coverage of these proceedings.

Kathleen Daly
Julie Kurose

This letter was also signed by five other residents of Wards 3 and 4 in Northampton.


September 3 Zoning Forum: Setting Rules for Building Big

We encourage you to attend this public forum the Wednesday after Labor Day:

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Hearing Room – 2nd Floor, City Hall

210 Main St, Northampton

Sponsored by Ward 3 Councilor Ryan O’Donnell

& Ward 4 Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra


Currently, a moratorium is in place for the development of building projects of seven or more units in two urban residential zoning districts, pending the finalization of special permit criteria that such projects must adhere to.

These criteria are a chance to describe a vision of future development for our city and to spell out many of the values that matter to us in that process such as affordability, the environment, open space and the basic geography of our communities.

Since January, the city has undertaken a public process to evaluate these design criteria in order to address concerns and ensure that the goals for the city will be met.

This forum is a continuation of that process and an opportunity to voice your thoughts and ideas in advance of September 22nd, when the Ordinance Committee will be meeting to consider these regulations and possibly vote to advance them to the City Council.

Learn more on Councilor O’Donnell’s Facebook page.