What Are Zoning Ordinance “Protest Petitions”?

Land owners impacted by a proposed zoning amendment may submit a protest petition to increase the margin of approval required from a simple majority to a 2/3 majority if either of the following criteria are met:

– The owners of 20% of the land impacted by the amendment sign the petition.
– The owners of 20% of the area within 100 feet of the area immediately adjacent or across the street from the affected area sign the petition.

Protest petitions have been submitted for zoning amendments #6 and #7

What does this mean for us?

For #7, the abutters behind Harvest Market have gathered enough signatures to make sure #7 can only pass with 2/3 the vote. This is helpful to us because we can still have our NO votes matter even if #7 wins by a small margin.

HOWEVER, it is not good for passing #6 which restricts building heights on Rte 101. Seems ridiculous to us that anyone would want to promote HIGHER BUILDING HEIGHTS in the 101 corridor, until we saw the petitions themselves, which were submitted mostly by the developers.

Please get out to vote and make sure everyone you know votes YES on #6 and NO on #7 because #6 may need 2/3 the vote to pass.

[#6 further protects the 101 town center from urban development. It restricts building heights to two floors and square footage similar to what is allowed in the historic district.]

[#7 was proposed by local developers to remove zoning restrictions on two abutting lots they themselves own behind the Harvest Market parcel. Passing this would allow them to propose and build another high-density or mixed-use development like the one for which they are currently seeking approvals between Shorty’s and the high school. The Historic District Commission has already voted to advise the Planning Board to recommend NOT supporting this amendment, citing concerns for residential abutters in the area and the fact that the roads there are not intended for high-volume use that would occur with high-density and/or mixed-used development directly behind Harvest Market.]