Monday, January 14, 2013

Zoning Code Text Change Application Would Block New Commercial Development Around Wesleyan

The Planning Department has received an application to change the text of the zoning code, to restrict the possible uses of land zoned ID. It was submitted by Ed McKeon, a community activist who is opposed to the development of a strip mall in a residential area between Pearl and High on Washington Street.

The ID (Institutional Development) zone applies to land around Wesleyan, Middlesex Hospital, and Connecticut Valley Hospital. It provides wide latitude to the institution to build facilities "compatible with its setting in scale and design."

The zoning code currently stipulates that land in the zone "not used and endorsed by the institution" must meet the requirements of the MX zone, which allows residential as well as professional offices, neighborhood stores, and other low-intensity commercial uses. A recently proposed text change would allow very high-density commercial use.

McKeon's proposed text would stipulate that properties in an ID zone that have been used as residences and are not being used by the institution would have to meet the requirement of the RPZ zone. RPZ is a residential zone does not allow commercial use.

All zoning code text change decisions take place after a public hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Commission is likely to schedule such a public hearing for one of its meetings in February.

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