ADAMS — Town officials have scheduled an informational forum to explain the proposal to change zoning along its commercial corridor and to answer questions about it from residents.
The town is proposing to go through its commercial, residential and industrial zones along the Route 8 corridor to change the zoning to allow more commercial development, correct zoning for some properties that have different uses, and unify some that are split between two zones.
The zoning of town was last reviewed in the 1970s, said Donna Cesan, director of community development for Adams. After five decades, much of it is outdated and in some places, it is not observed at all.
The ultimate goal is to encourage more commercial investment that will in turn expand the tax base and reduce the tax rate.
In order to get this information to the residents, officials have set up a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Adams Visitors Center, 3 Hoosac St. in Adams, regarding the proposed changes to the town's zoning map.
Over the past several months, town officials have worked with staff from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to review and update the zoning map with respect to commercial zoning. This information was reviewed by the Select Board at a workshop meeting in November. In a January meeting the Select Board requested the Adams Planning Board to consider amendments to the Town's official zoning map.
According to town officials, the existing zoning map for Adams was developed almost 50 years ago and has over time become a barrier for both property owners and potential investors. Efforts have been consciously focused on the southern half of town, from Hoosac Street to the Cheshire line, primarily along both sides of Route 8 and also along a section of Summer Street.
A statement from the town explains some of the goals of the proposed changes:
- Eliminate "split lot zoning" in which one portion of a lot is zoned Business (typically B-2) and the rear portion is zoned Residential (typically R-4). Often, this makes it hard for businesses to fully use their properties and, in many cases, it is impossible to know exactly where the zoning line falls. The new zoning would methodically change the zoning lines to match the lot lines, unless there is some physical reason to split a parcel.
- Eliminate or reduce the number of nonconforming properties that have historically been used as commercial but are zoned residential. The proposal is to rezone these properties to remove the nonconformity.
- Modify existing zoning district boundaries, where needed, to provide a more consistent and rational zoning boundary using topography or other physical features (river, roads) as the zoning boundary line.
The proposed changes are not expected to have an impact on real estate tax assessment.
For more information, contact the Community Development Department at 413-743-8300, ext. 133.