Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) seeks to develop housing for essential workers and the elderly on Route 140 in Northfield in the “South Park” subdivision next to the Birch Hill Pet Resort. This land is in the Commercial Industrial Zone (C-1 Zone) under the Northfield Zoning Ordinance. Multifamily projects are currently permitted by special exception in the C-1 Zone. LRCD is on the agenda for the January 3, 2022 Northfield Planning Board Meeting. Yes, that’s tonight!
LRCD just learned that also on the agenda tonight is a public hearing on a proposal to amend the zoning so that multi-family development is not allowed in the C-1 Zone. While we do not know the origin of this proposal, we do find its timing suspicious. An abutter to our project has stated to us that he will do all he can to stop our project from moving forward, and we are aware by word of mouth that he has, in fact, been working to do just that.
Under the law, municipalities may only adopt zoning ordinances for the good of the general welfare of the entire town, not to support the interests of a few people. Zoning is intended to promote public, not private, interests. Zoning amendments made outside the adoption of a new master plan are frowned upon. Zoning should not be done piecemeal and spot zoning is illegal.
The Town of Northfield Master Plan was adopted in 2014 and is, therefore, not stale. In fact, the 2019 Northfield Community Profile reinforces the need for affordable housing and specifically lists, as a challenge, "zoning too restricted for affordable housing" (Community Profile, page 13).
Northfield residents who are concerned about this issue should participate in the public hearing tonight, January 3, at 7pm or email the town with comments before 4pm today, asking that those comments be read into the record of the hearing tonight. Emails should be sent to Stephanie Giovannucci firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm today. Please share this information with any friends or family in Northfield. Thank you.
Lakes Region Community Developers