Article 41: Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

ARTICLE 41: Floor Area Ratio, FAR - the article would limit the size of new houses or additions in relation to their lot size
Inserted at the request of the Planning Board
Planning Board presentation: Includes basements; half stories
All peer towns is like comparing apples to oranges.
Fiscal impacts: 6 month study of data gathering, data was analyzed, then, an effects assessment. Case study of homes built between 2013-2015. Developed statistical models: Historical model; Current Model; Future Model. Not predictions but a range of projections. There is an appeals process
PB in unanimous support
Board of Selectmen hasn't taken a vote
Appropriation  Committee has no consensus
Town Moderator notes that more than a dozen citizens signed up to speak to the article
TMM at Q: Slide 9 - appreciate the many examples; based on Article 39 passage, are they based on previous bylaw?
A: yes
TMM - Appreciate the work of the PB. I intend to vote NO
TMM Q: why is the inclusion of the basement at full height in the process?
A: Basements and attics are routinely included in residential development.
TMM - this does not make sense to me.
Citizen: I oppose this Article.
TMM Q: I'm asking on behalf of a Citizen. How is conservation land included in this calculation?
A: Is the conservation land adjacent?
TMM: I believe it is adjacent
A: Special permit was required for structure to be built initially (ZBA or PB), would need to go to that authority for special permit.
TMM at YES: I would like to talk about basements. It turns out you can have a crawl space that is under 7 feet high and that is plenty of room for storage, playroom, and other uses. It's a modest proposal. Other towns have these restrictions - it is not a big thing. If there are unintended consequences we can fix them. We have to start somewhere. I think we should support it.
Citizen: speaking in opposition. Could affect almost every property in this town. The standards set in this article are arbitrary, without sufficient due diligence of the Planning Board.
TMM at NO: None of us can appreciate the particular and unique circumstances of families. We're trying to legislate how people build and renovate. We are over regulating. Town Meeting needs to say, "enough".
Citizen: Moved here over 20 years ago - trees, green space - now, 8 tear-downs, enormous houses being built instead. Agree that we need to balance and think this is a very balanced proposal. Please support the Article
TMM at YES: I'm supportive because it will help to prevent flooding (reduce impervious surfaces).
Citizen: Horrified by this proposal. 
Eight TMMs now queued at the YES
TMM at NO: I'm disappointed to be standing at this mic. I'm concerned about the impact of this bylaw. Stated intention is to reduce shadowing, dismantling tree canopy - needs more analysis.
Citizen: Speaking on behalf of 12 families and my family who strongly support. Our neighborhood is one of the more denser and smaller homes. We are concerned about the tear-downs. Impacts are real:
  1. open space, tree cover, run-off on drains, shadowing on houses
  2. from our perspective, we don't want to become another enclave for ginormous homes
  3. none of us wants to lose money on our homes.
The time to act is now. The tear-downs are proceeding; the market is very strong.
TMM at YES: these are very modest changes; developers will become more creative. These are not onerous regulations at all. Urges TMMs to support
TMM at NO: I'd like to remind TM that we passed Article 29 to form neighborhood districts. We're trying to over-control
Citizen: Let's separate fact from fiction. Received fliers from realtors. Open space has value. Keep that in mind.
TMM/Selectman: I'm opposed. Takes substantial value from tax base. It focuses on Gross Floor Area
TMM calls the question , which is a MOTION to close debate on Article 41
MOTION PASSES
YES= 102           NO=60            ABSTAIN=6       
Main MOTION to Amend Zoning Bylaw on Floor Area Ratio - requires 2/3 majority to pass
MOTION PASSES
YES=127            NO=41            ABSTAIN=2
Town Meeting adjourned until 7:30 PM Monday, April 4, back in Cary Hall