Large House Review Study Committee
Large House Review Study Committee
The Recommendations of the Committee were presented as zoning articles to the May Annual Town Meeting. Town Meeting voted to approve the zoning and the Attorney General subsequently approved it. You may review the new zoning.
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In response to concerns expressed by Needham residents as to the impact new or expanded homes are having on the character of the surrounding residential neighborhood, the Needham Planning Board is appointing the Large House Review Study Committee to develop recommendations on how best to ensure that new residential construction in the Single Residence B and General Residence Districts will complement existing buildings, settings and neighborhood character. The Committee will also explore how the updating and upgrading of structures in such neighborhoods can and should be done, while at the same time conserving the neighborhood's distinctive qualities as changes occur. The Planning Board is taking this action with the support of the Select Board.
Data indicates that the demolition of older, smaller, and less expensive houses has become the principal source of lots for the construction of new single-family houses. A total of 317 building permits for single-family houses were issued between January 2008 and January 2013. The 289 replacement houses, constructed on lots where an existing house has been torn down, accounted for 92% of the source of new house construction over the past 5 years. The remaining 8% was allocated to infill construction at 6% and to subdivision construction at 3%. Needham has transitioned to a place where the majority of its new single family home construction is derived from tear downs driven by market demand and the unavailability of infill and subdivision lots.
The study area shall be all properties located in the Single Residence B and General Residence Districts, which are the residential zoning districts with the smallest lot size/dimensional requirements. The Large House Review Study Committee shall consider the impact new or expanded homes are having on the character of the neighborhoods within the studied zoning districts and shall develop recommendations consistent within the overall purpose for the Study Committee as noted above. The Large House Review Study Committee shall:
- Review past reports, plans and maps prepared by town committees, town officials, state agencies and consultants including the previous Large House Study Committee.
- Seek the input of neighborhood residents, builders, contractors, real estate agents, property owners and others as required. It is also expected that the Large House Review Study Committee will hold citizen information meetings to elicit general public comments and input.
- Review and analyze the current Zoning By-Law and Planning Board Regulations and consideration of amendments to each.
- Analyze the impact of recent planned and potential new housing constructed in the past 5 years in the Residence B and General Residence Districts.
- Review and analyze alternative zoning dimensions, restrictions or limitations that may address neighborhood concerns.
- Prepare recommendations to amend the Zoning By-Law or propose other regulatory strategies that will protect the characteristics valued by residents in the Single Residence B and General Residence Districts.
- Generally identify key issues and needs, analyze alternative solutions, and make recommendations to the Planning Board, both short and long term, within the overall purpose of the Large House Review Study Committee.
In making appointments to the Large House Review Study Committee, the Planning Board intends to identify qualified candidates who represent a variety of backgrounds and interests comprising representatives from select Town Boards and Commissions, the League of Women Voters, residents with background or experience in architecture, construction, real estate and two (2) members at-large. The Large House Review Committee shall consist of twelve (12) members as follows:
Two (2) members or designee of the Planning Board
One (1) member or designee of the Select Board
One (1) member or designee of the Design Review Board
One (1) member or designee of the Historic Commission
One (1) member or designee of the Zoning Board of Appeals
One (1) member or designee of the League of Women Voters
One (1) Real Estate Broker
One (1) Developer
One (1) Architect
2 Citizen's at Large
The Committee Membership is as follows:
1-2 Planning Board
- Elizabeth Grimes
- Jeanne McKnight
1 Select Board
3. Marianne Cooley
1 Design Review Board
4. Mark Gluesing
1 Historic Commission
5. Jeff Heller
1 Zoning Board of Appeals
6. Jon Schneider
1 League of Women Voters
7. Lindsay Acomb
1 Real Estate Broker
8. Gary Kaufman
9. Gary Lesanto
10. Jeffrey E. Kristeller
2 Citizen's at Large
11. Imogene Hatch
12. Krista McFadden
It is expected that other interested citizens will also be asked/invited to assist with various assignments related to the mission of the Study Committee.
Target Time Frame
- Charge and introduction of Committee – May 22, 2014
- Background research, research of prior completed reports, review of other community approaches – May 22 – July 31, 2014.
- Initial presentation of findings, goals, objectives to Planning Board with feedback from Planning Board – early/mid-September, 2014.
- Prepare recommendations to the Planning Board and present – Late October, 2014
- Planning Board and Study Committee work to prepare zoning by-law amendments and community outreach – November 2014 – January, 2015
- Warrant Article Draft to Town Meeting – February 1, 2015.
The Director of Planning and Community Development and the Assistant Town Planner will be the staff liaisons for the Study Committee and will be responsible for ensuring that meetings are posted and minutes are taken, transcribed, and posted on the website in a timely manner. Staff resources will include representatives from the Planning and Community Development Department and the Building Department.
The meeting date has been tentatively set for the last Thursday morning of the month at 8:00. The first meeting is planned for May 22, 2014.
Normal costs such as printing and mailing will be absorbed by the Department of Planning and Community Development.
The Study Committee shall elect a chair, who shall preside at meetings, a vice chair who shall preside at meetings when the chair is unavailable. All meetings will be conducted in conformance with the Open meeting Law, including the proper notice and posting of meetings, and all records shall be maintained in conformance with the Public Records Law.
May 22, 2014
June 26, 2014
Example 1 - Conforming Lot Plot Plan (PDF)
Example 2 - Non-conforming Lot Plot Plan (PDF)
July 24, 2014
Materials handed out in advance as preparation: Table comparing Newton, Wellesley and Weston zoning & regulations (PDF)
Materials from Wellesley: Wellesley Presentation #1 (PDF)
August 28, 2014
October 9, 2014
Example Wellesley - 24 Elmwood front photo (PDF)
November 7, 2014
Dormers: Newton (PDF)
December 18, 2014
January 9, 2015 Working Group Meeting
January 22, 2015
February 26, 2015
Cover Sheet for Wellesley homes (PDF) that were discussed as examples
Examples reviewed: 5 Patton, Wellesley (PDF)
April 10, 2015
May 8, 2015
December 1, 2015 (includes recommendations of the working group meetings during the intervening months)
January 7, 2016
League of Women Voter's Forum of February 12, 2016
February 26, 2016
March 16, 2016
April 5, 2016 Public Workshop with Realtors, Builders, Architects, Engineers
April 27, 2016
June 1, 2016 Town wide Community Meeting
June 9, 2016
July 21, 2016
November 15, 2016
November 30, 2016
January 10, 2017 presentation to Planning Board