The Trigger Point for the “Infill Ordinance”

Ok, here’s how I am understanding things.

A “Special Permit” is supposed to benefit the neighbors and residents in general in Newburyport, Massachusetts. (See earlier post on Special Permits.)

And a Special Permit, as I understand it, means that an applicant comes in front of the Newburyport Planning Board to make sure that the project doesn’t “mess up” the City.

So, for this new revisiting of what I am calling the “Infill Ordinance” (the revision of section IXb of the zoning code) wouldn’t it be better to have an early rather than later “trigger point” where people come in for that initial “informal chat” with the Newburyport Planning Board to “test the waters” and make sure everything is A-Ok, as a way of protecting our historic municipality?

That would not preclude a project from taking place and having a “formal” application happen. It would just insure a layer of protection for the historic and intrinsic value of the City of Newburyport in general. To make sure that the project is “compatible in mass, scale or character with the surrounding neighborhood” (from earlier post on Definition of Infill.)

If the proposed application was just fine, then I am supposing that a Special Permit would then be formally granted in a timely manner. If the application was questionable, then the Newburyport Planning Board and the abutters and neighbors could have a discussion on what would be acceptable and appropriate for them and for the City of Newburyport in general.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport