Changes to zoning set for hearing

NEW IPSWICH – The Planning Board is making another attempt to modify the town’s zoning regulations after being rejected by voters 11 out of 12 times last year.

The newly proposed changes to the town’s zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations will be discusses at a Public Hearing of the Planning Board on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., at Mascenic High School.

Complete copies of the proposed amendments and changes are available at the town office.

Here’s a rundown of the proposed changes:

– Amendment 1 would eliminate, in all districts, the 3-acre minimum lot size for lots with slopes greater than 15 percent, and replace article X.c, deemed the “Steep Slopes District,” with Article XII-1, the “Controls for Slopes and Wetlands.” The new article retains and clarifies the existing provision that lots containing areas with slopes greater than 15 percent should have one adjoining acre that has less than a 15 percent slope and is not wet. The requirement extends to all new subdivided lots. In the case of multifamily dwellings, the town would require additional acreage to meet the new conditions, and add a provision that areas with slopes greater than 25 percent may not be used to satisfy minimum lot area requirements.

– Amendment 2 would change the Wetlands Conservation District ordinance by altering the definition of wetlands so as to be consistent with the newly adopted state law. It will clarify the method by which wetlands are to be delineated and further explain current requirements for setbacks from wetlands and surface waters. It would also establish a requirement for a 25-foot buffer from wetlands and ponds in addition to the current requirement for a 25-foot setback from streams.

– Amendment 3 changes the zoning ordinance by repealing the existing Article XIII.f, regarding signs, and replaces it with a new section that sets standards for the number, size, height, and illumination of signs and also prohibits certain types of signs.

– Amendment 4 changes Article XIII.h regarding driveways, and Article XVI, relating to administration and enforcement, by specifying and defining permit requirements pertaining to driveways.

– Amendment 5 would change subdivision regulations, by adding provisions that establish specifications for the construction of driveways.