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Sherborn plans Feb. 11 housing meeting

Housing has been a hot topic in Sherborn recently and Tuesday evening, February 11, will present an opportunity to weigh in on potential measures to address some of the issues. That night, the Sherborn Housing Partnership and Planning Board will host a discussion and public hearing on a couple of warrant articles to help advance housing goals as presented in the 2017 Housing Production Plan and 2019 Master Plan.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the Housing Partnership will have a presentation on its warrant article to amend the Housing Trust, authorized at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting, by adding some clarifying details. In November, Housing Partnership members, along with Planning Board members and several others in town with relevant skills and experience, joined to create a Housing Trust Working Group, guided by consultant Jennifer Goldson, who assisted Sherborn in 2017 with the Housing Production Plan. As the Housing Trust Working Group dug into the details to create the Declaration of Trust, it was determined Sherborn would be served best by adding additional language to the Housing Trust Bylaw.

Following a presentation and discussion of the proposed language additions to the Housing Trust Bylaw, at 7:30 p.m. the Planning Board will open a hearing on its Inclusionary Zoning Bylaw. The Inclusionary Zoning Bylaw would require future housing developments to help Sherborn meet its affordable housing goals by either including affordable units within the development, providing affordable units off-site, or make a payment in lieu of providing the units to the Housing Trust. The funds to the Trust would be dedicated to providing affording housing. A Housing Trust and Inclusionary Zoning are both tools towns use to help guide and create desired affordable housing. Draft language of proposed warrant articles to be discussed may be found on the Town’s website on the Planning Board and Housing Partnership pages.

Sherborn’s Annual Town Meeting (ATM) has been set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28. The weeks and months ahead of this ATM are filled with various open meetings and hearings to work out details of budgets and warrant articles at the committee level, Advisory Committee Hearings and Select Board presentations. The Planning Board has four zoning articles on the warrant which, because they are zoning articles, will require a two-thirds super majority. In addition to the Inclusionary Zoning article, the Board is proposing an Open Space Subdivision bylaw, an amendment to simplify the process of getting a building permit for an addition or accessory structure that meets all requirements but where the existing house or lot does not, and a housekeeping article to remove a temporary moratorium on marijuana establishments that has expired (and has been replaced by a permanent ban).

The public hearing for the Open Space Subdivision Bylaw (and the other two) will be held on Tuesday, February 4, at 7 p.m. The Open Space Subdivision Bylaw will provide an alternative to conventional subdivision design, with a goal to encourage more open space preservation with the same number of houses as allowed in a conventional subdivision plan. Since the concept was first put forth two years ago, Planning Board members have had many meetings and conversations with Board of Health and Conservation Commission to work through some initial concerns resulting in a much improved bylaw.

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