Page 77

language should be added to balance private car use with the use of public and/or alternative transport options.

BOX 3: PROPOSED NEW TEXT FOR SECTION 6.1.3, “SPECIAL REGULATIONS”:

Second, in line with the newly stated objective to consider public and/or alternative transport options in determining offstreet parking requirements, the zoning code should shrink the required minimum parking allotments for businesses and residences within close proximity of major transit hubs. For the Lower Highlands, this would include Gallagher Terminal. Currently there is no such provision.

“Any additional required parking due to changes of use or expansion of an existing structure must conform to the standards for pervious paving outlined in section 6.1.7. If the required additional parking caused by the changes of use or expansion of an existing structure exceeds 30% of the total required parking for the new use or expanded structure, all parking spaces must be re-surfaced to conform with the aforementioned pervious paving standards.”

Third, language that is directly inconsistent with the objective of minimizing water flow onto public ways or adjoining property should be removed. In Section 6.1.7, the zoning ordinance states that required offstreet parking facilities “shall be graded, surfaced with tar, asphalt, concrete, or other nondusting paving...” and refers explicitly in paragraph 2 to offstreet parking facilities as “impervious surfaces.” In other words, pervious or porous pavement is neither contemplated nor, it seems, allowed. By employing language that mandates impervious pavement – and a significant amount of it – on private residential and commercial lots, the ordinance seems to encourage rather than avoid high water flows “onto public ways and adjoining properties.” The most obvious necessary change is to remove the direct association between offstreet parking and impervious surfaces. Fourth, the ordinance should require pervious/ porous pavement be used for all offstreet parking in any new development in Lowell, as well as mandate incremental replacement of existing pavement with pervious surfacing as part of issuance of any permit for expansion or change of use of existing properties. This would be addressed through added language to Section 6.1.3, “Special Regulations”, as shown in Box 3. Fifth, specific reference should be made to Low Impact Design specifications in the environmental review guidelines for both driveway permit and special permit processes. Section 11.3.2a of the zoning ordinance, “Criteria for Special Permits in the Table of Uses”, specifies environmental criteria to be

Add to the bottom of paragraph 2:

BOX 4: EXAMPLE STORMWATER UTILITY Chicopee, MA implemented a successful stormwater utility management program in 1998. The city passed an ordinance aimed at assessing and then taxing the amount of stormwater generated by each property tied into the sewer system. The funds obtained from that were used to invest in best management practices and remediation measures to treat stormwater. As reported by the EPA, Chicopee conducted extensive research before instituting the stormwater ordinance, and residents said that they would be willing to pay a new fee for stormwater management if they were sure that the money would be used to address the problems directly affecting them. The ordinance was designed to address such concerns, and now the city collects between $400,000 - $550,000 a year to use on additional green infrastructure projects and to leverage state loan funding for sewer separation projects. In Lowell, the LRWU could collect fees based on the amounts of impervious pavement per property above a certain percentage impervious. This money could go into a pool that is used in greenscape development throughout the city. GREEN NEIGHBORHOOD INTERVENTIONS

71

Lowell, MA neighborhood plan for the Lower Highlands  

In the Fall of 2009, a team of graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning p...

Lowell, MA neighborhood plan for the Lower Highlands  

In the Fall of 2009, a team of graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning p...

Advertisement