Edit: Wednesday, June 27 at 9 p.m. — The article published below incorrectly states that an amenities package could potentially lessen the lot size necessary for development. An amenities package can be provided by a developer and agreed upon by town officials to decrease the density cap, or unit-per-acre total, within a proposed development and bypass the figure outlined in the town’s code.
The article also incorrectly states that the zoning change was finalized at the May 29 meeting. The zoning change was voted on and passed at the June 27 board meeting.
MILTON – The town board voted last Wednesday night to revise town code to require 20 acres as the necessary lot size for all proposed planned development districts – a change that means senior housing developments previously permitted to be constructed on lots as small as two-and-a-half acres will now require more space.
The change in code was in response to a proposal from the town’s planning board. Planned development districts (PDDs) are large-scale development projects of commercial or light-industrial complexes, residential apartments and senior housing. Previously, PDDs could be constructed for business or light industrial uses on lots of 15 contiguous acres, while residential PDDs were required to have 50 acres of land.
The decision made at Wednesday night’s meeting encompasses all PDD proposals, making 20 contiguous acres the new necessary lot size for developers interested in building in the town of Milton.
Wayne Howe, the town’s building inspector and zoning officer, explained at the meeting how the decision would “level the playing field” and that he “highly recommend[s] the adoption.”
“All of the big pieces in Milton have been built out and we wanted to leave flexibility for any 20 acre [lots remaining] … I really do feel that this is a fair shake for everybody and it eliminates the [possibility of] anyone taking advantage of the senior PDD, being the minimum two-and-a-half acres with no density cap.”
Resident Dorothy Christiansen spoke in favor of the board’s decision during a public comment period, calling the previous land requirement for senior housing “devastating,” saying that “this proposed change … is much better than what is in every other town surrounding us.”
In cases where developers wish to build on lots smaller than the newly outlined 20 acres, there are certain amenity packages that can be offered by the developer to bypass the 20-acre figure in certain circumstances.
Options include, but are not limited to, reserving an open space plan on the desired property, offering playing fields, parks and recreation for the general public, enhancing public utilities, offering low income housing, or cash payments to the town “for improvements or acquisition of public/community facilities,” per the new law.
The size of potential cash payments would be determined by the board and placed in a trust fund to be spent exclusively on town projects and amenities.
This change in code will take effect immediately, though previously built PDDs or those currently being constructed will not be affected by the change.
What do you think about this change to senior housing development? Let us know in the comment section below…