Establish Town Center Overlay District that incorporates design

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					 Billerica Smart Growth
Mixed-Use Zoning Study

           Prepared By:
           Northern Middlesex Council of Governments
Study Purpose

   Assess the land use, infrastructure and economic impacts of
    creating mixed-use districts within selected areas of Billerica;
   Promote Smart Growth by encouraging the
    development/redevelopment of existing buildings and
    infrastructure capacity;
   Expand housing opportunities, and coordinate housing
    opportunities with jobs, services and transit; and
   Increase job opportunities by supporting new and existing
    businesses through possible incentives such as Tax
    Incremental Financing (TIF) and District Improvement
    Financing (DIF).
The Planning Process

   Project Advisory Committee was formed through seven
    community representatives from Town boards, committees, and
   With the input of the Project Advisory Committee, four study
    areas were identified as having potential for mixed-use zoning:
     – Route 3A from Bridge Street to Treble Cove Road;
     – Billerica Center from Andover Street to Tower Farm Road;
     – The former Kmart Warehouse property; and
     – North Billerica Historic Mill District.
Town Center Study Area
(Andover Road to Tower Farm Road)

   Complex area consisting of 58 parcels held by 47 different property
   Important due to its inclusion in an historic district.
   The study recommends the following:
     –   Establish a Town Center Overlay District that incorporates design
         standards to enhance the historic and civic characteristics of the
         Town Center;
     –   Utilize DIF funding to finance the Town Center Improvement Project
         and other municipal infrastructure improvements, including
         municipal parking;
     –   Tie together both sides of the Town Common by taking advantage of
         traffic accessing the library and Senior Center to help support local
         businesses; and
     –   Encourage mixed-use projects, such as structures with commercial
         activities on the first floor and affordable housing opportunities on
         the second floor.
Route 3A- Bridge Street to Treble Cove
Road Study Area

   Consists of 13 lots owned by 12 different
   Several parcels are presently underutilized
   No developable land remains in this area.
   The study recommends a slight revision to
    the current zoning bylaw to clearly state that
    residential and commercial uses are
    permitted on the same parcel.
KMart Warehouse Study Area

   The study area consists of the former warehouse and the adjacent
    parcels (8 parcels in total, controlled by 4 owners).
   The study recommends the following:
     – Utilize Economic Opportunity Area (EOA) status to attract a major
        high tech firm;
     – Consider whether the establishment of a mixed-use overlay district
        would provide additional incentives for developers to reuse the
        property as a combined high tech and residential area;
     – Identify and address any possible environmental limitations of the
        properties; and
     – Address traffic issues in the Salem Road/Pond Street area, as well
        as access to the identified parcels. Potential railroad access
        should also be taken into account.
North Billerica Historic Mill District Study Area

   The study area consists of the Faulkner and Talbot Mills,
    vacant land along the Concord River and the area around the
    North Billerica Commuter Rail Station (19 lots controlled by 9
   The study recommends the following:
     – Establish a Mill Conversion and Reuse Overlay District;
     – Explore options related to Transit Oriented Development;
     – Develop a specific plan to address any future business
       closings in the area.
Mill Conversion and Reuse
  Overlay District Bylaw
What Is a Zoning Overlay District ?

   Overlay zoning is designed to encourage additional uses or
    protect environmental and cultural resources not addressed in
    the base zoning.
   Creation of an overlay district maintains all of the uses allowed
    in the base zone, but may include additional uses not permitted
    under the base zoning.
   Provides greater flexibility in redeveloping or reusing existing
    structures and in developing vacant parcels.
   Overlay Zones are often formed to protect groundwater
    resources or historic properties or assets.
Purpose of the Mill Conversion
and Reuse Overlay District Bylaw

   Protect the neighborhood from loss of architecturally or
    historically important buildings, new construction not in
    character with the neighborhood, and alterations to existing
    buildings that would lessen their architectural significance.
   Facilitate and encourage the reuse of the North Billerica historic
    mill buildings in the event that a vacancy should occur.
   Promote diverse housing choices in the community.
   Provide flexibility in meeting the town’s housing and economic
    development goals through this additional development tool.
   Encourage sustainable, mixed-use development including
    transit-oriented development, in the area of the North Billerica
    commuter rail station.
Examples of Mill Conversion and Reuse
  Projects from Other Communities
  The Mill
 Princeton Street
North Chelmsford
Facts about The Mill in North Chelmsford

   Complex was originally established as a grist
    mill in 1695, and functioned as the Gilet Wool
    Scouring Mill until 1985.
   Redeveloped during the late 1980s as a
    mixed-use project containing 100,000 square
    feet of retail and office space, as well as
    market-rate residential condominiums.
Brookside Mill, Westford
Facts about the Brookside Mill
   Original structure was constructed in 1724 and used as a grist mill.
   Eventually the Town took possession of the mill for back taxes.
   The Westford Housing Authority, Westford Affordable Housing
    Committee, and the Board of Selectmen worked collaboratively to craft a
    redevelopment/reuse plan for the property.
   35 mixed-income condominiums have been constructed in the renovated
    mill structure.
   An existing frozen food storage warehouse located on the site remains in
   Voters appropriated monies at town meeting to buy down affordable units
    and DHCD awarded HOME funds for the project.
   The project was awarded a $480,000 Green Building and Infrastructure
    grant through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to restore on-
    site hydropower that will generate 100kW of power and supply the energy
    needs of the residential units.
Properties in the Proposed North Billerica
Mill Conversion and Reuse District

   Includes the Faulkner
    Mills and the Talbot Mill
    properties, plus
    adjacent parcels owned
    by Cambridge Tool and
    Company and the
    Faulkner Mills.
Special Permit Process

   Uses other than those allowed under the base zoning would
    require a Special Permit and Site Plan review.
   The Planning Board would serve as the Special Permit
    Granting Authority.
   When filing a permit application with the Planning Board, the
    applicant must also provide a copy of the application to the
    Town Manager, Board of Selectmen, Board of Health,
    Conservation Commission, Building Inspector, Fire Chief,
    Police Chief, Billerica Historic Districts Commission,
    Superintendent of Public Works and the Town Engineer.
Unique Elements of the Proposed
Mill Conversion and Reuse Bylaw

   Requires an historic analysis be prepared by a preservation
   Takes into account the area’s proximity to commuter rail; allows
    the Planning Board to reduce the number of required parking
    spaces providing it does not create congestion, a traffic hazard
    or a detriment to the neighborhood.
   Permits residential uses within the district.
   Allows the Planning Board to determine the maximum number
    of dwelling units based on criteria identified in the bylaw.
   Requires that twenty-five percent of the housing units be
    affordable for 30 years and be eligible for inclusion on the
    State’s Subsidized Housing Inventory.
Other Elements of the Proposed
Mill Conversion and Reuse Bylaw

   An existing building can be expanded,
    provided that the expansion is consistent
    with existing historic character and scale.
   New buildings may be constructed, provided
    they do not detract from the historical
    significance or character of the existing
    buildings, as determined by the Billerica
    Historic Districts Commission.
Next Steps

   10/05 – The Smart Growth PAC forwards the Mill
    Reuse and Conversion Bylaw proposal to the Zoning
    Bylaw Review Committee;
   Zoning Bylaw Review Committee refines the bylaw
    which is then forwarded to the Planning Board;
   The Planning Board conducts the appropriate public
    process and the Bylaw is placed on the warrant for
    Spring 2006 Town Meeting; and
   Town Meeting approves the Bylaw and it is
    forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for review.

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