SECTION IV: USE REGULATIONS
See also Aquifer Protection District (Sect. IV L) Floodplain District (Sect. IVM), and River Protection District (IV P).
N: Context-Sensitive Developments
(ATM 05/07/2007) (Formerly known as OPEN SPACE COMMUNITIES) (adopted 5/9/88)
General Description and Purposes:
A Context-sensitive development (henceforth “CSD”) is a single-family development which may be allowed under this section. The primary purpose of this section is to retain the traditional rural character of the Town by allowing creative design that takes into account the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood and preserves and enhances those characteristics. The secondary purpose is to encourage the permanent preservation of open space for agricultural, recreational, or conservation purposes. This section shall be applied in addition to the Subdivision Rules and Regulations (henceforth, “the Rules”) of the Town of Huntington for eligible developments. This section sets out additional provisions that are intended to be used in conjunction with those in the Rules to encourage future developers to build residential developments in a manner that will preserve the rural characteristics associated with the Town of Huntington. This section, except as specifically provided herein, may not allow a development that would be inconsistent with that permitted under the Rules.
- Procedures: These procedures apply to all applications for approval of a new subdivision under the Rules.
- A preliminary plan is required for an CSD proposal. The preliminary plan is intended to identify potential issues prior to the development of the definitive plan, both for the benefit of the developer and the Planning Board. As described in the Rules, a preliminary plan can be quite rudimentary, but there should be sufficient documentation (maps, etc.) to make a preliminary determination of appropriateness of a CSD on the proposed site. Any determination resulting from a preliminary plan is subject to change, pending examination of the definitive plan and subsequent site visits.
- A definitive plan for a CSD may, where appropriate to the surrounding neighborhood, allow for increased housing density. This increase in density may be in the form of reduction in set-back requirements and/or in frontage requirements. Increased density of a CSD shall not allow any decrease in combined total acreage for the houses proposed, although it may allow, under certain circumstances, for a reduction in acreage deeded per house (see subsection 4, below).
- In drawing up a definitive plan for a CSD, the developer should, in consultation with the Planning Board, determine the local conditions of the neighborhood in which the proposed development will be located, regarding frontage and set-back. The Planning Board may allow relaxation of set-back, frontage or both , and resulting increased housing density, only if it finds that the proposal meets all the requirements set forth below and is consistent with the purposes of this section, as set forth in subsection 1, above. The burden shall be on the developer to demonstrate that any proposed increase in density is consistent with the neighborhood or that adherence to dimensional requirements would be incongruous with the neighborhood. The Planning Board shall require that all dimensional requirements set forth in theses bylaws be adhered to, unless it has been proven by the developer that the proposal is in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood and in the best interests of the Town.
- The submission requirements for a CSD are the same as for any subdivision and are detailed in the Rules.
- General Requirements:
- Any CSD shall be restricted to single-family dwellings, with deed restrictions placed on each lot prohibiting the right to special permit for a multi-family dwelling. The right to apply for a special permit for an AFDU (Accessory Family Dwelling Unit) shall remain intact.
- The total 'effective area' of the parcel (prior to subdivision) which is proposed for the CSD shall be at least 5 acres, and the parcel must be in single ownership or control at the time of application. If the parcel is not in single ownership, the owners must designate a single person to act on behalf of all the owners regarding the CSD development. ‘Effective area’ of the parcel shall mean the total area less the area shown on the definitive plan as wetland and/or as having a slope of 25% or more.
- Open Space Area:
- The applicant may propose that a certain portion of the total parcel be designated as open space for recreation and conservation, or for agricultural uses (“the Open Space Area”). With the approval of the Planning Board, the Open Space Area may be subtracted from the required area of the proposed residential lots, resulting in smaller lots being created than would be required in the zoning district in which the proposed CSD is located. In approving such plan, the Planning Board must find that the combined area of the residential lots and the designated Open Space Area is equal to or greater than the area that is required in the district for an equivalent number of residential lots under the Town’s Zoning Bylaw, Appendix A, Table of Dimensional Requirements, and the Regulations
Traditional -- Ten house lots in R-45 requires 45,000 sq.fot.X10 (450,000 sq. ft.).
CSD in R-45 -- Ten house lots at an average of 30,000 sq. ft. (300,000 sq. ft.) plus 150,000 sq. ft. of designated open space = 450,000 sq. ft.
This reduction in area may be combined with a reduction in required frontage and/or setback, as long as the Planning Board finds that the requirements laid out in subsection 2c (above) have been met. In no case shall the area of any residential lot be smaller than 25,000 sq. ft.
- Except for roads shown on the site plan and common utility facilities such as piping associated with public water supply or extensions to the Town sewer system servicing the development thereto, the entire Open Space Area shall be preserved permanently, in an open or natural state, for recreation, conservation, or for agricultural uses. Built features such as swimming pools or tennis courts are prohibited on open space designated for recreational use. Other uses and small structures shall be permitted only as accessory to recreation, conservation or agriculture. Further division or subdivision of the Open Space Area shall be prohibited.
- The Open Space Area shall be preserved as such by means of a permanent conservation or agricultural restriction and conveyed to one of the following:
- The association of homeowners of the lots in the CSD (see the Rules).
- A non-profit organization, such as a land trust, the principal purpose of which is the conservation or preservation of open space or agricultural land.
- The Town, at no cost to it, and accepted by it for a park or open space use at a Town Meeting.
- If the Open Space Area is not conveyed to the Town, a restriction enforceable by the Town shall be recorded to ensure that such land be kept in an open or natural state or for agricultural uses and not developed for residential use or uses accessory thereto, such as parking or roadways. Such restrictions shall also provide for maintenance of Open Space Area in a manner suitable to its use, proper maintenance of drainage, utilities, appearance, and cleanliness. (ATM 05/07/2007)