Cambridge Exposed... It's not pretty! -- part 2

Cambridge Exposed... It's not pretty! -- part 2

Let's dive into the second installment of my small serie... i'm a day late... or am I? Anyway, today I want to cover the process, what is a rezoning petition, how does the city handle such request and what is our role in this process.

What is a rezoning petition?
A. What is zoning?
Zoning is a term used in urban planning for a system of land-use regulation in various parts of the world, including North America,[1] the United Kingdom,[2] and Australia. The word is derived from the practice of designating permitted uses of land based on mapped zones which separate one set of land uses from another. Zoning may be use-based (regulating the uses to which land may be put), or it may regulate building height, lot coverage, and similar characteristics, or some combination of these.
(For a full explanation click here)
In the city of Cambridge zoning regulations are the responsibility of the City Council.

B. What is rezoning?
Rezoning is the process of changing the zoning classification on a particular piece of property. Rezoning can be done the property owner, interested parties (such as a
buyer), or the Town can rezone a specific piece of property. If a property owner wants to develop or use the property for a use not currently permitted by zonin classifications, he files a rezoning petition.

C. The rezoning process:

  1. The petitioner (usually property owner), based on current zoning decide if rezoning is require, if so requests and submits a petition to city.
  2. The city notifies the neighborhood affected by the proposed petition.
  3. The planning board meets to review the petition at a public hearing.
    (The Planning Board is composed of appointed citizen representative in charge of reviewing the rezoning petitions, subdivision regulations and community plans. After review of the impact of the petition, it will issue a pro or con recommendation to the City Council. The Planning Board is not a decision making body.)
  4. Public Hearings are held by the Ordinance sub-committee. During these hearing, the sub-committee will hear the public comments (pros and cons) on the proposed rezoning and discuss it amongst themselves.
  5. The Ordinance committee puts the petition on the agenda of the city Council for consideration.
  6. At the next meeting of the city Council the councilors vote to approve or deny the petition.

D. Our role in the process:
Very simple: participate! make sure we keep ourselves informed. Inform our fellow neighbors and our city Councilors of the pros and cons. Make sure our concerns our taken into account. Make sure our city councilors vote with a vision of the future where we are the main actors not the mighty dollar.

Well I'll leave it at that for today... work is calling... I must obey... ;)

PS: My feeble attempt, here above, to explain the rezoning process might contain errors, if you notice one, please let me know... thx