Select Board proposes multi-family zoning to encourage development

Apr 25, 2017

Town Meeting voters will be asked to approve a zoning change that allows multi-family housing in general business districts this June.

The Select Board-sponsored change would expand multi-family housing opportunities in general business zones, specifically around State Road and Bliss Corner.

"We're looking into the future. We need to bring in economic development," said Selectman Stanley Mickelson. Town officials said they could not “hinge our hopes on retail.”

While the change would affect both neighborhoods, Select Board members said they wanted to target North Dartmouth — northerly of Old Westport Road to I-195, between Faunce Corner Road and the Westport line — specifically.

"It's more of a fit there [in North Dartmouth] than it is over in Bliss Corner," said Selectman Shawn McDonald.

The board will suggest the Planning Board create a new general business district for Bliss Corner to deter multi-family housing there. That measure would apply to a section of Dartmouth Street, near the Big Value Outlets, officials said. That proposal would appear before October Town Meeting.

Board members said that multi-family housing is the ideal sort of income because they don’t strain town resources.

"If there are places that take care of their own trash and don't add to the school system, it adds a lot more to the town," said Chairman Frank Gracie. He explained that two studies have found for each regular housing development, it costs the town $1.04 and only has a $1 return in taxes.

“With two-bedroom type housing, you don’t expect a lot of kids, which takes a load off the school system,” said Gracie via phone.

Companies would have to acquire 15 lots in order to propose developments, officials said.