In late 2022 we received early Technical Assistance from the Mass Housing Partnership (MHP) and their consulting team in order to test our existing zoning districts for both compliance and unit capacity. They analyzed the existing zones that allow multi-family by-right and determined that none of them currently meet the density and acreage requirements. Their analysis and recommendations are summarized in this memo.
In January 2023 the Town submitted the required Action Plan to remain in interim compliance to plan the revisions to our Zoning Bylaw. Our Action Plan was approved.
We ran Phase 1 of our public education and engagement process from June until early September 2023. During the first stage of our process, staff opened and advertised our survey on multi-family housing options. Staff attended a variety of community events and Board and Committee meetings (full list at the bottom of the page) to publicize the process and answer preliminary questions.
Phase 2 of our process was our Knowledge Session series of events which took place from September through November, all slides and recordings from those events can be accessed under our prior events section further down the page. We presented on the history of zoning in Reading, the survey results, district controls, our preliminary district concept, and received feedback on our proposed dimensional controls and district boundaries.
Our compliance proposal was finalized and brought forth in Phase 3 in a formal CPDC Public Hearing process, as required to take it to April Town Meeting. The outcome of that series of formal Public Hearings held from December 2023 to February 2024 was the request to have staff fully analyze suggested alternatives in order to be able to make a full comparison with the existing proposal. In deciding to review these alternatives in detail, no proposal will be brought to Town Meeting in April 2024.
The agreed upon alternative options are currently being vetted by staff in Phase 4 of our process.
Phase 5 will open in late Spring/Summer 2024 as those fully analyzed alternatives will be presented for comparison, with the intention of choosing one to take to Town Meeting in Fall 2024, ahead of our end of 2024 deadline.