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Planning Board to update town's outmoded zoning law

Date: 3/1/2011

March 2, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Managing Editor

AGAWAM — The Planning Board has enlisted the help of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to help bring Agawam's outdated zoning ordinance up to date.

Travis Ward, chair of the Planning Board, explained that some proposals for outdoor usage of land and other requests have caught the board off guard as zoning law has not been updated as a whole in decades.

"During the last 50 years, efforts to keep the Zoning Ordinance current have resulted in minor amendments and inclusion of new sections dealing with such timely topics as telecommunication, adult [entertainment] uses and large retail developments," according to a letter issued by the Planning Board. "This type of approach no longer adequately protects the interests of the town, nor adequately serves the needs of the citizens of this community."

The review is being funded by a $7,500 District Local Technical Assistant Grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, with a $350 contribution from the town, Jessica Allan, principal planner at the PVPC, noted.

"We'll be doing a comprehensive zoning review of their bylaws. We'll be looking at how their zoning law compares to the state law," she explained, adding that the PVPC will also look at how to "incorporate more smart growth principles and sustainability into their zoning."

Allan said the review must be completed by the end of the calendar year and will include with a public hearing for input and review.

Any changes to the Agawam's zoning law must be approved by the Town Council.

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