Town Meeting Roundup: Northborough

The next ‘Borough in our Town Meeting Roundup is Northborough, which holds its annual town meeting on Monday, April 23, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The 52-article warrant (posted here) saves some interesting items for the end:

Historic Building / Demolition Delay Bylaw Amendment:

Article 46 would amend Northborough’s Historic Buildings Bylaw by eliminating from its definition of “Significant Building” buildings listed on the Massachusetts Historical Commission Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Assets.  Under the amended definition, buildings that are 100 years old and either a) listed on the National Register of Historic Places, b) located in a town Historic District, or c) deemed historically significant by the Historical Commission, would qualify as Significant Buildings.

Northborough is one of many towns that use this type of non-zoning bylaw to impose a “demolition delay” period for historic structures subject to razing. In Northborough, the owner of a Significant Building must wait out a 180-day delay period before exercising a demolition permit.  The goal of such bylaws is usually to encourage the property owner to find a means of preserving the structure, through sale, relocation, or a modification of redevelopment plans.

Citizen Petitions – Rezoning: 

Articles 48 thru 51 would amend portions of the Zoning Bylaw pertaining to the Commercial and Industrial Districts, and Business District East. These four articles were placed on the warrant through citizen petitions, taking advantage of a statute that requires town officials to provide citizens with access to the warrant.

At an annual town meeting, all you need is a petition signed by 10 registered voters to propose a bylaw amendment, a spending request, or any other item of municipal business. Special town meeting petitions require 100 signatures. 

Getting those signatures is often the easy part. The hard part can be convincing your fellow citizen legislators to vote “aye.”

Northborough has an open town meeting, which means that any resident registered to vote as of Tuesday, April 3, can participate.

About Brian Falk

Brian is an attorney in Mirick O'Connell's Land Use and Environmental Law Group. In his municipal practice, he counsels towns and cities in all areas of municipal law. He also represents private clients in land use permitting matters and real estate transactions. Brian lives in Milford with his wife and three sons.
This entry was posted in Historic Preservation, Municipal, Northborough, Town Meeting, Zoning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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