Planning Board to host public hearing about possible zoning changes

Aug 12, 2020

Correction: This meeting has been postponed to September 10 because the agenda was improperly posted.

Correction: The “Hospitality, Recreation, and Entertainment” zoning proposal that could allow for the casino was originally on the docket for this meeting. Instead, it will be discussed at a future meeting dedicated exclusively to that proposal. The date for that meeting has not yet been set. 

The Wareham Planning Board will be hosting a public hearing on August 17 to allow members of the public to discuss and ask questions about the zoning changes slated for votes at the town’s fall Town Meeting.

A sweeping overhaul of the zoning of Wareham Village meant to make the area more attractive to developers will be discussed.

Smaller zoning changes would tweak the rules around drive-thrus, fix the town’s sign by-laws to comply with recommendations from the State Attorney General, and clarify to the definitions of multifamily housing.

A measure to reduce the setback from schools to allow Smithers labs to test marijuana in their facility near the John W. Decas School is also up for discussion.

The Wareham Village changes would allow taller buildings, mixed-uses (offices, stores, and apartments in one building), reduced parking requirements, and smaller lot sizes. The changes are meant to make the area one that is appealing to developers, and one where developers could easily make a profit.

Additionally, the town could allow developers to use the air rights over Merchants Way, allowing parking on the ground with buildings extending out over the street.

The hearing will be held in person in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the MultiService Center, 48 Marion Rd., at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 17.

All zoning changes need to be approved by 2/3 of voters at Town Meeting to go into place.