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Carver ReDevelopment Authority

Town Hall

108 Main Street

Caver, MA 02330

ZONING BYLAW CHANGE QUESTIONS


1.    Who has proposed these zoning amendments? 
 
Summary - The Carver Planning Board, in conjunction with the Carver Redevelopment Authority (RDA), is the sponsor of the Articles on the Town Meeting Warrant.
 
Details - The Carver Planning Board and the Carver Redevelopment Authority (RDA)* are sponsoring zoning and general bylaw amendments to encourage private investment, beneficial economic development activity and revitalization of blighted and underutilized properties located between Routes 44 and 58. These zoning changes are a key part of a strategic planning process begun over 20-years ago.
 
These amendments will encourage private investment, attract quality users, maximize community benefits and are vital to the revitalization of this long-blighted area.
 
Town Meeting will be voting on these zoning amendments on April 12, 2022. 
 
*The Carver Redevelopment Authority (RDA) is an elected board of Carver residents who are charged with promoting smart economic development and revitalization projects in the best interests of Town residents. Route 44 Development (Rt. 44), the current landowners, join the Town of Carver in support of the project. The RDA and Rt. 44 entered into a development agreement to redevelop the property in accordance with the Urban Renewal Plan. 
 
2.    What does a Yes vote mean? 
 
Summary – A “Yes” vote will allow for a state-of-the-art facility which will provide the greatest benefits for the Town of Carver.
 
Details - A “yes” vote will be the culmination of a decades long and careful planning process targeting the cleanup and revitalization of this area. The amendments are designed to update the Green Business Park area, allowing it to encourage investment for Modern Class A facilities that will attract best in class tenants, better jobs, and higher quality investments in our community.
 
It is very important to remember that the passage of these zoning and other amendments does not mean a project is a done deal.  Approval of the amendments will simply allow the developer to propose a project to the Town for review and multiple approvals. Before any project can become a reality, there will be even more extensive public meetings, reviews and hearings as the project must go through a rigorous federal, state and local review process. 
 
Once approved, the Town will be able to consider the proposal for the area with a focus on maximizing community benefits, preserving community character, and generating sustainable jobs and commercial tax revenue.  
 
3.    What does a NO vote mean? 
 
Summary – A “no” vote will only limit the development of the area to projects that comply with bylaws currently in effect.
 
Details - A “no” vote will not prevent development of the Renewal Area but will significantly limit opportunities the Town can consider. There are a number of uses that can be built “by-right” under existing zoning. These uses require no action by Town meeting including:
 
- “Big Box” Retail Establishments 
- Hotels/Motels
- Self-Storage Facilities
- Manufacturing & Processing Plants 
- Warehouse or Distribution Centers
- High Density Housing (Including 40B with Special Permit)
- More ground mounted solar facilities
- And Others
 
4.    What public meetings, hearings or reviews have already happened?
 
Summary - There have been many public meetings and hearings regarding this project involving the Planning Board, the Redevelopment Authority, Conservation Commission and others– and they continue to this day.
 
Details - There has been an extensive public dialogue concerning this problematic area since initial work on the 2001 Master Plan* over 20 years ago. The CRA began an ongoing series of meetings focusing on this issue in 2015 which included public hearings, joint meetings with the Selectmen, extensive public input and votes approving the redevelopment plan by both the Selectmen and the CRA. It is very important to remember that the passage of these zoning and other amendments does not mean a project is a done deal.  Approval of the amendments will simply allow the developer to propose a project to the Town for review and multiple approvals. Before any project can become a reality, there will be even more extensive public meetings, reviews and hearings as the project must go through a rigorous federal, state and local review process.
 
*The Town’s 2001 Master Plan, “the Town identified the Route 44 Corridor as one of seven priority areas for economic development.  The Plan indicated that the area along Route 44 is a viable site for warehouse wholesale distribution because of its convenient access to the regional highway network.  The Master Plan recommended that the Town establish and adopt an economic development strategy for the Route 44 Corridor targeting commercial properties in the area.”
 
5.    If approved, who would be the tenant?
 
Summary - The tenant is not known at this time.
 
Details - The proposed zoning amendments relate only to site use. It is too early in the process for a tenant to declare an interest. The approval of the proposed amendments at the Annual Town Meeting will determine what type of use and structures can be proposed on the site. The developer cannot market the facility to potential tenants until the proposed zoning and other amendments are approved. There is still an extensive local, state and federal review and approval process before any project can move forward to construction.
 
6.     What does the project consist of?

Summary – Two distribution warehouses and associated parking areas.

Details - Two buildings, one at 1.2 million square feet and a second one at 600,000 square feet. A water tower is also proposed to provide water to the facility for fire suppression and for the benefit of the North Carver Water District public infrastructure that serves the Town.  
 
A MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) study determined that the 301 acre site is suitable for 1.8 million square feet of enclosed space, based on many factors including space, environment, traffic, and infrastructure. This proposal (and any other) must be designed to make the most use of the allowable space. The water tower will most likely be town-owned and will draw water from the North Carver Water District. It will provide water not only for the new facility but will tie into the current North Carver water lines and provide improved water pressure and added reliability for Carver customers.
 
7.    Why increase the height to 65 feet?
 
Summary - The developer wants to increase the height to take advantage of state-of-the-art distribution technology and allow for state-mandated rooftop solar panels.
 
Details - State-of-the-art racking technology, which allows for a more, efficient method of retrieving warehoused merchandise, needs an “clear height” (from floor to ceiling) of 40 feet. Above the 40-foot-high racking system would be the supports for the ceiling and roof, and above that all mechanical (HVAC) equipment, as well as solar panels, which are mandated by the Commonwealth. The developer has indicated conceptually the highest point of the structure will likely be approximately 55’.
 
8.    Why change the road width?
 
Summary - Widening the road will improve traffic conditions and site access.  
 
Details - The current zoning bylaw states that roads need to be 24 feet wide – no more, no less. The developer is asking that the bylaw be changed to indicate that 24 feet in width becomes the minimum width, allowing for widening of the roads at certain points.
 
9.    Why raise the height of the parking lot lamps?
 
Summary - A taller lamp height results in the need for fewer light fixtures, which in turn uses less power.
 
Details - The current zoning only allows for light poles to be 20 feet high. By raising the light pole height to 40 feet, the developer can reduce the number of site light poles by approximately 300%.
 
10.    Will the lights prevent light pollution?

 
Summary - Yes. The lighting will include downward-facing fixtures.
 
Details - The light fixtures will be shielded, downward-facing structures that will prevent light “trespass.” 
 
11.    Why change the zoning bylaws regarding large-scale solar arrays?
 
Summary - The size of the solar array needs to be changed to meet state regulations.
 
Details - The designation of this parcel as a Green Business District means that certain environmental considerations be met, such as re-using rainwater, energy-efficient lighting, and solar power. The proposed rooftop solar arrays on the two buildings exceed the solar by-law maximums. This by-law will need to be adopted regardless of what project ends up in this space.
 
12.    Why amend the “accessory structure” by-law?
 
Summary - The new water tank/tower needs to be 125 feet high to ensure there is enough water pressure for fire suppression and for the residents of North Carver currently on town water. 
 
Details - The current by-law allows for a water tower of any height if it is a “municipal structure” (owned by the Town of Carver.) Since ownership of the water tower has not been decided yet, the developer wants to ensure there is language that allows the full height in case the Town of Carver does not take ownership.
 
 
13.    What’s going to happen with the already congested intersection of 44 and 58?
 
Summary - This area of roadway will undergo significant improvement that will not only mitigate the impact of traffic from the project, but also improve driving conditions for citizens of (and visitors to) the Town of Carver.
 
14.    Can access to Route 58 and/or any other local streets be limited?

Summary - The Town and the Carver Redevelopment Authority are working with Hillwood to minimize the traffic on Route 58 and local streets, especially at night.
 
Details - Because of the size of this project, the Carver Planning Board will need to issue a special permit. One of the conditions of the permit may be to mandate that the tenant direct all truck traffic to Route 44 eastbound and westbound. This could be monitored with the use of GPS trackers in the trucks.

15. Was eminent domain used to acquire the property?

Summary - No. Eminent domain was not used to acquire any properties

associated with this project.

Details - All parcels that are currently part of the North Carver Project were

purchased by the developer at fair market value or above. All previous owners

negotiated agreements that were honest, open, and just.

* These answers are provided by the Carver ReDevelopment Authority as of 12/16/21

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