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South Hadley vote mixed on zoning

Voters rejected three of the 10 proposed zoning amendments, including one that would have increased maximum building heights in some business districts to allow more commercial and residential projects, or “mixed-use development.” That failed to meet the necessary two-thirds vote.

About 80 residents attended the three-hour meeting.

Voters also rejected a measure to establish a subsection in the town’s zoning bylaws requiring developments of 10 or more dwellings to provide affordable housing units or pay a fee into an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Opponents said the measure did not provide sufficient incentives for developers to build affordable housing.

The third article that was rejected would have established separate density limits for a “multi-family dwelling” and a development with more than one building on a lot. The article also proposed better protection of public access to open space.

Several voters said that while they agreed with the Planning Board’s goals, the article was too vague and confusing to be effective.

Approved by a two-thirds vote was a measure making more flexible regulations for off-street parking in an effort to decrease the visual impact of parking lots.

And voters unanimously passed measures to establish a South Hadley Falls Overlay District, as well as to create a South Hadley Municipal Affordable Trust Fund.

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