With Whately Planning Board approval, zoning changes move on to Town Meeting

Staff Writer
Published: 5/3/2021 7:57:49 PM

WHATELY — The Planning Board has approved three zoning bylaw changes, moving them forward to be included on the warrant for Annual Town Meeting in June.

At a virtual public hearing Tuesday night, the Planning Board voted to change the zoning bylaws to:

■Require the submission of digital files for site plan reviews — in an effort to reduce paper copies required — and adding the Agricultural Commission to the list of town boards that receive the plans.

■Add a definition of marijuana cultivation and clarify that the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board have the authority to hire experts to monitor and inspect marijuana facilities after they open.

■Amend the requirement that accessory dwelling units be part of an existing structure, allowing them as new structures of no more than 600 square feet.

The proposed changes were approved after a brief discussion among board members. No members of the public were present.

“I sent specific invitations to the Housing Committee, pointing out the change in the accessory apartments, and I sent a notice to the Ag Commission … and to the Selectboard to say we’re doing this, and obviously everybody is content,” commented member Judy Markland.

A separate hearing was held the same night on a request by owner Walt Thayer to rezone his parcel of land on Egypt Road from the Agricultural/Residential 1 District to the Commercial District.

The property, which is located by the railroad, would be used by an interested buyer, JD Ross, who wants to move his residential construction company to the property.

“If JD decides to sell his property, it could be used for something else,” Markland said. “We obviously want to think about the current use, but it’s a more substantive change than just a site plan review.”

She noted that the property, which is about 1.7 acres — less than an acre of which Ross said is buildable — is adjacent to commercial property.

“I anticipate a building I am going to have my equipment in, tool storage,” Ross said. “All my material is delivered to job sites.”

After a brief discussion, the Planning Board closed the public hearing, given no objections were raised to the proposed zoning change.

The proposed changes — to both the bylaws and to the Egypt Road parcel’s zoning — will require approval from Annual Town Meeting voters on June 15.


Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

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