NORTHFIELD — A proposed land-use ordinance that adds the classification residential business to the city’s master plan will be presented at the Oct. 9 City Council meeting.
Mayor Vince Mazzeo said the ordinance creates a zone that is less intense than commercial to protect the residential characteristics of Northfield.
The designation of residential business initially allowed for food stores as large as 3,000 square feet, tobacco stores and stands, and coin-operated laundries and dry cleaning. With the recommendation of City Council, the Planning Board removed that language before approving the ordinance Sept. 6 in a 8-0 vote with one abstention.
City Council amended the ordinance when it was introduced Aug. 28, saying those businesses would not match surrounding uses and would invite excessive traffic. Businesses approved under the ordinance include fast food restaurants, professional offices, florists, banks, studios, beauty and barber shops, and child-care services.
Residents opposed the ordinance when it was introduced, fearing that any new business would lower property values and increase traffic congestion. The ordinance addresses land use throughout the city, but residents at the meeting were particularly concerned about Shore Road between Casey and Golf View drives and Mill Road at Bay Drive.
The Planning Board calls for strictly residential zoning in those areas in the amended version of the ordinance it recommended. Originally, that stretch of Shore Road was going to be zoned residential business, and Mill Road at Bay Drive was going to be office professional. Both designations allow businesses to open near residences.
City officials stressed they did not want to alter Northfield’s character.
“I actually pulled the 1976 maps, and the area between Oakcrest and Shore was zoned commercial. I would like to see the characteristic of the area what it has been for the past 40 years (residential),” said Councilman Frank Perri, who voted against the ordinance at the Aug. 28 meeting.
Zoning would be adjusted in other areas, though. Shore Road at Oakcrest Avenue, for example, would go from residential to residential business. That is reversing a 40-year-old designation, if the new zoning is approved, Perri said.
The proposed ordinance also seeks to add modern terminology to the master plan.
Electronic message boards were discussed at the Aug. 28 meeting. Council recommended a minimum of three minutes of text displayed onscreen before it changes. Relevant terminology such as electronic message board and wind and solar energy systems would be added under the ordinance.
Contact Anjalee Khemlani: