Municipal and Religious Special Permit

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Zoning AMendment UPDATE

The Municipal and Religious Reuse Special Permit zoning amendment will be discussed at a joint public hearing on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 6:00 PM. The hearing will be held in the City Council Chambers and all members of the public are welcome to speak.

Municipal and religious special Permit background

Over a year ago, the Archdiocese reached out to the City Council to inform the Council they do not have a use for their school buildings at Immaculate Conception and St. James and would like to see the buildings reused as housing.

However, the school buildings at Immaculate Conception and St. James are in zoning districts that do not allow multifamily homes.

The City’s former Council on Aging building at 5 Broad Street has been declared surplus and a developer has been chosen by the City Council to convert the building into housing- this building has the same issue, it is in a zoning district that does not allow multifamily homes.

There is no permitting path in the zoning ordinance to allow the above mentioned buildings to be reconverted into multifamily homes.

The proposed ordinance would allow for old Municipal Buildings and Religious Buildings that are no longer serving their prior use to be adaptively reused into multifamily homes.

The first version of the ordinance proposed an overlay on the zoning map. This version was rejected by the City Council by a vote of 7 in favor and 4 against (a super-majority of 8 favorable votes is necessary to change zoning).

On May 9th a zoning amendment for a “Municipal and Religious Special Permit” was been submitted to the City Council.

Since the May 7 submission of the zoning amendment for the Municipal and Religious Reuse Special Permit, the City have been working with members of the community, including Historic Salem Inc., to answer questions and address concerns. On June 12, 2019 Planning Director, Tom Daniel compiled a set of modifications to the ordinance.