Special Permit Criteria

Special Permit Criteria*

The Board may grant a special permit (subject to conditions it may impose)  when, in its judgment, the public convenience and welfare will be served. The Board must find that the application meets all the following criteria:

  1. The specific site is an appropriate location for the proposed use and structure;
  2. The use as developed and operated will not adversely affect the neighborhood;
  3. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians;
  4. Access to the site over streets is appropriate for the types and numbers of vehicles involved;
  5. The site planning, building design, construction, maintenance or long-term operation of the premises will contribute significantly to the efficient use and conservation of natural resources and energy; and
  6. Literal compliance with the parking requirements of the Newton Zoning Ordinance is impracticable due to the nature of the use, or the location, size, width, depth, shape, or grade of the lot, or that such exceptions would be in the public interest or in the interest of safety or protection of environmental features.

Whenever an application for a special permit is required, site plan approval is also required, and may be made concurrently. The Board may consider the application in light of the following site plan approval criteria:

  1. Convenience and safety of vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and in relation to adjacent streets, properties or improvements, including regulation of the number, design and location of access driveways and the location and design of handicapped parking. The sharing of access driveways by adjoining sites is to be encouraged wherever feasible;
  2. Adequacy of the methods for disposal of sewage, refuse and other wastes and of the methods of regulating surface water drainage;
  3. Provision for off-street loading and unloading of vehicles incidental to the servicing of the buildings and relates uses on the site;
  4. Screening of parking areas and structures on the site from adjoining premises or from the street by walls, fences, plantings or other means. Location of parking between the street and existing or proposed structures shall be discouraged;
  5. Avoidance of major topographical changes; tree and soil removal shall be minimized and any topographic changes shall be in keeping with the appearance of neighboring developed areas;
  6. Location of utility service lines underground wherever possible. Consideration of site design, including the location and configuration of structures and the relationship of the site’s structures to nearby structures in terms of major design elements including scale, materials, color, roof and cornice lines; and
  7. Avoidance of the removal or disruption of historic resources on or off-site. Historical resources as used herein include designated historical structures or sites, historical architectural elements or archaeological sites.

Additionally, the Board must make the following findings that are required for the Mixed Use 4 District:

  1. That the proposed use will encourage an active, pedestrian-oriented streetscape throughout the day and week;
  2. That the proposed use fills a demonstrated need for the use within the vicinity; and
  3. That the proposed use is not inconsistent with the purposes of Section 30-13(h)(1) of the Revised Ordinances or the Newton Comprehensive Plan.

The City’s Planning and Law Departments will draft a Board Order including any necessary findings and conditions for the approval or denial of this project later this fall for the review of the Committee and Board.

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