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January 29, 2014

Town Meeting to tackle zoning, medical pot districts

DANVERS — Special Town Meeting is being asked to create zones at two industrial parks where medical pot facilities would be allowed to operate someday.

The meeting Monday could also boost the fortunes of the Tapleyville neighborhood with new zoning rules written by the Planning Board for an old industrial area along Holten Street.

The overlay zoning would allow for a mix of homes, stores, offices, repair services and restaurants. It’s seen as a model that could be used to revitalize downtown Danvers in the future, the town’s senior planner said.

Special Town Meeting gets underway Monday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m., at Danvers High School auditorium. It’s a heavy agenda of 22 articles, most of them related to zoning.

The Tapleyville industrial zone is bounded by the Danvers Rail Trail to the south, Holten Street to the north and Pine Street to the east. The new overlay zone would promote small to mid-sized businesses, as well as housing, and both bicycle and pedestrian access.

The changes would allow for commercial businesses on the ground floor and residences above, similar to the town’s waterfront village district, which was approved in 2010.

Senior Planner Kate Day said the town worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to take a look at a stretch of Holten Street in Tapleyville, an area that Day said has transitioned from industrial to a mix of residences and commercial uses.

The catalyst for this change has been the construction of a new building at the site of a former Methodist church at 78 Holten St., which will have a cafe on the ground floor and six units of housing above.

“It certainly refreshed the look of the area,” Day said. The new zoning rules are an overlay, meaning the present industrial zoning still applies.

In another article, Town Meeting will be asked to designate two areas where medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed. This article stems from the passage of a statewide ballot question in November 2012 approving medical marijuana facilities. Last year, Town Meeting approved a one-year moratorium on such facilities to give the town time to come up with appropriate regulations.

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