An amendment to section § 350-3.4 of the City Ordinances has been brought to the Northampton City Council at the recommendation of the Planning Board to change the floodplain zoning areas so that all floodplain areas and flood hazard areas are treated equally throughout the city. This is attempt to implement Sustainable Northampton and make things easier the public. These changes are modifications to an existing zoning district that has been in the ordinance since the 1970s.
As things stand currently, all floodplains along the Connecticut River as defined as Special Conservancy, and those not part of the Connecticut River are defined as Watershed Protection. The amendment requests all floodplain areas to be zoned as Special Conservancy, so that all floodplain areas are treated equally. Homeowners are currently required to obtain 3 different permit reviews for expansions of their homes. If this amendment is passed, this would reduce the number of permits to two.
Photo courtesy of Dougtone via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.