Citizen’s petition seeks to update zoning bylaws, add warehouse definitions


Citizen’s petition seeks to update zoning bylaws, add warehouse definitions
Drone photography shows the Intel property. One of the citizen petitions on the Town Meeting warrant would provide definitions for structures such as warehouses and fulfillment centers. (Photo/Tami White)

HUDSON — On the warrant for the annual Town Meeting is a citizen’s petition to provide clear definitions of structures such as warehouses and fulfillment centers in the zoning bylaws.

The Hudson Planning Board recently held a public hearing on the article.

Michael McCormack is the main proponent of the article, which was co-signed by 20 other residents who live on Autumn Drive, Strawberry Lane and Rotherham Way. He said the article was petitioned to address deficiencies that they saw with the current zoning bylaws.

“As far as we can find the last substantial update was 1957,” he said. “Lots of things have changed since 1957. Things that are commonplace now were not even thought of.”

According to a draft version of the warrant, the article would add definitions for a cold storage warehouse, parcel hub, fulfillment center, transload warehouse, standard warehouse and types of warehouse crossdecking.

There are distribution centers that could be extremely large in scale with “storage to the ceiling,” McCormack said.

Such centers operate 24-hours and all-year-round, he said, and the intent of the petition is to “add definitions to the current zoning bylaws that will define the types of warehouse.”

While it is in response to the proposed distribution warehouse at the former Intel property – which was met with resident concerns and later withdrawn – McCormack believed the definition contained will codify “exactly what is a warehouse versus a distribution center versus a sorting center versus a fulfillment center.”

The lack of definitions for each facility allows developers to say they are building one thing when they are really building something different, McCormack noted, “unless we really dig and dig and dig into their proposal.”

He added that the “citizen’s petition tends to address one area that’s a glaring deficiency in the current bylaw.” The definitions were drawn up by a resident who has worked in the distribution field for many years as a professional, McCormack said.

He said the aim is to begin the conversation around updating Hudson zoning bylaws since Intel will have future interests to develop the property.

Chair Robert D’Amelio recognized the hard work that went into the citizen’s petition and noted that typically the board votes to take no action. This does not mean they would not support it, as he said he would consider speaking in favor of the article at town meeting.

Of the zoning bylaws, D’Amelio said, “There’s a lot of things that need upgrading.”

Last summer, Intel confirmed that it planned to sell its 149-acre Hudson site. A couple of months later, developer Portman Industrial proposed building a 1.28 million-square-foot distribution warehouse. Since the project was proposed, it drew opposition and concerns from residents, particularly those who abutted the Intel property.

Portman ultimately withdrew the application in November.

The situation with the proposed warehouse highlighted the need to review different sections to “bring those up the 21st century,” according to D’Amelio.

The Planning Board voted to take no action on the Citizen’s Petition, which meant that it would “leave the decision-making to the Town Meeting,” as Director of Planning and Community Development Kristina Johnson said.

Hudson’s Town Meeting will take place on May 1 at Hudson High School at 7:30 p.m. The warrant can be found here.


Portman Industrial withdraws application for Intel redevelopment

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