SPECIAL TOWN MEETINGAPPROVES ZONING CHANGE
A key zoning change supported by the Madaket Residents Association as well as the Madaket Conservation Association was adopted by the voters attending the Special Town Meeting on November 4, 2013.
Warrant Article 4, which required a two‐thirds vote for passage, was approved by a unanimous vote. Both MRA and MCA contacted members urging their attendance and support of Article 4; consequently, there was a large number of Madaket voters among the approximately 260 people present. Although Article 4 was called for debate (rather than being considered with several non‐controversial articles in a single aggregate motion), there was no discussion. There was one question from a voter about the differences between the two zoning districts, but no opponents emerged, and the Article passed.
The MRA Board of Directors supported Article 4, which amends the zoning map by placing 78 parcels of land in the southwest quarter of Nantucket into the Moorlands Management District (MMD). The 1,100 acres were zoned as Limited Use General 3 (LUG‐3) with minimum sized lots of about 3 acres and allowing for a second dwelling on each lot. Now the land is zoned MMD, which requires 10 acre minimums, a smaller footprint for houses and does not allow second dwellings. The rezoning does not include private properties in the Sheep Pond Road area.
While most of the affected parcels are already preserved as open space and owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation or the Land Bank, there are 92 acres of open space just over the Long Pond/Massasoit Bridge (the FAA Land) with a potential for development. This tract of surplus federal property is in the custody of the General Services Administration and, failing the Town’s ongoing efforts to acquire the land, could be sold to the highest bidder.
If developers were to purchase the 92 acres, the new MMR zoning means considerably fewer and smaller homes could be built at the Head of the Plains, rather than the 55 houses allowed under the old LUG‐3 zoning. The MRA, local conservation organizations, and supportive residents will continue working to keep the FAA parcel as open land with no development. But the MMR Zoning now provides a level of protection for the land that contains rare species and habitats, and is valued by Madaket residents as open space.