Double Counting for Density

January: a time of reflection and a time of resolutions.

Politically speaking 2016 was a near rerun of 1876.  In 2016 Clinton won by 2.9 million votes (1% of the vote) whereas Tilden beat Hays by 248,000 in 1876 (3% of the vote).  Most unusual.  In 1876 there were 37 states and 8 million votes cast.  In 2016 there were 50 states and 231.5 million votes cast.

When you think about it, if Trump had won the popular election and lost in the Electoral vote there would have been pockets of armed insurrection, 13 congressional investigations looking for voter fraud and another resurgence of the call for protection of 2nd Amendment rights.

If the Russians had favored Clinton there would be another 36 Benghazi type investigations, this time looking for international collusion and a conspiracy to undermine the Constitution.

My resolution is not to engage in debate with my conservative friends and family members who previously called me a Communist or Socialist dupe, a wacky liberal (I was never downgraded to Progressive) or other pejorative term.  I will not tease them or ask their opinions, nor will I try to convert them.  I will suffer them.

I have also been thinking of the opportunities to revive on old song and change a few words to “Ruben, Ruben, I’ve been thinking, what a grand world this would be if all Trump Supporters were transported far beyond the northern sea.”

On the other hand, that might not be politically correct and maybe we shouldn’t do it.

Speaking of political correctness, I was recently discussing how the Orr Block project would change the “complexion” of our village and I was admonished by a friend that the word complexion had racial overtones.  So, I have resolved not to use the word complexion in 2017 when describing physical characteristics of people or villages.  I will try to remember to use nature or character instead.

On another note, density control determines how many people can live on the same lot of land at the same time.  In a Newton Single Residence 1 zone, only one family is allowed to live on a lot containing 25, 000 square feet of land.

If that same lot was in a Business Use zone, the formula of one unit for each 1,200 square feet of land allows 21 families to live on the same size lot.

The issue of “density control” is complicated when applied to zoning districts that allow more than one use, such as a Mixed Use zoning district.

When applying a residential density formula in a Business Use or Mixed Use zone the question of double counting the land is a separate issue.  That is, allowing the developer to use some of the land for commercial purposes and then count that same land again when applying a density formula to determine the number of residential units that may be built on the site.

Korff’s density proposal of 1 family for each 725 square feet of land at the Orr Block project is achieved by use of a double count.  Under Korff’s proposed density of one family for each 725 square feet of land, 34 families plus one large store would be allowed on a 25,000 square foot lot.

If the land set aside for retail and commercial use were deducted from the total land area, Korff would need a density formula of 466 square feet per unit to build his proposed 161 units.  That formula would allow 54 families to live on that same 25,000 square foot lot.

Once the City Council grants a permit in Newtonville will it be able to deny the next developer’s request for a similar permit?  Will this density formula be coming to your village soon?

Peter F. Harrington

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