East End Smart Growth Overlay District (40R)


On September 27, 2023, City Council approved Ordinance 2023-005 to amend the Amesbury Zoning Ordinance and the Amesbury Overlay Zoning Map in order to establish a new Smart Growth Overlay District pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 40R and 760 CMR 59.00 that shall be known as the East End Smart Growth Overlay District (aka 40R).

The overarching goal of the East End Smart Growth Overlay District is to encourage a concentrated, mixed-use development along the existing commercial areas at the intersection of Route 110 and Clarks Road and Elm Street and to improve the transition between the commercial and residential neighborhoods. The adoption of a Smart Growth Overlay District gives the City more control over the process for creating well-designed, mixed-use development.

The Process

Designating a Smart Growth Overlay District was a lengthy process. The City first submitted a preliminary application to determine eligibility to the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The application required background reports on the status of the existing zoning, the potential build-out, and the capacity of the existing infrastructure (roadway, utilities and municipal services) to support new development. The City was also required to hold a public hearing to solicit comments on the proposed Smart Growth Overlay District as part of the designation process. As of July 2022, all of these requirements had been met and the City received a letter from DHCD stating that the amendment to create a general 40R Smart Growth Overlay District satisfied applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for preliminary eligibility. All of the documents can be found below. 

Pursuant to Ordinance 2023-005, the Amesbury Zoning Ordinance is amended to add the East End Smart Growth Overlay District to the Zoning Overlay Map and make certain revisions to the current zoning ordinance. The Planning Board recommendations and revised documents can be viewed below. 

Next Steps

The final zoning amendment as voted for adoption will be sent to Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), formerly known as DHCD, for final review and approval.

What is 40R

  1. Community Outreach
  2. Neighborhood Feedback

Neighborhood Meetings

The City held a series of neighborhood meetings to discuss the proposed zoning overlay district and get feedback from residents and other stakeholders. Meeting presentations and notes from each meeting are posted below.

East End Neighborhood District Presentation to Planning Board

East End Neighborhood Planning Workshop

  • Tuesday, March 30 | 6 to 8 pm
  • There was no presentation at this meeting

East End Neighborhood Meeting Number 3

East End Neighborhood Meeting Number 2

East End Neighborhood Meeting Number 1

East End Overlay District Public Hearing

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