2021 STM Draft Zoning Articles

Summary of Zoning Amendments for 

2021 Special Town Meeting

Updated September 29, 2021

The following is a brief summary of the Zoning Articles on the Warrant for the 2021 Special Town Meeting, scheduled for October 26, 2021.  Hard copies of the full text are available at the Planning Department at Town Hall during normal business hours, or can be viewed online via the Town website.  

  1. Article 11 - National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Provisions:  This Article includes amendments related to development within Flood Zones and are necessary to maintain the Town’s eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  This program is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and enables homeowners, businesses and renters in participating communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance.  Flood insurance is required for anyone in a Flood Zone with a bank mortgage backed by the federal government, such as through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  With 1,100 active flood insurance policies in the Town of Yarmouth, maintaining eligibility in the NFIP is critical for our community and will save our residents money on their flood insurance.   Although these are not new NFIP requirements, they need to be formally adopted into local bylaws or ordinances to retain all the financial benefits of being in the NFIP.  One item of note is the need to permit or have some type of formal review process for fences in a flood zone due to their potential to divert water flow and trap debris.  Currently, the Building Department only permits fences 7’ or higher, as required by the Building Code.  
  2. Article 12 - Zoning District Boundaries:  This Article addresses inconsistencies between the zoning boundaries shown on the Zoning Map and the written word within the Zoning Bylaw for the rear boundary limits of the B1 and B2 zoning districts.  These edits make the language in the Zoning Bylaw match the limits depicted on the Zoning Map, and outlines rules to follow should there be any uncertainty related to boundary limits.  These amendments do not modify the Zoning Map.
  3. Article 13 - Brewpubs:  This Article would expand business opportunities by allowing Brewpubs that produce beer, wine or hard cider beverages to be located within our B1/B2 commercial areas, as long as the product is manufactured for consumption and retail sale on the property, and not part of a larger manufacturing endeavor for off-site distribution. 
  4. Article 14 - Mobile Food Vendors:  This Article would expand business opportunities by allowing Mobile Food Vendors (food trucks) the opportunity to be located on town-owned land if approved by the Board of Selectmen through the Use of Town-Owned Property Application process.  Similar to restaurants, food trucks are currently an allowed Use in the B1/B2 business districts, but are not allowed in residential zoning districts.  As many of our beaches and parks are located in residential zones, this amendment would allow, from a zoning perspective, the ability to locate food trucks at these locations.  The Board of Selectmen and/or the Health Department may wish to develop further policies and procedures for implementation of this amendment. 
  5. Article 15 - Signs:  This Article clarifies that all business center signs shall have a maximum height of 12’, and simplifies the language for issuing Special Permit relief for signs by eliminating the reference to the sign needing to be “visually and aesthetically beneficial to the neighborhood”, which can be subjective and difficult for the Zoning Board of Appeals to evenly administer. 
  6. Article 16 - Rezoning of 1 Parcel:  This Article rezones a parcel located behind 125 Route 6a that contains the parking area for the existing business along Route 6a (formerly Bank of America and Dennis Partners, and currently vacant).  The two parcels serving this business have mixed zoning with B1 Business along Route 6a and residential in the parking area in the rear.   This Article may foster redevelopment by eliminating the complications and restrictions associated with mixed zoning by rezoning the rear parcel to B1 Business.    
  7. Article 17 - Body Art Establishments:  This Article would expand business opportunities by allowing Body Art Establishments that provide tattooing and cosmetic tattooing to be located within the commercial corridor along Route 28.  This amendment would provide these businesses with the same opportunities provided to other personal care services such as hair salons and spas, rather than limiting them to the adult entertainment district.