Berkshire Bylaw Updates - About the Study

The Town of Berkshire Zoning Bylaw Update Project is focused on making comprehensive edits to better implement and conform to the Town Plan and state statute, including considering changes to the Rural District based on an analysis of its effectiveness in meeting planning goals for development patterns, growth management and agricultural land and forestland protection.

The Planning Commission has been meeting once a month to review the zoning bylaws and discuss proposed edits. A list of edits and discussion items that the Planning Commission is using as a guide to the update project can be access here.

The Planning Commission heard a presentation on growth and its impacts on the school from the school board. Their presentation can be accessed here and on the Project Files page. This presentation added context to the discussions on zoning district standards in the Rural District and the potential impact on growth rates, patterns and community facilities.

The Northwest Regional Planning Commission conducted a development potential analysis and a buildout analysis of the Town to aid the discussion on making changes to the Rural District standards.

Growth and Development Potential Analysis
This analysis determines development potential based on natural constraints to development and local preservation goals. Selected natural features are weighted and layered using a GIS. Scores for land areas are totaled, grouped, and color coded; the result showing three categories for different levels of constraint. The development constraints analysis provides a general picture of land areas that may have varying degrees of development capacity, which is useful for planning purposes.

Build Out Analysis
A Build Out Analysis software identifies projected residential growth according to existing zoning regulations and resources based features that apply in the municipality. The build out analysis provides a map and tabular data showing which parcels in the community, in part, are built out, which are restricted from development, and identifies the maximum number of potential residential units.

This process is intended to better enable communities to understand growth influences, rates, and patterns, and the potential benefits and consequences of their zoning regulations. Further, both analysis are intended for planning purposes only.

The results of the these analyses can be viewed in a PowerPoint presentation available here and on the Project Files page.

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