WOONSOCKET – Zoning: It’s not exactly a subject that captures the imagination, at least not until somebody starts building a gas station next door to your house.
But there’s no time like the present to get interested, because the city is in the midst of the most sweeping effort in years to rezone city lands – maybe yours.
Normally, the city is required to notify abutters when someone applies for a zone change to use a parcel for a purpose other than what’s permitted under the zoning ordinance. The latest effort is associated with an update of a document known as the comprehensive plan, a broad statement for land use goals that’s required by the state.
“Because this effort is part of the comprehensive plan, we don’t have to notify abutters,” says City Planner Jennifer Siciliano. “That means people could have their zone changed without knowing about it.”
The first in a series of public meetings about the effort is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Woonsocket Harris Public Library. All told, some “30 groups” of real estate – dozens and dozens of parcels in all – are up for possible reclassification under the zoning ordinance.
Generally, said Siciliano, another goal of the process is to make the zoning ordinance reflect the actual way land in various sectors of the city is currently being used. Another is to make some areas more friendly to commercial real estate development.