• Acts
  • 2001

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. The town of Needham may amend its zoning by-laws as follows:

(1) The planning board may issue special permits to increase the intensity of use, up to maximum amounts to be set forth in the zoning by-law, in the commercial and industrial zoning districts within the area of the town located east of Interstate 95, south of the railroad right of way owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, west of the Charles River and north of Cutler Pond, hereinafter referred to as the District Plan Area.

(2) Development in the commercial and industrial zoning districts within the District Plan Area, requiring a special permit for an increase in the intensity of use over what is permitted by right shall be subject to the following:-

(a) The planning board shall determine how many additional square feet of development above those allowed by right, up to the maximum amount to be set forth in the zoning by-law, will be created by the grant of a special permit under this section. Applying the Needham zoning by-law sections, which establish parking requirements, the planning board shall determine the appropriate number of off street parking spaces required to service that portion of the development which exceeds that permitted by right. The planning board may then require a traffic improvement fee for each such parking space in an amount to be set forth in the zoning by-law. The fee shall be paid by the applicant or the applicant's designee into a Traffic Mitigation Fund, established hereunder, for the purpose of addressing traffic improvements clearly related to and directly benefiting the uses within the District Plan Area.

(b) The applicant may pay the entire traffic improvement fee prior to receipt of the building permit for the project. In the alternative, the applicant may pay in 2 installments, ½ before receipt of the building permit for the project and the other ½ before the receipt of the occupancy permit for the project; provided, however, that interest on the second installment will accrue at a rate to be established under the zoning by-law from the date of payment of the first installment, and said interest must be paid with the second installment.

(3) (a) A Traffic Mitigation Fund, hereinafter referred to as the Fund, is hereby established within the office of the town treasurer. The Fund shall be operated in conformance with section 53E½ of chapter 44 of the General Laws, except as set forth herein.

(b) All funds deposited, and any interest accrued, shall only be used to fund in part or in total the traffic improvement projects described in the District Plan as adopted by the planning board or as subsequently amended by it, necessary to accomplish said improvements. The area within which the Fund may be spent shall be limited to the District Plan Area, the intersections of Kendrick street and Hunting road, all portions of the existing intersection of Interstate Route 95 and Highland avenue, the intersection of Highland avenue and Needham street, Highland avenue between Interstate Route 95 and the city of Newton line, Kendrick street from the intersection with Hunting road to the city of Newton line, and any planned or proposed intersection on Interstate Route 95 directly servicing the District Plan Area.

(c) Any monies from the Fund shall be expended only at the discretion of the board of selectmen after receiving comments from the planning board and appropriation by the town meeting. Prior to action by the town meeting such proposed appropriation shall be referred to the finance committee for a recommendation to the town meeting. Prior to entering into any contract for expending such funds, the board of selectmen shall have given 30 days notice to the planning board inviting its comments.

(d) The town treasurer shall be the custodian of the Fund and may deposit the proceeds in a bank or invest all or part of the Fund in securities as are allowed under the laws of the commonwealth. The investment proceeds shall accrue to the Fund. The treasurer shall keep a record of all funds received, including, but not limited to, the amount received, the date received and the name of the party paying into the Fund. The treasurer shall keep a record of all amounts expended.

(e) All special permit fees for traffic improvement associated with new development in the District Plan Area shall be deposited into the Fund. Other monies donated by private individuals or groups for the express purpose of implementing identified traffic improvements within the project area may also be deposited into the Fund, and be subject to all regulations of governing the use of the Fund. The town of Needham acting by its town meeting may also make appropriations of public monies into the Fund for the purpose of expediting the objectives of the Fund.

(f) All funds deposited may remain in the Fund for a period not to exceed 20 years. Funds shall be expended for traffic mitigation on a first in first out basis. If all or part of the collected fees or contributions have not been expended or contracted to be expended by said time, the monies shall be returned to the parties, their heirs, executors or assigns, who paid or contributed the unexpended monies to said Fund. So that an applicant or applicant's designee can be paid a refund, said person or entity shall notify the treasurer of any exchange of name or address on or before 20 years after making payments to the Fund. In order for an heir, executor or assign to be eligible for such repayment, it must file notice of its status and mailing address with the town treasurer on or before 30 days after the twentieth anniversary of the Fund.

SECTION 2. The town shall have the authority to amend its zoning by-laws consistent with the intent and purposes of this act, and shall follow the procedures established under section 5 of chapter 40A of the General Laws to amend its zoning by-laws in accordance with this act.

Approved December 14, 2001.