Amendment regarding air quality mitigation for development near heavily traveled roadways.
A proposed amendment to the Somerville Zoning Ordinance (SZO) has been submitted to the City Clerk by 15 registered voters. The proposed amendment would add a new section under Article 7, Permitted Uses, of the SZO that would establish regulations regarding the siting of housing, schools, preschools, and long-term care facilities near heavily trafficked roadways. The proposal describes buffering distances from I-93, Mystic Avenue, McGrath Highway, and other heavily traveled roadways where new development/redevelopment would be required to include systems that have the capacity to adequately mitigate exposure to occupants from hazardous vehicular emissions.
The proposal requires that buildings that have yet to receive a Certificate of Occupancy receive a determination that a mitigation system adequately reduces the exposure to hazardous vehicular emissions. This mitigation shall require a finding that the system reduces indoor ultrafine particulate levels by 80% relative to the particulate levels in the untreated outdoor air that would enter through an open window. The proposal also includes various methodologies for studying particulate levels and specific requirements for different types of buildings at different stages in the development process. Additionally, the proposal includes provisions to exempt owner-occupied housing and condominium apartments, provisions for municipal school buildings and preschool facilities, fines, and a periodic review of the proposed ordinance.\