An amendment regarding open space in the Assembly Square Mixed Use District (ASMD)
A proposed amendment to the Somerville Zoning Ordinance (SZO) has been submitted to the City Clerk by 22 registered voters. The proposed amendment would amend Section 6.4, Assembly Square Mixed-Use District (ASMD), of the SZO that would establish new open space requirements for mid-rise and high-rise buildings in the ASMD District. The proposed requirements would be based on the overall built square footage of such buildings, which differs from the current open space requirements that are based on a percentage of the total lot size depending on the use.
The proposal would establish a baseline requirement for open space for all projects seeking special permit approval that would equal 25% of the lot size, which is what the current SZO requirement is except for retail uses. Additionally, the proposal would require that one-half of the total required open space be usable open space, which is also a current requirement. Additional open space would be required for residential buildings above 65 feet and commercial buildings above 85 feet. Commercial buildings in the ASMD higher than 85 feet would be required to provide one square foot of additional usable open space for every ten feet of gross square footage where the interior ceiling is at a height above 85 feet. Residential buildings in the ASMD higher than 65 feet would be required to provide two square feet of additional usable open space for every ten feet of gross square footage where the interior ceiling is at a height above 65 feet. The proposal also includes provisions for meeting these requirements off-site and establishing a Land Acquisition Fund.