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Planning board OKs higher density on lot in West Beverly Hills neighborhood

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Burlington’s planning and zoning commission has unanimously endorsed a rezoning request that would increase the building density of a small residential lot in the city’s historic West Beverly Hills neighborhood.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the members of this appointed advisory board voted in favor of this request, which calls for a “limited use” form of high density residential zoning on land at 106 Highland Avenue that’s currently home to a single family residence.

Angela Donahue, the owner of this particular property, told the city’s planning commission that her primary goal in requesting this change is to allow her to keep some of this land even if she, one day, decides to part with the dwelling.

“I live right next door,” she went on to explain during Monday night’s meeting, “If I ever chose to sell the little house, I don’t want to lose the land, where I have a garden.”

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Under Donahue’s request, the existing parcel, which is roughly a third of an acre in size, could be subdivided into two lots – either of which could accommodate a home of its own. The terms of the new zoning would nevertheless limit the property’s allowable use to either detached, single-family residences or site-built tiny homes.

The prospect of an additional abode on this lot drew a few words of concern from George Hill, a member of the West Beverly Hills Neighborhood Association, which represents a nationally-recognized historic district that lies off of North Main Street.

“If you’re going to cut it up,” Hill told the city’s planning commission, “you’re going to take away from the neighborhood.”

John Black, the chairman of the planning commission, also read two letters into the record from other neighbors with objections to Donahue’s rezoning request. These protests weren’t enough, however, to sway the commission’s members, who voted 5-to-0 to endorse the proposed zoning change to Burlington’s city council.

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