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New Zoning Bylaw Adopted Overwhelmingly at Town Meeting

Special Town Meeting went quickly, then voters addressed an effort that has been six years in the making: an update of the town’s outdated and convoluted Zoning Bylaw. After some debate on amendments, Town Meeting voted 121 to 1 to adopt the new bylaw.

Two amendments, one to lower by-right building heights in Office Research districts from 60 to 40 feet and five stories to three and one to tighten bioscience uses in that district, passed — though the latter was controversial. Resident Bruce Panilaitis pointed out that the state regulates bioscience research and argued that forcing these companies to go before the planning board will dissuade them from locating in Tewksbury.

“They’ll just go to Andover,” said Panilaitis. Fifty residents agreed and voted against the amendment, but it was ultimately supported by 65 voters and will be incorporated in the final bylaw.

Johnson said that the committee will come back before Town Meeting in October to discuss adding zoning for retail marijuana sales.

“No one should consider this once and done,” he said.

Residents can find the new Zoning Bylaw, map and comparisons between the new and former documents here.

Key changes include restrictions on fee in lieu of affordable units, elimination of overlay districts and many updates to the sign bylaws.

Attorney Doug Sears motioned to withdraw Article 31 without prejudice.
New moderator Dustin Weir handled a complex amendment process with help from town counsel.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.


  1. George Ferdinand George Ferdinand May 5, 2022

    Seven (7) years in the making from my formal request to the TM, PB and SB in June of 2015.

  2. George Ferdinand George Ferdinand May 5, 2022

    To the people who think I was/am trying to take credit for the whole zoning bylaw update for the last seven years (you know who you are). Nothing is further from the truth! For the record there are so many that have done a great job, the list is too long to post. I ask you to, walk in my shoes for a moment, Why it that the media outlets and other elected officials have never given me credit for bringing the request in the first place?

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