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Thread: The Uselessness of Use Tables

  1. #1

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    The Uselessness of Use Tables

    Where does this use fit in your community's use table? A space in an industrial park that a theater company wishes to use for the following purposes: costume shop, set design and construction, rehearsals, and office.

    Operating under a performance zoning format, I wouldn't need to spend 10 minutes on this. The only issue would be parking, which is easily covered by a shared parking provision: the rehearsals are in the evening after everything else in the park is closed. In conventional zoning, I am probably going to have to have them take it up as an appeal.

  2. #2
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I had this very issue come up in Fairfield. Those big industrial buildings make nice theaters. We added theater as a conditional use and went from there.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    If no performances are going on there I would interpret the by-law as follows

    1) Set design / building = manufacturing (ie trusses/prefab houses) - permitted
    2) Costume shop = storage / manufacturing / warehouse - permited
    3) Office - accessory to the above 2 so OK
    4) Rehearsal space - see / know nothing.

    If it is going to be open to the public for performances, then I would do a rezoning to ensure public safety and building plans review.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    Where does this use fit in your community's use table? A space in an industrial park that a theater company wishes to use for the following purposes: costume shop, set design and construction, rehearsals, and office.

    Operating under a performance zoning format, I wouldn't need to spend 10 minutes on this. The only issue would be parking, which is easily covered by a shared parking provision: the rehearsals are in the evening after everything else in the park is closed. In conventional zoning, I am probably going to have to have them take it up as an appeal.
    I would probably look at it under several possible areas:

    (47) PHILANTHROPIC USE, OTHER An organization operating under a nonprofit charter, the activities of which are devoted exclusively to benevolent purposes

    (30) INSTITUTIONAL USE, OTHER A public service use operated or run by a nonprofit corporation or organization which in not entitled to exemption from zoning requirements as set forth in M.G.L c.40A, §3.

    (58) SERVICE ORGANIZATION A nonprofit organization, the services of which are devoted to the betterment or improvement of the community.

    For Profit Educationa Use (which is not defined in our by-law but would be similar to the following: (43) NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL Any structure or use entitled to the education exemption set forth in M.G.L. c.40A, §3. So basically it would make a profit and thus not get the exemption.)

    Based upon our parking table I could also extend the definition to: (52) RECREATION, INDOOR A business operating sports or leisure time activities or facilities within a building. Since our parking table lists theaters as part of the items included as indoor recreation for parking calculations.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  5. #5
    Ours is pretty simple. To operate a theater in an existing Industrial district requires a Special Exception from the BOA w/ site plan review. A theater would be considered a recreational facility. If you are not putting on the show in the building then I would run with donk.

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