Annual Town Meeting


The proposed zoning amendments for the 2022 Canton Annual Town Meeting either are "housekeeping" articles or relate to the zoning recommendations from the Route 138 Economic Development Corridor Study.  The housekeeping changes fill in missing information (where previously passed at Town Meeting), clarify existing allowed practices, or remove redundant overlay districts. The zoning recommendations from the Route 138 Economic Development study can be reviewed in the Executive Summary. All proposed zoning articles are consistent with recommendations from Canton's Master Plan (2020) and the Route 138 Corridor Study (2020). Some parking changes were also recommended in the Canton Downtown Parking Strategy study (2019). The current Zoning Bylaws and Map can be viewed here.  These zoning recommendations were postponed for two years, due to COVID-19 protocols at Town Meeting in 2020 and 2021 requiring those meetings to be held outdoors as briefly as possible.

Public Process

Public process and feedback was used throughout the Route 138 Corridor study to inform the analysis, develop a vision, and guide recommendations. During the study, residents, business owners and employees, and Town staff and officials provided their own unique perspectives on the Corridor.  The following engagement methods were utilized to solicit input along the way:

  • Route 138 Working Group – a Working Group was established by the Town to engage with RKG (the economic development planning consultants) over the six-month planning process to provide feedback and insight. The Working Group was comprised of residents, Town staff, business leaders, and MassDevelopment staff. The group met six times to review materials provided by RKG and assist with public meeting design, facilitation, and preparation.  The working group consisted of the Town Administrator, a representative from the Canton Association of Business and Industry, the Select Board, the Master Plan Steering Committee, the Finance Committee, the Economic Development Committee, the Planning Board, the Walk Bike and Hike Committee, the Sustainability Committee, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Town Planner and the Building Commissioner.
  • Stakeholder Interviews – to gain additional insight on the local market, regulatory conditions, business conditions, and employee/employer needs, RKG conducted a series of in-person and phone interviews with local brokers, business owners, boards and committees, and Town staff.
  • Public Meetings – two public meetings were held to offer the general public opportunities to engage directly with the consultants and Town staff. The first meeting in July 2019 shared the results of the market and zoning analysis and solicited feedback on residents’ vision for the Corridor and where they would like to see different types of development in the future. The second meeting, held in October 2019, presented the refined Corridor vision, recommendations, and fiscal impact analysis.  The final report was presented to the Select Board in December 2019.
  • Online Surveys – two surveys were prepared and distributed, one following each public meeting. These provided opportunities for input for those unable to attend in person. The surveys mimicked the questions and activities from each public meeting. Surveys provided close to 200 additional responses throughout the process.
  • Project Website and Social Media – all materials from the Working Group sessions and public meetings were posted by Town staff to the Route 138 Corridor Study Website. Posts were also made to the Town’s social media outlets to notify residents of upcoming public meetings and surveys.

Route 138 Vision Statement (from Route 138 Corridor Study 2020)

The Route 138 Corridor in Canton will continue to thrive and grow as a significant contributor to the town’s commercial and industrial tax base, serving as a regional employment hub. Strategic partnerships in transportation, open space, zoning changes, and a variety of development types will ensure that the Corridor offers a safe, vibrant, and appealing environment for all users. 

Route 138 Focus Area Guiding Principle (from Canton Master Plan 2020)

Route 138 will be transformed into a revitalized destination with expanded businesses, shopping, entertainment, and residences while increasing safety and access for all modes of transportation. 

Drafting Zoning Bylaw Amendments

The Town Planner worked alongside the Planning Board, Master Plan Implementation Committee, and representatives from the Building Department and Zoning Board when drafting the proposed bylaw changes.  The proposed bylaw changes were then vetted through Town Counsel with no changes.  The Planning Board held public hearings on the proposed zoning articles on February 16th, 2022 starting at 5:30pm and on March 2nd, 2022 at 6:30pm. The Zoning Articles were also be presented at a Finance Committee meeting on March 23rd at 8pm.  A further virtual public information session will be scheduled for April 28th from 7-8pm.  The first session of the 2022 Annual Town Meeting will be held on May 9th, at 7pm, in the Canton High School auditorium.