Ordinance Review Committee

The 2020 Special Committee for Review of Ordinances was active from September 30, 2020, until March 31, 2021, upon submission of its report to the City Clerk.


  • Councilor John Thorpe, Chair
  • Megan Paik, Citizen, Vice-Chair
  • Councilor Marianne LaBarge
  • Jeff Napolitano, Citizen
  • Councilor James Nash

Charter Provision for Periodic Review of Ordinances

Per the City of Northampton Charter, Section 10-5: Not later than July 1, at 5-year intervals, in each year ending in a 5 or in a zero, beginning in 2015, the mayor and city council shall provide for a review to be made of some or all of the ordinances of the city to prepare a proposed revision or recodification of them. This review shall be made by a special committee to be established by ordinance. All members of the committee shall be voters of the city. The special committee shall file its report with the city clerk at a date specified by ordinance. The review of city ordinances shall be under the supervision of the city solicitor. Copies of any recommendations shall be made available to the public at a cost not to exceed the actual cost of the reproduction. See related ordinance (§1-15.1 Special Committee for Review of Ordinances) here.

  • Ordinance Review Committee Final Report - Submitted March 31, 2021

About the Board

The Ordinance Review Committee was established per City Charter and Ordinance §1-15.1 Special Committee for Review of Ordinances to conduct a periodic review of the Northampton Code of Ordinances. The Committee was appointed on September 3, 2020, and comprised of three members of the City Council appointed by the Council President and two voters of the City appointed by the Mayor. 


The Ordinance Review Committee met under the supervision of City Solicitor Alan Seewald, Esq. and held 15 virtual meetings by Zoom between September 30, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

Agendas and Minutes

Special Charge of Ordinance Review Committee:

On September 3, 2020, the City Council adopted 20.107 A Resolution in Support of Actions to Combat the Public Health Crisis of Systemic Racism, which stated in part:

We have an obligation to advance racial equity by undoing the inequities found in the law, and to proactively pass ordinances and make budget decisions that address inequity. During the Periodic Review of Ordinances which occurs every 5 years as per the City Charter Section 10-5, and at other times when it comes to the attention of the Council, we will act to update ordinances that have been shown to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and adversely affect marginalized populations. We will also consider these impacts during our annual budget process and as financial orders are brought to the Council.

The Committee accepted this Resolution as the guiding principle of its focus on the City’s ordinances. Marginalized populations of Northampton, in its deliberations and reporting, include but are not limited to residents who are people of color, low-income, housing-insecure, and/or disabled who experience systemic inequities of residential segregation, intergenerational wealth inequality, and access to public services.

Consequently, the Committee prioritized select categories of ordinances referenced in reports produced by the National League of Cities, The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the National Housing Law Project, and others:

  • zoning;
  • rental housing;
  • parking; 
  • nuisance laws; and
  • land ownership.