Zoning and Land Use Resources

Resources in this section, including annotated versions of The Zoning Act and Municipal Planning & Subdivision Control Law and The ANR Handbook (Approval not Required Plan), will aid planning boards, zoning boards of appeals, other municipal officials, and interested residents in the area of zoning and land use.

Zoning and Land Use Publications

These publications are intended only for informational and reference purposes. When a question of legal interpretation arises, local officials should always seek the advice of their municipal counsel.

Overview of the Subdivisoin Control Law pdf format of overviewofthesubdivision.pdf
file size 2MB

  • Revised December 2009 - Our Department has received numerous questions over the years concerning the operation of the Subdivision Control Law. This publication highlights many of the substantive and procedural requirements that apply to subdivision and non-subdivision plans which require an endorsement or an approval by a planning board. We have also noted interesting court cases that have looked at a variety of issues dealing with subdivision control.

The Zoning Act pdf format of zoningact.pdf
file size 2MB

  • Revised August, 2010 - This edition of the Zoning Act will aid planning boards, other municipal officials, and interested residents. The Zoning Enabling Act, Chapter 40A, was enacted by Chapters 368 and 551 of the Acts of 1954 and became effective on August 1, 1954, replacing the previous zoning enabling legislation, Section 25 to 30B, inclusive, of the Chapter 40, General Laws. On December 22, 1975, the Governor signed Chapter 808 of the Acts of 1975, the Zoning Act, which created a new Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws. The left-hand column of each section of the booklet includes bold-faced annotations which are not part of the law but which have been inserted to facilitate research.

Adopting Amending Zoning Bylaws pdf format of adoptingamending.pdf

  • Revised November 2009 - This outline covers the procedure that a municipality must follow when adopting or amending its zoning ordinance or bylaw. For detailed information regarding this procedure, please refer to Chapter 40A, Section 5.

Decision Making Requirements of the Zoning Act pdf format of decisionmaking.pdf

  • Revised November 2009 - This outline covers the process for reviewing a special permit, variance, or appeal, constructive grants, reapplication, and enforcement action. The public hearing and decision and voting requirements for Special Permit Granting Authority and Zoning Boards of Appeal are also outlined.

Grandfathered Lots and Plan Protection pdf format of grandfathered.pdf

  • Revised November 2009 - This outline covers separate and common lot protection, the merger theory, subdivision plan protection, ANR, perimeter plan, and site plan.

Nonconforming Structures and Uses pdf format of nonconforming.pdf

  • Revised November 2009 - This outline covers nonconforming structures and uses, alteration to nonconforming structures and uses, the six (6) and ten (10) year protection, Section 6 review and finding, exemption of single and two-family residential structures, change of nonconforming use, and non-use and abandonment of nonconforming uses and structures.

Procedural Requirements of the Subdivision Control Law pdf format of proceduralrequirements.pdf

  • Revised November 2009 - This outline covers the process for reviewing ANR plans, preliminary and definitive plans, and the modification, amendment, and rescission of plans.

The ANR Handbook (Approval Not Required Plans) pdf format of anrhandbook.pdf

  • Revised January, 2009 - Due to the numerous questions that have arisen over the years concerning the "Approval Not Required" (ANR) process of the Subdivision Control Law, DHCD felt it would be beneficial to produce and distribute a publication concerning this issue.

Municipal Planning and Subdivision Legislation pdf format of subdivisioncontrollaw.pdf
file size 1MB

  • Revised November, 2008 - This edition of the Municipal Planning and Subdivision Control Legislation will aid planning boards, other municipal officials, and interested residents. The Subdivision Control Law was enacted in 1953 and this publication includes any amendments since its enactment. The left-hand column of each section of the booklet includes bold-faced annotations which are not part of the law but have been inserted to facilitate research.

For additional information, please call Elaine Wijnja at 617-573-1360.