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Call the Building Commissioner or Town Planner for help in determining the various laws and regulations that govern your project and your site.
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Use the Assessor's GIS map > On the left-hand side click on the black FIND PROPERTIES tab > enter the information > select your property from the list > click on the blue LAYERS tab along the side on the map >
Click on the "Zoning Districts" layer
Click the "Aquifer Protection District" layer to determine if your property also falls in the Aquifer District requirements under Section 16 of the Zoning Bylaw
New construction and additions sometimes requires one or more permits, depending on the size, location, and proposed use of the structure. Your first step should be to consult the Building Commissioner. The Building Commissioner will discuss with you the property improvements you propose, and what the typical permit requirements are. The Building Commissioner will inform you of other regulations, like environmental regulations, wetlands, etc. that might apply to your site. He will also guide you to the Zoning Bylaw, which specifies minimum lot area, setbacks for front, rear, and side yards, lot coverages, and permitted uses in specific districts.
All property in Medfield is classified into a zoning district. These districts are located on the official Zoning Map, which can be found in the Zoning Bylaw or on the free online interactive maps on the Town website. These districts define the uses that are allowed in that district by right or by special permit (see Attachment 1 of the Zoning Bylaw). Each district also has specific regulations for lot sizes and setbacks (see Attachment 2). Specific regulations for parking (see Section 8), various commercial uses allowable by special permit (see Section 14). There are also several “overlay” districts that stipulate additional development controls in some areas of the Town such as floodplains, watershed, and aquifer protection.
Zoning regulations are established by the Town and adopted at Town Meetings. Zoning determines the types of structures and uses that are allowed in each zoning district. No matter where your property is located in town, it is subject to some type of zoning. The Building Code is established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and applies to all structures and buildings, no matter the use or location. The Building Code sets the minimum safety standards to protect the health and safety of the building occupants and neighbors.
Some uses are not allowed, and others are allowed only with a Special Permit. A Special Permit means that the use is not normally permitted, but the Town will consider allowing it if it meets certain criteria and is judged to be an overall benefit to the Town. Section 14 of the Zoning Bylaw outlines the process and the uses subject to Special Permits. In other cases, when a proposed structure cannot fit properly on a lot, a Variance pursuant to MGL Chapter 40A Section 10 may be required. Use variances are not allowable in Medfield. Please contact the Building Commissioner or Town Planner for more information.
Zoning nonconformities are defined as parcels, land uses, buildings, structures, or situations that do not conform with current zoning regulations. Examples include: older lots or subdivisions with lots that met the size requirement at the time (an increase in lot size or a reduction in density is called “down-zoning”), a building built to lesser setbacks than are currently required, a two-family or multi-family dwelling in a single-family zoning district, or a residential dwelling in a business zone.
Yes. The zoning bylaw allows nonconformities to continue. If certain nonconformities are abandoned, damaged, or destroyed, the regulations restrict their replacement. For further information talk to the Building Commissioner or Town Planner.
Generally, no. However, a nonconforming parcel (substandard lot) and nonconforming residential use (lot size, perfect square, setbacks, etc.) may be enlarged under certain circumstances and with some restrictions. The Building Commissioner is authorized to make certain Section 6 findings during the building permit review process. If the project proposes to make existing nonconformities worse or create new nonconformities, please speak with the Town Planner for an application to the ZBA. All teardowns on nonconforming lots require a special permit from the ZBA.
Zoning nonconformities can be replaced as they currently exist when they require maintenance, become damaged, or in the case of most residential uses, are destroyed by an act of nature or other unintentional event.
When zoning nonconformities are intentionally destroyed, demolished or removed from the site, they may only be replaced in conformance with the current zoning requirements. Also, when nonresidential nonconformities are abandoned or demolished (intentionally or unintentionally), they may only be replaced in conformance with the current zoning requirements.
You received a hearing notice via first class mail because you are a "party in interest", aka an abutter, to proposed construction or use that will be reviewed by the Medfield Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals. The notice is required by statute to let you know that a public hearing is being held on the project at a particular place, date and time (the time may shift from the actual time on the notice due to other hearing scheduled the same night). It is also published in the legal notice section of the Medfield Press for two Fridays preceding the opening of the hearing (note: the notice does not appear in the paper the Friday immediately prior to the public hearing due to precise wording in the statute).
"Parties in interest'' as defined by statute, "shall mean the petitioner, abutters, owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way, and abutters to the abutters within three hundred feet of the property line of the petitioner as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list.
The application, plans, and supporting materials are on file at the Planning Department. You are welcome to review this information during regular Town Hall hours (M, T, W 8:30 - 4:30, Th 8:30 - 7:30, F 8:30 - 1:00). Most applications and supporting materials are available electronically and can be emailed.
At the first public hearing, the applicant will present plans and explain what is proposed for the Board. The Board will ask questions, generally where clarification is needed. There will be an opportunity for those in the audience to ask questions or offer comments in support or opposition. Comments may also be submitted in writing for inclusion in packets if submitted to the Town Planner the week before the hearing. The Board shall not consider any additional materials once the evidentiary portion of the public hearing has been closed, as this material would not be subject to public review and comment.
For simple projects, hearings can be completed in one night and are closed; meaning that no further testimony is taken. More often, hearings will be continued with direction given by the Board to the application on revisions to the plans or information that is needed. Continued hearings may be several weeks or months in the future depending on how long it takes the applicant to gather the required information and the Board's workload.
The Chair shall preside over the meeting and the following rules shall apply: