What should I expect at the public hearing?

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.

  1. The Chair shall open the hearing at the advertised time in the specified meeting place, and proceed in the following order:
  2. The Vice Chair will read the notice of hearing as published
  3. The applicant or representative shall present their case to the board
  4. Questions and comments from the Board
  5. Questions and comments from representatives of other Town boards, and Town officials
  6. Questions and comments from abutters to the property
  7. Questions and comments from other interested parties
  8. Responses from the applicant, as needed throughout
  9. The Chair shall close the public hearing or keep the hearing open for Board deliberations

The Chair shall preside over the meeting and the following rules shall apply:

  • All persons must be recognized by the Chair before speaking;
  • Speakers must begin by identifying themselves by name, address, and any pertinent affiliations;
  • All questions/comments/remarks should be directed to the Chair, and not to the applicant, other speakers, staff, or others;
  • Presenters and speakers are expected to be brief and to the point—the Chair shall determine time limits for individual presentations if necessary, to ensure that all citizens and Board members have the opportunity to speak; and,
  • Speakers should focus on asking new questions or providing new information, and avoid repeating previous remarks.
  • No “jeers or cheers”: The purpose of the Board meeting is to permit the Board members to conduct official business of the Board. There is a great deal of work that is completed prior to
    presenting the application to the Board, but important facts are often presented during the hearing process. The public is invited to participate and to avoid actions that distract from the important decision-making process that must occur.


Show All Answers

1. What is my zoning district?
2. How do I know what laws apply to my project?
3. What if I want to construct a new home, addition, or new business?
4. What is Zoning?
5. What is the difference between the Zoning Code and the Building Code?
6. What if my proposed structure or use is not allowed by the Zoning Bylaws?
7. What are zoning nonconformities?
8. Can zoning nonconformities legally continue to exist?
9. Can zoning nonconformities be enlarged?
10. When can zoning nonconformities be replaced as they currently exist?
11. When must zoning nonconformities be replaced to conform with current zoning requirements?
12. Why did I receive a hearing notice?
13. What should I expect at the public hearing?
14. What are the zoning requirements regarding sheds?
15. What is a Zoning Freeze?
16. What are the ZBA's public hearing protocols?
17. How to appeal a ZBA Decision?
18. What is the difference between a special permit and a variance?
19. Medfield Zoning Info for Homeowners and Realtors