Zoning Amendments

(updated 2/12/2021)

Amendments to the Zoning By-Law and Zoning Map are initiated by the Town or by resident petitioners for vote at Town Meeting twice per year. Zoning amendments require either a majority or 2/3 majority vote of Town Meeting to pass and must then be certified by the Attorney General; see guidance issued by DHCD regarding the recently passed Housing Choice Act. We highly recommend any citizen-petitioned warrant articles first start with a policy discussion with Planning staff, and ideally endorsement, by one or more Policy Boards & Commissions. Zoning amendments are extremely technical in nature, and should be submitted for review by the Planning & Community Development Department and Town Counsel's office at least one month prior to the warrant article closing.


For Spring 2021 Annual Town Meeting, the Planning & Community Development Department will be:

Drafting and/or co-sponsoring the following zoning amendments:

  • Relative to amending the Inclusionary Zoning By-Law, with Housing Advisory Board
  • Relative to permitting and regulating Delivery-Only Marijuana Use
  • Relative to permit Outdoor Dining longer than six months per year

As directed by the Select Board, reviewing and suggesting edits for the following citizen petition zoning articles anticipated to be filed:

  • Zoning Amendment to incentivize Fossil Fuel Free Construction in the Emerald Isle Overlay District


Below is information pertaining to current proposed Zoning By-Law Warrant Articles as well as recently proposed articles that were voted on by Town Meeting. View the current Zoning By-Law (PDF). Note that amendments passed and approved by the Attorney General from Fall 2018 Town Meeting to today are not yet incorporated in this text; most of those amendments are specific to the marijuana industry and certain overlay districts relating to the Waldo-Durgin site at Pleasant & John Streets, the Newbury College site on Fisher Hill Drive. A broader article, Warrant Article 15, was approved by Fall 2019 Town Meeting & the Attorney General subsequently, eliminates minimum parking requirements and imposes maximum parking requirements for some commercial uses near transit reads is as follows:

VOTED: That the Town amend the Zoning By-Law by: 1) Adding the following language to Section 6.02, Paragraph 1, which exclusively affects non-residential uses: “e. For storefront uses (which shall include Uses 12 through 14 inclusive, 16 through 18A inclusive, 20, 20a, 21, 29, 30, 32 through 36A inclusive, 36C, 37and 44, as listed in Article IV) on any lot for which any portion of the lot is within the Transit Parking Overlay District, the parking ratios specified in the table in 6.02, paragraph 1 shall serve as maximum allowable parking ratios. These storefront uses are not subject to the minimum parking space requirements in Section 6.02. 2) Changing the final footnote to Section 6.02, Paragraph 1, Table of Off-Street Parking Space Requirements as follows: “Section 6.02, paragraphs 1.2 through 7. contain additional requirements by type of use or by location.

View the Town Clerk's office's archive of all official records pertaining to Town Meeting.

FALL 2019

>ARTICLE 13: Permit accessory ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations | Status: APPROVED

> ARTICLE 14: Requirement for Electric Vehicle - ready spaces in parking facilities | Status: APPROVED

> ARTICLE 15: Removing minimums/imposing maximum parking ratios for some commercial uses near transit | Status: APPROVED

> ARTICLE 18: Changing the definition of Lodger and other amendments to permit short-term rentals Status: REFERRED to Planning Department (see FALL 2020 Articles above)

> ARTICLE 19: Permit Accessory Dwelling Units | Status: APPROVED

> ARTICLE 20: Permit Micro-Unit Dwellings in G-1.75 (CC) District | Status: NOT APPROVED BY TM

> ARTICLE 21: Related to Fossil-Fuel Free Construction | Status: NOT APPROVED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL


> ARTICLE 13: Waldo-Durgin Overlay Special District at John & Pleasant Streets | Status: APPROVED

FALL 2018

> ARTICLE 1: Density requirements for recreational marijuana establishments | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 20: FAR reductions for Transit Parking Overlay District | Status: NOT MOVED 


> ARTICLES 17-22: Recreational Marijuana (PDF) | Status: APPROVED 

FALL 2017

> ARTICLES 10-15: Hancock Village Master Development Plan | Status: NOT MOVED 


> ARTICLE 14: Temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 15: Revisions to Article 7 to allow for administrative approval of some sign applications Status: APPROVED 

FALL 2016

> ARTICLE 7: Emerald Island Special District | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 14: Amend Article 7 to provide for content neutral signage regulations | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 17: Amend parking requirements to require electric vehicle charging | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 19: Create Transit Parking Overlay District for reduced parking minimums | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 21: Prohibit commercial and non-commercial aircraft landing areas | Status: APPROVED 

> ARTICLE 22: Modifications to FAR related to habitable space and design review | Status: APPROVED 


> ARTICLE 12: Increase side yard setback requirements in single-family districts | Status: NOT MOVED 

> ARTICLE 13: Require timely notice by developers for neighborhood meetings under Section 5.09 | Status: APPROVED 

FALL 2015:

> ARTICLE 12: Amend the definition of habitable space under Article 2 | Status: REFERRED 

SPRING 2015:

> ARTICLE 15: Amend the Zoning Map by extending the Renewable Energy Overlay District | Status: APPROVED 

Group Meeting with Hands Raised