ZBA Rules & Regulations

As Provided by MGL Chapter 40A Section 12

Adopted: January 10, 2002
Revised: February 14, 2002
December 7, 2002
July 31, 2003

Article I Organization

Section 1 Officers

At the first scheduled meeting in each calendar year the Board shall elect all officers of the Board to include a chairperson and a clerk. Alternates shall not participate in this act except in the absence, inability to act, or conflict of interest on the part of any permanent Board member, and may not hold office

Section 1-1 Board Composition

For the purposes of these Rules and Regulations, “Board” shall refer to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall consist of five permanent members and two alternate members (see section 4 for alternate members status on all Board actions and activities).

Section 2 Chairperson - Powers and Duties

The Chairperson shall vote and be recorded on all matters coming before the Board. Subject to these rules, he/she shall decide all points of order, unless overruled by a majority of the Board in session at the time. He/she shall appoint such committees as may be found necessary or desirable.

In addition to powers granted by general laws and local ordinances, and subject to these rules and further instructions of the Board, the Chairperson shall transact the official business of the Board, supervise the work of the Clerk, request necessary help, direct the work of all subordinates, and exercise general supervisory power. He/she shall at each meeting report on all official transactions that have not otherwise come to the attention of the Board. He/she shall sign all decisions and correspondence of the Board.

Section 3 Clerk

The Clerk shall be a member of the Board, designated by the Board. Subject to the direction of the Board and its Chairperson, he/she shall perform such duties as he/she may be directed to perform. The Clerk shall act as Chairperson in cases where the Chairperson is absent, must abstain due to conflict, or otherwise unable to perform his/her duties.

Section 4 Alternate Members

The two candidates receiving the sixth and seventh highest number of votes for the Board at the preceding biennial election shall be designated respectively the first and second alternates. The alternate members shall participate and vote on matters before the Board in the order of their election only in the case of the absence, inability to act or conflict of interest on the part of any of the five permanent members of the Board.  

Section 5 Quorum

A quorum shall be four (4) members (or alternates sitting in place of a member).

Section 6 Meetings

\Meetings of the Board shall be held on the second Thursday of the Month at 6:45 pm. If a regular meeting falls on a holiday, or election day, the meeting shall be held the preceding Wednesday, or at such time and place as advertised. The regular meeting schedule may be altered by a majority vote of the Board, including alternate members.

Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson, or at the request of two members. Written notice thereof shall be given to all members at least 48 hours before the time set.

Notices shall be posted publicly as required by law. 


Article II Applications to the Board

Section 1 Application Form

Every application for action by the Board shall be made on the official form. These forms shall be available upon request in the Office of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Any communication purporting to be an application, shall be treated as mere notice of intention to seek relief, until such time as it is made on the official application form. All information called for by the form shall be furnished by the applicant in the manner therein prescribed.

Section 2 Filing Period

All applications shall be filed in accordance with the time frame requirements stipulated in MGL Ch 40A.

Section 3 Filing Fees

Special Permits/ Variances/ and Comprehensive Permits

  • * The filing fee shall be calculated utilizing this fee schedule. However, in no case shall the filing fee be less than $300.00 which is the minimum filing fee for all cases

Non-Residential Use in a Non-Residential District*

  • $150.00 plus $0.30 per square foot of relief sought on the Building and $0.10 for outdoor areas used in conjunction with the use (up to 100,000 sq ft)

Non-Residential Use in a Residential District*

  • $300.00 plus $0.30 per square foot of relief sought on the Building and $0.10 for outdoor areas used in conjunction with the use (up to 100,000 sq ft)

Frontage and Setback requests*

  • Non-Residential Use in a Non-Residential District: $150.00 plus $10.00 per foot of relief sought
  • Non-Residential Use in a Residential District: $300.00 plus $10.00 per foot of relief sought
  • Residential Use $150.00 plus $5.00 per foot of relief sought

Signs*

  • $150.00 plus $5.00 per square foot of relief sought
  • $150.00 plus $100.00 per each additional sign sought
  • $300.00 all other sign requests (includes any needed relief from any aspect of the City’s Sign Ordinance not specified above)

Parking*

  • $50.00 per Parking Space: number of spaces waived and/or spaces not meeting minimum size requirements

Residential*

  • $150.00 plus $50.00 per unit to be added for Dwelling Conversions and Accessory Dwellings
  • $150.00 plus $50.00 per unit for Multi-families (4 or more units)

Other*

  • $300.00 All Appeals and any Variance or Special Permit request not specified above

Comprehensive Permits

Applicant shall be required to pay for all fees incurred by the City in the process of reviewing the plans, issuing a decision, reviewing the definitive plans and oversight and inspection of the Comprehensive Permit through the construction process to completion of the development. In addition, a filing fee per unit is required which shall be calculated utilizing the current Special Permit/ Site Plan Review fee Schedule which has been adopted by the Municipal Council. (authorized by MGL Ch 40B)

Section 4 Information Required

A complete application shall consist of the following;

  1. Check in the proper amount as stated in Article II section 3 of these rules and regulations
  2. City of Taunton Tax Status Report
  3. Completed and signed application form (2 copies)
  4. Certified abutters list with a 300 foot radius from the subject property (2 copies)
  5. Copy of the current deed for the subject property (2 copies)
  6. A reasons for petition which shall include a written narrative including the following; (2 copies)
    1. A description of the current layout of the property
    2. A description of what the petitioner is requesting to do on the property
    3. What relief is being requested including section numbers and the extent and magnitude of the request
    4. The rationale for why the Board should approve the submitted request including facts which make up the hardship, facts relied upon to support a finding that the relief sought will be desirable and without substantial detriment to the public good and facts relied upon to support a finding that the relief sought may be given without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the zoning ordinance.
  7. A site plan drawn to scale. At a minimum the plan shall contain the property lines, location of all buildings on-site, a north point, scale, names of streets abutting the property, zoning districts, names of owners of the subject property and properties immediately abutting the subject property, the dimensions of the lot, lot area, minimum dry area, setbacks for all structures from the property lines, any wetlands and an approved wetlands line, all entrances, exits, driveways and all parking located on-site. Two copies of the site plan shall be provided in the following sizes; 8 ½” by 11” or 11” x 17” or the a minimum of 15 copies shall be required as part of the submission.  

Section 5 Waiver/ Additional Information

The City Planner and/or the Chairperson shall have the authority to waive required elements of the site plan that are deemed unnecessary for the Board’s review of the case. Any element waived by the Chairperson or the City Planner may subsequently be required to be submitted by a majority vote of the Board.

In addition, the Board may require additional information in any case which the Boards deems the information necessary to render a fair and informed decision.


Article III Hearings

Section 1 Notice

Notice of hearings shall be posted and advertised as required by MGL Ch40A.

Section 2 Hearings to be Public

All hearings shall be public and shall adhere to the requirements of MGL Ch 40A and the Open Meetings Law

Section 3 Representation and Absence

An applicant may appear in his/her own behalf, or be presented by an agent or attorney. In the absence of any appearance without due cause on behalf of the applicant, the Board may decide the matter using the information it has otherwise received.

Section 4 Order of Business

  1. Reading of petition and legal notices by the Chairperson, together with presentation of exhibits, if any
  2. Reading of recommendations from municipal, state or federal departments and/or agencies
  3. Applicant’s presentation
  4. Opponents presentation, if any, and questions by those seeking information
  5. Applicant’s rebuttal, restricted to matters raised by opponents presentation.

Members of the Board who are hearing the case may direct appropriate questions during the hearing.

Section 5 Testimony and Documents

  1. The board may listen to any testimony and inspect any data, or any sites as it may deem necessary, to enable it to render a fair and informed decision.
  2. The Board must listen to any testimony of any person whom it is required to give notice to, but the Board may exclude unnecessary, irrelevant, or repetitive testimony.
  3. All testimony shall be given under oath, and the person testifying shall clearly identify him/her self, his/her interest, if any, in the proceedings, and any special credentials that he/she may have pertaining to the subject matter of his/her testimony.  An attorney at Law shall not be sworn.
  4. Any documents introduced shall be clearly identified by name, or some other designation, and the persons so introducing them shall also be identified.
  5. All documents introduced in the hearing shall be kept by the Board for a period of at least two (2) years after rendering the Board’s decision and thereafter shall only be disposed of in accordance with state law.

Section 6 Cross Examinations

  1. Members of the Board shall have the right to cross-examine any witness appearing before it.
  2. No other person shall have the right to cross-examine any witness.
  3. Any other party of Attorney shall have the right to direct questions to the Chairperson to ask of any other witness.

Article IV Disposition by the Board

Section 1 Voting Requirement

The concurring vote of at least four (4) members of the Board shall be necessary in any action taken by the Board except as superseded by State Law.

Section 2 Withdrawal

An application may be withdrawn by notice in writing to the Chairperson at any time prior to the hearing by the Board. Once a legal advertisement of the hearing for the application has been published, the application may only be withdrawn upon approval of the Board. The applicant shall be responsible for all costs incurred from the date of submittal to the withdrawal date including but not limited to advertising costs, clerical time, copying, postage etc.

Section 3 Reconsideration

Once a petition has been voted upon, there shall be no reconsideration of a decision of the Board.

Section 4 One Year Limitation; Grant of 6 month extension

If an application for a variance is granted by the Board, all permits necessary for the commencement of the work shall be obtained within one year of the date of filing of the Board’s decision in the Office of the City Clerk as required by MGL Ch 40A. However, as also provided in MGL CH 40A section 8, one sixth month extension may be requested in writing by the owner of the subject property provided the extension request is filed with the Board before the expiration date of the variance. The Board shall consider the reasons why the variance has not been exercised in determining whether an extension shall be granted.  

Section 5 Repetitive Petitions

If a petition is denied by the Board, the petition may not be resubmitted to the Board for a period of two years unless a finding is made by the Planning Board that specific and material changes have been made to the conditions upon which the decision was based by the Board of Appeals as stated in MGL Ch40A section 16


Article V Special Permits

All Rules and regulations of the Board apply to requests for Special Permits except in so far as they may be modified by the following:

  1. All hearings shall be held in accordance with MGL Ch 40A section 9
  2. Plans and the specifications thereof shall be prepared in accordance with Section 15.10 of the City of Taunton Zoning Ordinance  
  3. Decisions shall be prepared and filed in accordance with MGL Ch40A Section 9

Article VI Policies and Advice

Any advice, opinion, or information given by any Board member, or any other official or employee of the City of Taunton shall not be binding on the Board. It shall also be declared that the Board discourages individuals from appealing personally to members of the Board on any matter under the Board’s jurisdiction.


Article VII Amendments

These rules may be amended by an affirmative vote of not less than four (4) members of the board, provided that such amendment shall be presented in writing at a regular meeting and action taken thereon at a subsequent regular meeting. Alternates shall not participate in this act except in the absence, inability to act, or conflict of interest on the part of any permanent Board member


Article VIII Comprehensive Permits

See Article II, section 3 and the Model Local Rules published by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.