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Marlgorough Massachusetts
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ZBA Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes up the Zoning Board of Appeal?

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a five (5) member board.

Who is the Zoning Enforcement Officer?

The City’s Building Inspector

What is the function of the Board of Appeals?

To hear testimony regarding why an appeal is being request.  An appeal to the permit granting authority as the zoning ordinance or by-law may provide, may be taken by any person aggrieved by reason of his inability to obtain a permit or enforcement action from any administrative officer under the provisions of Chapter 40A, by the regional planning agency in whose area the city or town is situated, or by any person including an officer or board of the city of town, or of an abutting city or town aggrieved by an order or decision of the inspector of buildings who is also the Zoning Enforcement Officer, or other administrative official, in violation of any provision of this chapter or any ordinance or by-law adopted thereunder.  To hear requests for Special Permits the Zoning bylaw must designate the Board as the Special Permit Granting Authority

The Board also is the permit granting authority for  Comprehensive Permits (MGL, c.40B Sections 21-23)

How often does the Board meet?

The Board only meets when there are filings to be heard.  If they do meet, it is usually on a Tuesday evening at 7:00 P.M.   If necessary, the Board can/will continue public hearings.
Are there any fees involved?

The fees are listed on the application form and are based on the “proposed use” of the property ie. Residential, non-revenue bearing = $130.00, Business, Commercial or Automotive = $375.00 etc.  There is also a legal advertising fee which the applicant will be billed directly from the newspaper in which the ad will appear twice.

Will abutters be notified for a hearing?

The secretary to the Zoning Board will generate an abutters covering a 300 ft. radius from the property in question.  And it will be the responsibility of the applicant to notify the abutters either by Certified Mail or Certificate of Mailing.

How does the Zoning Board decide if a variance should be granted?
According to Mass General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 10: “In order for the Zoning Board of Appeals to legally grant a variance, all three findings must be made, i.e. the Board must find:
A substantial hardship, financial or otherwise
No substantial detriment to the public good
No substantial derogation from the intent and purpose of the ordinance and that owing to the soil conditions, shape or topography of the land or structures, but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would bring about item (1) above.”

“Regarding the definition of “Hardship” once the above factors are considered, “financial” hardship can be used for a grounds of relief.  However, the “financial hardship” must inure to all owners of the land in question as a result of its unique condition, not merely to the present owner owning to his or her peculiar or particular financial status.”

Is a vote taken on the first hearing and how long will it take to receive my variance/special permit?

If the Board closes and votes at the first hearing date, the Zoning Board secretary prepares all the paper work to be filed and stamped with the city clerk’s office, that is when the 20 day appeal will start.  After the 20 day appeal period, the city clerk’s office will mail to the applicant a stamped original decision stating the 20 day appeal period is complete.

Repetitive Petitions

No appeal, application or petition which as been unfavorably and finally acted upon by the special permit granting or permit granting authority shall be acted favorably upon within two (2) years after the date of final unfavorable action unless said special permit granting authority or permit authority finds, by a unanimous vote of the Board

Where Can I Find City of Marlborough General Code?

The City of Marlborough General Code can be found on the City Clerk's departmental web page. Alternatively, you may click here to access it.


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