What is a Site Plan?
A site plan shows the footprint of a building, or group of buildings, with associated utilities, site improvements, drainage and parking. The Medway Zoning Bylaw requires site plan review for projects that involve the alteration, construction or change of use of any structure, other than a single-family or two-family dwelling. The site plan review process for major site plan projects requires a public hearing and notification of abutters. For minor site plan projects, the Planning and Economic Development Board conducts a “limited” site plan review, which does not require a public hearing or abutter notification. The Planning and Economic Development Board refers most site plan projects to the Design Review Committee for review and to other Town departmens and boards for recommendations.
What is a Special Permit?
The Massachusetts Zoning Act provides that local zoning bylaws may allow for certain types of uses to be permitted only in specified districts upon the issuance of a special permit. Special permits are used to permit certain uses and structures that are not allowed “by right” but are desirable for the community and require oversight and/or scrutiny to ensure that they are compatible with the abutting neighborhood or the community in general. Special permits may be issued only for uses that are appropriate for the site and which are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Bylaw and shall be subject to the Bylaw’s general or specific criteria. Special permits may impose specific conditions, safeguards and limitations on time or use to protect abutting properties, the neighborhood, the
community or the Town.
Who approves a Special Permit?
In Medway, the Zoning Bylaw specifies the uses and developments that require a special permit and whether the Planning and Economic Development Board or Zoning Board of Appeals is the special permit granting authority. The Planning and Economic Development Board approves special permits under certain circumstances (adult retirement community planned unit developments, open space residential developments, and certain uses in the Adaptive Use Overlay District) and the Zoning Board of Appeals in other situations (two-family dwellings in the ARII district, accessory family dwelling units, certain uses in the Flood Plain/Wetland Protection District, and certain uses in the Ground Water Protection District).
How long does the Planning and Economic Development Board have to act on applications?
Special Permit Applications – The Zoning Act requires that the Board hold a public hearing within 65 days of the submission of the application. The Board then has 90 days after the public hearing is closed to vote and file its decision with the Town Clerk. Special permit decisions require an affirmative vote of 4 out of 5 Planning and Economic Development Board members to be approved. If the Board does not file its decision with the Town Clerk by the statutory deadline, the application will be approved by default.
Subdivision Plans – The Subdivision Control Law requires that the Board hold a public hearing, vote, and file its decision within 90 days of the submission of the application for a definitive subdivision plan. Again, failure to file the decision with the Town Clerk by the deadline results in approval of the plan by default.
ANR Plans – The Subdivision Control Law requires that the Board act on an application for an Approval Not Required plan within 21 days of the date of submission of the plan.
Site Plans – The Zoning Bylaw requires that the Board act on a Major Site Plan within 90 days from the official submission date and on a Minor Site Plan within 60 days.
No matter what type of project is before the Planning and Economic Development office, when more information and time are necessary, applicants may request that the Board grant an extension of the action deadline. The Board normally grants the requested extension.
How can I appeal a decision that I don’t agree with?
An appeal of a Planning and Economic Development Board’s decision to grant a special permit or approve a subdivision or site plan must be filed in Superior Court or Land Court within twenty days of the date the Planning and Economic Development Board files its final decision with the Medway Town Clerk.