Chapter 7-03
ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Sections:

7-03-010    Building permit

7-03-020    Certificates of occupancy

7-03-030    Board of Appeals

7-03-040    Special permit

7-03-050    Site plans

7-03-060    Design review

7-03-070    Fees

7-03-080    Enforcement

7-03-090    Other laws and regulations

7-03-100    Severability

7-03-110    Amendment

7-03-010 Building permit.

A.    Applications. Application for a permit to erect or alter a building or other structure shall be accompanied by a Disposal Works Construction Permit issued by the Board of Health or a sewer connection permit issued by the Department of Public Works, where applicable; and a plan, accurately drawn, showing the actual shape and dimensions of the lot to be built upon, the exact location and size of all buildings or structures already on the lot, the location of new buildings to be constructed, together with the lines within which all buildings and structures are to be erected or altered, the existing and intended use of each building or structure and such other information as may be necessary to provide for the administration of this bylaw and the proposed location of the structure. If the structure is a residential unit, the location of the driveway must also be shown.

B.    Special permit. Where a special permit is required under this bylaw, the Building Inspector shall not issue a permit except in accordance with the written decision of the applicable special permit granting authority.

C.    Foundation certification. No superstructure above or on a foundation may be erected until the foundation has been certified by a professional engineer or land surveyor, showing lot line and setback distances from front line, side line and rear line.

D.    Plot plan. A certified plot plan shall be submitted to the Building Inspector for any building or structure, new or addition, or in-ground swimming pool for which a building permit is required. The certified plot plan shall contain information required by the Inspector of Buildings in conformance with the State Building Code and this bylaw. The plan shall be submitted at a time appropriate to the construction as determined by the Building Inspector.

E.    Construction equipment may be operated by a paid contractor between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily, except Sunday and legal holidays. Operation of construction equipment by a paid contractor outside the hours specified above may be allowed by written permission from the Building Inspector.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-020 Certificates of occupancy.

A.    No land shall be occupied or used, and no building or structure hereinafter erected or structurally altered shall be occupied or used unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Building Inspector. Such certificate shall state that the structure and use of structure and land comply in every respect with the provisions of this chapter in effect at the time of issuance or with a decision of the Board of Appeals or other permit granting authority.

B.    A certificate of occupancy shall be conditional on the maintenance of full compliance with the provisions of this chapter in effect at the time of issuance or with restrictions imposed in a decision of the Board of Appeals or other permit granting authority and shall become void if such compliance fails.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-030 Board of Appeals.

A.    Establishment. There is hereby established a Board of Appeals. Membership, appointments and terms of regular and associate members shall be made in accordance with the Town Charter of the Town of Northborough.

B.    Powers. The Board of Appeals shall have and exercise all the powers granted to it by MGL C. 40A, C. 40B, and C. 41 and by this bylaw. The Board’s powers are as follows:

(1)    Unless otherwise specified herein, the Board of Appeals shall serve as special permit granting authority and will hear and decide applications for special permits.

(2)    To hear and decide appeals or petitions for variances from the use, dimensional, or density requirements of this bylaw, with respect to particular land or structures, as set forth in MGL C. 40A, § 10.

(3)    To hear and decide appeals 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 MGL C. 40A, §§ 8 and 15.

(4)    To hear and decide comprehensive permits for construction of low or moderate income housing, as set forth in MGL C. 40B, §§ 20 through 23.

C.    Rules and regulations. The Board by vote shall establish rules and regulations for its own procedures consistent with the general laws of the Commonwealth pertinent thereto.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-040 Special permit.

A.    Procedures. An application for a special permit shall be filed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the applicable special permit granting authority.

B.    Public hearing. The special permit granting authority shall hold a public hearing within sixty-five (65) days of receipt of a complete special permit application, and shall issue a decision no later than ninety (90) days following the date of the public hearing, as provided in MGL C. 40A, § 9. Notification requirements for a public hearing shall be in accordance with MGL C.40A, § 11.

C.    Criteria. Unless otherwise specified herein, special permits shall be granted by the special permit granting authority only upon its written determination that the adverse effects of the proposed use will not outweigh its beneficial impacts to the town or the neighborhood, in view of the particular characteristics of the site, and of the proposal in relation to that site. In addition to any specific factors that may be set forth elsewhere in this bylaw, the determination shall include consideration of each of the following:

(1)    The proposal is in substantial harmony with the Northborough Master Plan and other plans approved or amended from time to time by the Northborough Planning Board, and with the purposes of this bylaw;

(2)    The proposed site is an appropriate location for such use;

(3)    The use as developed will not adversely affect the neighborhood;

(4)    There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians;

(5)    Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use;

(6)    The proposed use will conform to any special requirements of the special permit granting authority as stated in its written decision; and

(7)    The proposal could not reasonably be altered to reduce adverse impacts on the natural environment, to be compatible with historic development patterns of the town, or to preserve historically significant buildings.

D.    Conditions. Special permits may be granted with such reasonable conditions, safeguards, or limitations on time or use, including performance guarantees, as the special permit granting authority may deem necessary to serve the purposes of this bylaw. Such conditions may include but shall not be limited to the following:

(1)    Private disposal of refuse or solid waste;

(2)    Deadline to commence construction;

(3)    Limitations on signage, number of vehicles or parking spaces, noise, or hours of operation of construction equipment;

(4)    Requirements pertaining to integrated emergency or alarm systems, maintenance, landscaping, dust control, wastewater disposal or water supply, bond or other performance guarantee; and

(5)    Term for years with or without automatic renewals, to the extent allowed by law.

E.    Plans. The proponent for a special permit shall submit a plan in conformance with the requirements provided within the rules and regulations of the special permit granting authority.

F.    Regulations. The special permit granting authority may adopt rules and regulations for the administration of this section; provided, that such rules and regulations are not inconsistent with the general laws of the Commonwealth.

G.    Lapse. Special permits shall lapse if a substantial use thereof or construction thereunder has not begun, except for good cause, within 24 months following the filing of the special permit approval with the Town Clerk, not including such time required to pursue or await the determination of an appeal referred to in MGL C. 40A, § 17.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-050 Site plans.

The purposes of site plan approval are to promote public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the laying out of parking, circulation, and buildings in a safe and convenient manner, to ensure that new developments are designed to protect and enhance the visual and environmental qualities of the Town of Northborough, and to provide for an adequate review of development plans which may have significant impacts on traffic, drainage, community services, environmental quality, and community character.

A.    Applicability.

(1)    Site plan approval by the Planning Board shall be required for the following uses or activities except where such uses or activities require a special permit:

(a)    All new construction of any municipal, institutional, commercial, industrial, or multifamily structure or purpose;

(b)    All nonresidential additions, expansions or reconstruction exceeding one thousand (1,000) gross square feet or that would require a total of ten (10) or more parking spaces to serve both existing and new development, or any change of use which would require ten (10) or more additional parking spaces based only on new development;

(c)    Construction or creation of any new parking lot or the expansion or redesign of an existing parking lot with ten (10) or more parking spaces for a municipal, institutional, commercial, industrial, or multifamily structure or purpose; or

(d)    Land clearing or grading in accordance with Section 7-09-010, except as provided under subsection (A)(2) of this section.

(2)    A special permit with site plan approval shall be required for any use requiring a special permit, in which case the special permit granting authority shall also act as site plan approval authority. Land clearing and grading activities for a use requiring a special permit shall be incorporated within the special permit with site plan approval.

(3)    Minor site plan review by the Building Inspector and Development Review Team shall be required for the following types of uses or activities:

(a)    Any use or activity listed under subsection (A)(1) or (2) of this section that does not meet the minimum threshold for site plan approval by the Planning Board or a site plan special permit;

(b)    Alterations limited to the exterior of a building used or intended to be used for nonresidential purposes;

(c)    All uses listed in Chapter 7-05 for the Downtown Neighborhood District not requiring site plan approval by the Planning Board under subsection (A)(1) of this section or a site plan special permit under subsection (A)(2) of this section;

(d)    Any use or activity requiring minor site plan review under other provisions of this bylaw.

(4)    Exceptions.

(a)    Any activity, construction or installation conducted solely for the purpose of environmental remediation, approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, shall not be subject to this section.

(b)    New construction or alteration of a detached single-family dwelling or two-family dwelling shall not be subject to this section except when such alteration is associated with any use other than a single-family dwelling or two-family dwelling.

B.    Relationship to other permits and approvals.

(1)    No building permit shall be issued for any use or activity requiring site plan approval by the Planning Board unless a site plan has been reviewed and approved therefor, or unless ninety (90) days lapse from the date of submission of a complete site plan application without action by the Planning Board; and no building permit shall be issued for any use or activity requiring a special permit with site plan approval until a special permit has been granted therefor, or unless ninety (90) days lapse from the date of the public hearing without action by the special permit granting authority; and no certificate of occupancy or certificate of zoning compliance shall be issued unless the site is constructed in accordance with the approved site plan.

(2)    Any work done in deviation from an approved site plan shall be a violation of this bylaw unless such deviation is approved in writing by the approval authority or determined by the Building Inspector to be an insubstantial change.

C.    Site plan approval; Planning Board.

(1)    Procedures.

(a)    An application for a building permit to perform work as set forth in subsection (A)(1) of this section shall be accompanied by a site plan approved by the Planning Board.

(b)    Site plan approval submission requirements and procedures, including fees, shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Planning Board.

(c)    The Planning Board shall hold a public project review meeting with the proponent no later than forty-five (45) days from the date of submission of the proposed site plan. The Development Review Team and other reviewers shall forward their comments, in writing, to the Planning Board no later than the date of the public meeting.

(d)    The Planning Board’s decision to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the site plan shall be by a majority of those present, and shall be in writing.

(e)    If no action is taken within ninety (90) days from the date of submission, the application shall be deemed approved as submitted except where the Planning Board and the proponent have agreed in writing to extend the review period.

(f)    One (1) copy of the approved site plan shall be provided each to the proponent, the Building Inspector, the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health. One (1) copy of the approved site plan shall remain in the records of the Planning Board.

(2)    Decision criteria. The Planning Board shall approve a site plan if it determines that:

(a)    The site plan meets all applicable requirements of this bylaw;

(b)    Given the location, type and extent of land use proposed by the proponent, the design of building form, building location, egress points, grading, and other elements of the site plan could not reasonably be altered to:

[1]    Reduce clearing and grading on the site, or reduce the volume of cut and fill, the number of removed trees, the length of removed or altered stone walls, the area of wetland vegetation displaced, the extent of stormwater flow increase from the site, soil erosion, or threat of air or water pollution,

[2]    Reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from on-site wastewater disposal systems or operations on the premises involving the use, storage, handling, or containment of hazardous substances,

[3]    Improve pedestrian, bicycle or vehicular safety, both on the site and egressing from it,

[4]    Improve access to each structure for fire and other emergency service equipment,

[5]    Reduce visual intrusion by controlling the visibility of parking, storage, or other outdoor service areas viewed from public ways or premises residentially used or zoned,

[6]    Achieve greater consistency and compatibility with the surrounding area as to building design or scale, or site design,

[7]    Reduce glare from headlights, reduce light trespass from luminaires onto adjacent lots or the street, or light overspill into the night sky,

[8]    Avoid the removal or disruption of historic, traditional or significant structures or architectural elements, and

[9]    Reduce obstruction of scenic views from publicly accessible locations; and

(c)    Any variances required from the Zoning Board of Appeals have been granted.

(3)    The Planning Board may, in its approval of a site plan, impose reasonable conditions at the expense of the proponent, including performance guarantees, to promote these objectives. The Planning Board’s conditions shall become binding zoning requirements of the project. Noncompliance with the site plan or the conditions placed on said plan by the Planning Board shall be cause for action by the zoning enforcement officer of the Town of Northborough.

(4)    The Planning Board may deny a site plan only if the proponent’s submission does not include the specific information required to make the determinations under subsection (C)(2)(b) of this section.

(5)    Site plan approval shall lapse after two (2) years from the grant thereof if a substantial use thereof has not commenced, except for good cause. Such approval may, for good cause, be extended in writing by the Planning Board upon the written request of the proponent.

(6)    Approval of a site plan shall not substitute for the requirement of obtaining a special permit or other permits or approvals required by this bylaw.

(7)    The Planning Board shall adopt site plan approval administrative rules and regulations consistent with this bylaw and the laws of the Commonwealth.

(8)    Appeal. Any decision of the Building Inspector based on failure to obtain site plan approval or failure to comply with conditions of a site plan approved pursuant to this section may be appealed in accordance with MGL C. 40A, §§ 8 and 15.

D.    Special permit with site plan approval.

(1)    Procedures. The procedures and time lines for a special permit with site plan approval shall be the same as any other special permit and shall conform to the requirements of MGL C. 40A, § 9, as amended, and the provisions of Section 7-03-040. Submission requirements shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the special permit granting authority.

(2)    Applications for an industrial/office campus development shall be submitted in accordance with this section and Section 7-10-030.

(3)    Decision criteria. The decision criteria for a special permit with site plan approval shall be as set forth in Section 7-03-040 and the site plan approval criteria under subsection (C)(2) of this section.

(4)    If the proponent submits a single application for the use requiring a special permit with site plan approval, the special permit granting authority shall review and render a decision on the site plan as part of the special permit process.

(5)    Alternatively, the proponent may apply for the special permit prior to submitting a site plan for review, in which case the special permit granting authority shall act on the special permit application first and a detailed site plan submission thereafter. Approval of a site plan prior to issuance of a building permit shall be a condition of the special permit decision, and the site plan shall conform to any other conditions imposed by the special permit granting authority.

(6)    The Development Review Team shall conduct a technical review of the site plan and submit written comments and recommendations to the special permit granting authority. In the event that the Zoning Board of Appeals is the special permit granting authority, the Planning Board also shall conduct a technical review of the site plan and submit written comments and recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The comments and recommendations of the Development Review Team and, where applicable, the Planning Board, shall be maintained in the record of the public hearing.

(7)    Appeal. Any decision made by the special permit granting authority pursuant to this section may be appealed in accordance with MGL C. 40A, § 17.

E.    Performance guarantee. As a condition of site plan approval by the Planning Board or a special permit with site plan approval, the applicable issuing authority may require a performance bond or cash security to be posted with the town to guarantee completion of site improvements in compliance with the plans submitted and approved hereunder, or for land restoration not having to do with the construction of site improvements. The amount of security shall be determined by an estimate from the proponent’s engineer, which may be confirmed or increased by the issuing authority. The town may use the secured funds for their stated purpose in the event that the proponent does not complete all improvements in a manner satisfactory to the issuing authority, as provided in the approval.

F.    Minor site plan review.

(1)    Procedures and review standards.

(a)    Applications for minor site plan review shall be in accordance with the site plan submission requirements and procedures on file in the Building Department.

(b)    An application for a building permit to perform work as set forth in subsection (A)(3) of this section shall be accompanied by a site plan for review by the Building Inspector in consultation with the Development Review Team. Submissions shall be delivered to the Building Department.

(c)    Within five (5) business days of receiving a complete site plan, the Building Inspector shall distribute copies of the site plan to the Development Review Team.

(d)    Upon receipt of a site plan, the Development Review Team shall conduct a technical review of the plan and prepare comments in writing or by notations on the site plan, or both, within the context of each department’s jurisdiction. Site plans shall be reviewed for consistency with zoning, other applicable regulations, and professional standards. Comments shall be made to the Building Inspector within ten (10) business days of each department’s receipt of the site plan.

(e)    The Building Inspector shall convene a meeting of the Development Review Team and also may solicit advice from any other Town official or department as he deems necessary in order to make a proper determination.

(f)    Within twenty (20) business days of receiving a site plan, the Building Inspector shall notify the proponent of any approval or conditional approval of the site plan, stating the reasons therefor. The Building Inspector’s decision shall consider the comments and recommendations of the Development Review Team and any other Town department or official whose advice was requested.

(g)    One (1) copy of the approved site plan shall be provided each to the proponent, the Planning Department, the Town Engineer, the Fire Department, the Department of Public Works, and as applicable, the Board of Health. One (1) copy of the approved site plan shall remain in the records of the Building Department.

(2)    Appeals. Any decision of the Building Inspector pursuant to this section may be appealed in accordance with MGL C. 40A, §§ 8 and 15.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28; 4-23-18 ATM, Art. 35.)

7-03-060 Design review.

A.    Purpose. The purpose of design review is to preserve historic land uses and structures and to promote architectural and ecological considerations for the betterment of the community. Further, the design review process is intended to provide guidance to the proponent in the development or evaluation of site and building design, to establish principles and standards to guide development, and to promote the following objectives:

(1)    To strengthen the character of Downtown Northborough as the focal point of a prosperous rural New England community and as a destination for shopping, services and government;

(2)    To encourage development that is distinctive and appropriate to locations within other business districts, supportive of the function of the Highway Business District and Business South District as gateways into Northborough, and supportive of the function of the Business East and Business West Districts as neighborhood business areas and as gateways to Downtown Northborough;

(3)    To encourage development within the Downtown Neighborhood District that respects the character of established neighborhoods; and to encourage that more intensive uses, where they occur, draw upon appropriate local or regional models of traditional neighborhood design; and

(4)    To assure that future construction, alterations or additions maintain a relationship to the historic development of the town through appropriate design.

B.    Applicability.

(1)    Design review by the design review committee shall be required as part of the site plan approval or a special permit with site plan approval for any of the following:

(a)    In any business district, new construction or exterior alterations or expansion of any commercial, municipal, institutional or multifamily structure;

(b)    In the Downtown Neighborhood District, new construction or exterior alterations or expansion of any multifamily structure or any structure requiring a special permit;

(c)    In the Major Commercial Development Overlay District, new construction or exterior alterations or expansion of any multifamily structure or any structure requiring a special permit;

(d)    In any industrial district, new construction of any extensive uses, institutional uses, mixed uses, business uses, public service or public utility, or industrial uses; or

(e)    In the RC, GR, MSR, and DN districts, any special permit application to the Planning Board for a two-family dwelling.

(2)    Nothing in this section shall be construed to conflict with MGL C. 40, § 3, which prohibits the regulation or restriction of the use of materials or methods of construction of structures regulated by the State Building Code. In addition, nothing in this section shall be constructed to conflict with Chapter 1-60, Historic District Commission. Where there is a conflict between this section and said Chapter 1-60, that latter shall govern.

C.    Submission requirements and procedures. The submission requirements and procedures for design review shall be in accordance with the Design Review Committee’s rules and regulations.

(1)    As a part of the site plan approval or special permit with site plan approval process, the Design Review Committee shall review a proposed project and provide written recommendations to the applicable issuing authority within the review periods prescribed in Section 7-03-050. The Design Review Committee may conduct one (1) or more pre-application meetings with the proponent.

(2)    When a proponent applies for a special permit prior to submitting a site plan for review by the special permit granting authority, the Design Review Committee’s review shall occur in conjunction with the special permit granting authority’s review of the site plan under Section 7-03-050(D). The Design Review Committee shall review such plans in accordance with its design guidelines and any special permit conditions imposed by the special permit granting authority.

D.    Design guidelines. The Design Review Committee shall prepare and adopt design guidelines to assist property owners, proponents, architects and landscape architects with project planning and developing submissions for review under this section. The guidelines shall serve as a supplement to, and shall not be inconsistent with, the site development standards in Section 7-09-020. The guidelines shall be on file in the Office of the Town Clerk and the Planning Department.

E.    Appointment of the Design Review Committee.

(1)    The Planning Board shall appoint a Design Review Committee. Such Committee shall be chaired by a member of the Planning Board and shall additionally consist of four (4) members, as follows:

(a)    One (1) degreed architect;

(b)    One (1) degreed landscape architect;

(c)    One (1) representative nominated by the Chamber of Commerce; and

(d)    One (1) interested and responsible citizen of the town; or

(e)    A balance of representation as close as possible to this mix.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28; 4-27-15 ATM, Art. 47; 4-23-18 ATM, Art. 39.)

7-03-070 Fees.

The boards, commissions, or officers having jurisdiction over permits and approvals, variances, certificates of occupancy, or appeals pertaining to this bylaw shall establish and may amend a schedule of fees to be paid by applicants, including but not limited to technical review fees in accordance with MGL C. 44, § 53G and administrative fees. No permit or certificate shall be issued or any other action taken until all required fees have been paid.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-080 Enforcement.

A.    General. The Building Inspector shall be charged with the enforcement of this bylaw and shall withhold a permit for the erection, alteration or moving of any building or structure if the building or structure as erected, altered or moved would be in violation of this bylaw; and no permit or license shall be granted for a new use of a building, structure or land which use would be in violation of this bylaw.

B.    Enforcement request. If the Building Inspector is requested in writing to enforce this bylaw against any person allegedly in violation of the same and the Building Inspector declines to act, he shall notify, in writing, the party requesting such enforcement of any action or refusal to act, and the reasons therefor, within fourteen (14) days of receipt of such request.

C.    Penalty for violation. Any person, firm or corporation who violates or refuses to comply with any applicable provision of this bylaw shall be fined a sum not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300.00) for each such violation. Each day that any violation is permitted to exist after written notification thereof by the Building Inspector/Zoning Enforcement Officer shall constitute a separate offense. The town shall be the beneficiary of all fines paid, including the costs of prosecuting any legal action if allowable by law.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-090 Other laws and regulations.

This bylaw shall not be construed to authorize the use of any land or structure for any purpose that is prohibited by any other provision of the Massachusetts General Laws or by any other bylaw, rule or regulation of the Town of Northborough; nor shall compliance with any such provision authorize the use of any land or structure in any manner inconsistent with this bylaw, except as required by the general laws.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-100 Severability.

The invalidity of any chapter or section of this Part 7 shall not serve to invalidate the other chapters or sections thereof.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)

7-03-110 Amendment.

This bylaw may be amended or repealed at any Town Meeting of the Town of Northborough as provided by MGL C. 40A, § 5.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28.)