Chapter 7-09
DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

Sections:

7-09-010    Land clearing and grading

7-09-020    Site design standards

7-09-030    Off-street parking and loading

7-09-040    Signs

7-09-010 Land clearing and grading.

A.    Purposes. The purposes of this section are to:

(1)    Protect the health, safety and property of residents of the Town of Northborough by regulating clearing and grading activities associated with land development, preserving existing trees and vegetation, preventing erosion and sedimentation of wetlands, ponds and other water bodies, controlling stormwater runoff, minimizing fragmentation of wildlife habitat and loss of vegetation;

(2)    Limit land clearing and alteration of natural topography prior to development review;

(3)    Protect specimen trees and significant forest communities from damage or removal during site development;

(4)    Protect water quality of adjacent wetlands and surface water bodies;

(5)    Encourage the use of best management practices that prevent and reduce nonpoint sources of pollutants;

(6)    Encourage land development and site planning practices that preserve the town’s scenic features without preventing the reasonable development of land;

(7)    Protect archaeological and/or historic resources.

B.    Applicability.

(1)    Except as provided in subsection (B)(2) of this section, this section shall apply to any clearing or grading of more than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of land, or in increments such that the total land area of abutting property within the control of any person graded in a twelve-month period will exceed twenty thousand (20,000) square feet. No person shall commence any grading or clearing as defined herein without first obtaining site plan approval by the Planning Board or, where applicable, a special permit with site plan approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Planning Board under Section 7-03-050.

(2)    Exemptions. The section shall not apply to the following activities:

(a)    Agricultural uses exempt under MGL C. 40A, § 3;

(b)    Clearing and grading in conjunction with construction of residential buildings or accessory structures if the land area to be cleared or graded is less than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet;

(c)    Removal of hazardous trees, as defined in this bylaw;

(d)    Routine maintenance of vegetation and removal of dead or diseased limbs and/or trees necessary to maintain the health of cultivated plants, to contain noxious weeds and/or vines, or to remedy a potential fire or health hazard or threat to public safety, when carried out by the Town of Northborough or by any agency of the Commonwealth or the federal government;

(e)    Maintenance of public and private streets and utilities within town-approved roadway layouts and recorded easements;

(f)    Construction or installation of public utilities;

(g)    Activities conducted under an earth removal permit issued by the Town of Northborough or an Order of Conditions issued by the Northborough Conservation Commission.

C.    Submission requirements. When a land clearing and grading proposal requires site plan approval under Section 7-03-050(A)(1), the submission requirements shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Planning Board. For land clearing and grading requiring a special permit with site plan approval under Section 7-03-050(A)(2), the submission requirements shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the applicable special permit granting authority. Site plan submissions shall include sufficient information for the Planning Board or special permit granting authority to determine that the proposed land clearing and grading complies, or will comply, with the provisions of this section.

D.    Review standards. The proponent shall demonstrate compliance with the following standards in the clearing or grading of the site:

(1)    Minimize site alteration and land clearing. Site and/or building design shall preserve natural topography outside the development footprint to reduce unnecessary land disturbance and to preserve natural drainage channels on the site. Roots shall be cut cleanly rather than pulled or ripped out during utility trenching. Tunneling for utility installation shall be utilized wherever feasible to protect root systems of trees.

(2)    Protect wildlife habitat. Activities covered by this section shall be designed in such a way as to avoid impacts to rare and endangered species and wildlife habitat on a site. This standard shall apply only to a site that the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) (a) has determined to include priority habitat, as documented in the Natural Heritage Atlas, or (b) has delineated as significant habitat, prior to the date of submission to the Planning Board.

(3)    Protect understory vegetation. Understory vegetation beneath the drip line of preserved trees shall also be retained in an undisturbed state. During clearing and/or construction activities, all vegetation to be retained shall be surrounded by temporary protective fencing or other measures before any clearing or grading occurs, and maintained until all construction work is completed and the site is cleaned up. Barriers shall be large enough to encompass the essential root zone of all vegetation to be protected. All vegetation within the protective fencing shall be retained in an undisturbed state.

(4)    Employ proper site management techniques during construction.

(a)    BMPs shall be employed to avoid detrimental impacts to existing vegetation, soil compaction, and damage to root systems; and

(b)    The extent of a site exposed at any one (1) time shall be limited through phasing of construction operations. Effective sequencing shall occur within the boundaries of natural drainage areas.

(5)    Protect the site during construction through adequate erosion and sedimentation controls.

(a)    Temporary or permanent diversions, berms, grassed waterways, special culverts, shoulder dikes or such other mechanical measures as are necessary may be required by the Planning Board to intercept and divert surface water runoff. Runoff flow shall not be routed through areas of protected vegetation or revegetated slopes and other areas. Temporary runoff from erosion and sedimentation controls shall be directed to BMPs such as vegetated swales. Retaining walls may be required where side slopes are steeper than a ratio of two to one (2:1).

(b)    Erosion and sedimentation controls shall be constructed in accordance with the most current edition of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines for Urban and Suburban Areas.

(c)    Erosion control measures shall include the use of erosion control matting, mulches and/or temporary or permanent cover crops. Mulch areas damaged from heavy rainfalls, severe storms and construction activity shall be repaired immediately.

(d)    Erosion control matting or mulch shall be anchored where plantings are on areas subject to mulch removal by wind or water flows or where side slopes are steeper than two to one (2:1) or exceed ten (10) feet in height. During the months of October through March when seeding and sodding may be impractical, anchored mulch may be applied with the approval of the Planning Board or applicable special permit granting authority.

(e)    Runoff from impervious surfaces shall be recharged on the site by stormwater infiltration basins, vegetated swales, constructed wetlands or similar systems covered with natural vegetation. Runoff shall not be discharged directly to rivers, streams, or other surface water bodies. Dry wells shall be used only where other methods are not feasible. All such basins and wells shall be preceded by oil, grease, and sediment traps. The inlets of all catch basins shall be fitted with filter fabric during the entire construction process to minimize siltation or such basins shall be designed as temporary siltation basins with provisions made for final cleaning.

(f)    The proponent shall be required to conduct weekly inspections of all erosion and sedimentation control measures on the site to ensure that they are properly functioning as well as to conduct inspections after severe storm events.

(6)    Revegetate the site immediately after grading.

(a)    Proper revegetation techniques shall be employed using native (noninvasive) plant species, proper seedbed preparation, fertilizer and mulching to protect germinating plants. Revegetation shall occur on cleared sites within seven (7) calendar days of final grading.

(b)    A minimum of four (4) inches of topsoil shall be placed on all disturbed surfaces that are proposed to be planted unless the Town Engineer recommends a different standard in written comments to the Planning Board or applicable special permit granting authority.

(c)    Finished grade shall be no higher than the trunk flare(s) of trees to be retained. If a grade change of six (6) inches or more at the base of the tree is proposed, a retaining wall or tree well may be required.

E.    Monitoring and inspections.

(1)    Prior to commencement of construction, the proponent, land owner, contractor and construction crew, Director of Public Works, Town Engineer, Building Inspector and site engineer shall conduct a meeting to review the proposed construction phasing and number and timing of site inspections.

(2)    Initial site inspection of erosion and sedimentation controls and placement of tree protection measures shall occur after installation of barriers around preserved areas and construction of all structural erosion and sedimentation controls, but before any clearing or grading has begun.

(3)    Routine inspections of preserved areas and erosion and sedimentation controls shall be made at varying intervals depending on the extent of site alteration and frequency and intensity of rainfall.

(4)    Effective stabilization of revegetated areas must be approved by the Town Engineer before erosion and sedimentation controls are removed. The Town Engineer shall complete an inspection prior to removal of temporary erosion and sedimentation controls.

(5)    Upon completion of the work, the applicant shall submit an as-built plan. The as-built plan shall include, at a minimum and as applicable to the project, elevation of all pipe inverts and outlets, pipe sizes, materials, and slopes; all other drainage structures; limits of clearing, grading and fill; all structures, pavement; contours; and all dates of fieldwork. The drainage system shall also be certified by a Professional Engineer stating the drainage system was built substantially in accordance with the design and will perform as designed. Upon approval by the Town Engineer, one (1) mylar and three (3) paper copies of the as-built plan shall be submitted in addition to an electronic copy compatible with the Town’s GIS system. The as-built plan shall be based on the 1988 NGVD vertical datum.

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

7-09-020 Site design standards.

A.    Purposes. The purposes of this section are to:

(1)    Provide adequate consideration for the natural resources and characteristics of a site, to its topographic, hydrologic and geologic conditions, to public convenience and safety, particularly with regard to abutters, and to the suitability of a proposed use on a site;

(2)    To promote consistency in site plan approval and special permit with site plan approval decisions under Section 7-03-050; and

(3)    To provide a framework for design review by the Design Review Committee under Section 7-03-060, where applicable.

B.    Applicability. This section shall apply to any use or activity that is subject to site plan approval or a special permit with site plan approval under Section 7-02-050. Where a special permit is required under this section, the special permit granting authority shall be the board with authority to grant site plan approval or a special permit with site plan approval, as applicable.

C.    General requirements for nonresidential and multifamily uses. In any zoning district, the following site standards shall apply to any business, industrial, institutional, or multifamily use that is subject to Section 7-03-050.

(1)    Stormwater runoff. Site design shall comply with Chapter 4-12, Illicit Discharges to the Municipal Storm Drain System.

(2)    Outdoor lighting. In the area of the new construction or addition, outdoor lighting, including lighting on the exterior of a building or lighting in parking areas, shall be arranged to minimize glare and light spilling over to neighboring properties. Except for low-level intensity pedestrian lighting with a height of less than eight (8) feet, all outdoor lighting shall be designed and located so that the luminaire has an angle of cutoff less than seventy-six degrees (76°) and a line drawn from the height of the luminaire along the angle of cutoff intersects the ground at a point within the development site.

(3)    Common driveway. A common driveway may serve two (2) or more lots used for business or industrial use; provided, that the common driveway is no wider than twenty-four (24) feet at any point where it crosses required open space or any parking setback area required under Section 7-09-030. The common driveway shall not be located or designed to derogate from the intent of this section.

(4)    Open space. The following standards shall apply to the minimum open space required under Section 7-06-020 and to areas used to satisfy the minimum landscaped buffer requirements identified in subsection (C)(5) of this section.

(a)    Open space areas shall be kept free of encroachment by all buildings, structures, storage areas, parking and interior drives, except for a driveway to gain access from the street.

(b)    Any landscaping on open space shall be designed to enhance the visual impact of the use upon the lot and adjacent property. Where appropriate, existing vegetation may be retained and used to satisfy the landscaping requirements herein.

(c)    Open space landscaping shall be maintained as open planted areas and used to ensure buffers between properties; minimize the visual effect of the bulk and height of buildings, structures, parking areas, lights or signs; and minimize the impact of the use of the property on land and water resources.

(d)    Open space areas may be used for stormwater management practices not inconsistent with the purposes of this section, such as but not limited to bioretention cells, filter strips, wet swales or stormwater wetlands.

(5)    Landscaped buffer requirements.

(a)    A landscaped buffer shall be required between abutting uses. The buffer shall be planted with grass, shrubs, or trees or a combination thereof, in accordance with the site plan approval authority’s rules and regulations and this section.

[1]    For any business use abutting a residential district or a lot with an existing residential use, a landscaped buffer of at least twenty-five (25) feet in width shall be required along the lot line between the business use and the adjacent residential district or residential use. This requirement shall not apply to residential uses located within a mixed-use development under Chapter 7-05, Use Regulations. However, a landscaped buffer conforming to this section shall be required between a mixed-use development and an abutting residential district or existing residential uses. As part of the site plan approval process under Section 7-03-050, the Planning Board or applicable special permit granting authority may approve a reduction in landscaped buffer width on a lot in the Downtown Business District if the proponent demonstrates that an alternative landscaping plan will meet the intent of this section.

[2]    For any industrial use abutting a residential district or a lot with an existing residential use, an open space area of at least fifty (50) feet in depth shall be required to mitigate the impacts of the industrial use on the abutting residential district or use.

[3]    For any business or industrial use abutting another business or industrial use, an open space area of up to twenty (20) feet in depth may be required, except in the Downtown Business District.

[4]    For any multifamily use abutting the Residence A, Residence B, Residence C, or General Residential District, a landscaped open space area of not less than twenty-five (25) feet in depth shall be required along the lot line between the multifamily use and the single-family residential district. When a multifamily use abuts an existing detached single-family or two-family dwelling in the Main Street Residential or Downtown Neighborhood District, there shall be a landscaped open space area of not less than twenty-five (25) feet in depth along the boundary(ies) of the lot abutting the single-family or two-family dwelling.

(b)    If there is not an adequate amount of buffer area to landscape, the site plan approval authority may approve a reduced buffer area or a fence as an alternative, except that chain link fencing is explicitly prohibited.

(c)    Landscaping, fencing or other screening shall be maintained in a manner that achieves the purposes of this section. In any area designated as open space or landscaped buffer on an approved site plan, the owner of the property shall replace any tree or shrub that dies within one (1) growing season. Replacement trees or shrubs shall be of similar type and size to species approved as part of the original site plan submission. Where fencing is used for screening, the fence shall be maintained in good working order or replaced as necessary.

(d)    Exposed storage areas, machinery, garbage dumpsters, service areas, truck loading areas, utility buildings and structures shall be screened from the view of abutting properties and streets using plantings, fences and other methods approved by the site plan approval authority.

D.    Additional standards for business uses. New construction or substantial alteration of existing nonresidential buildings in the Downtown Business District, the Business East District, Business West District, Business South District, or the Downtown Neighborhood District shall conform to the following standards. Where any of the standards in this subsection conflict with subsection (C) of this section, this subsection shall govern.

(1)    Building placement and orientation.

(a)    The front facade of a new building and the building’s principal entry shall be oriented toward the street. For a development with more than one (1) building on a single lot or a development with multiple lots, buildings located to the rear of a site shall face the access road that serves them. For any building(s), where appropriate, a building(s) may be oriented around a courtyard or respond in design to a prominent feature, such as a corner location, subject to review by the Design Review Committee and approval by the Planning Board or special permit granting authority, as applicable.

(b)    The proponent shall give full attention to the treatment of sidewalks, landscaping, parking areas and the building wall at the front, rear and sides. The main features of the architectural treatment of a building’s front facade, including the materials used, shall be continued around all sides of the building that are visible from a street or a pedestrian plaza.

(c)    Buildings, structures, fences, lighting, and fixtures on each site shall be placed so as to not interfere with traffic circulation, safety, appropriate use and enjoyment of adjacent properties.

(d)    Buildings shall be designed to avoid unarticulated and monotonous building facades and window placements, regular spacings, and building placements that will be viewed from the street as continuous or blank walls.

(2)    Signs. In addition to the requirements of Section 7-09-040, the following shall apply to signs in the Downtown Business, Business East, Business West, and Business South Districts:

(a)    Signage shall relate in size, scale, color and overall design to the general character of its location and to the specific context in which it is to be placed.

(b)    Wherever possible, signs shall be integrated with the building’s architecture and aligned to pedestrians on sidewalks, such as blade signs, single signs hung below canopies, or small signs on canopies or awnings.

(c)    For any building occupied or to be occupied by two (2) or more businesses, the proponent shall submit a master signage plan as part of the application for site plan approval or a special permit with site plan approval, as applicable. Said plan shall be reviewed by the Design Review Committee, which shall make recommendations to the Planning Board or applicable special permit granting authority.

(3)    Lighting. The proponent shall provide outdoor lighting, including lighting on the exterior of a building or lighting in parking areas, arranged to minimize glare, to not shine beyond the perimeter of the site, and to prevent light pollution. Wherever feasible, lighting of sidewalks or pedestrian walkways shall be from storefronts, canopies or awnings.

(4)    Location of open space. At least fifty percent (50%) of the minimum required open space under Section 7-06-020 shall be located in front of the principal building(s) facing the street and shall be landscaped in accordance with subsection (D)(5) of this section. The requirement of this section may be waived in the Downtown Business District if the proponent provides an alternative site layout that provides equivalent aesthetic and pedestrian benefits, as determined by the Planning Board or special permit granting authority.

(5)    Landscaping.

(a)    Landscaping shall be composed of noninvasive, drought-resistant plantings that may include trees, flowers, shrubs, succulents and ornamental grasses. High-water-use turf shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of all landscaped areas or open space on the site.

(b)    Visual relief from buildings and hard materials shall be accomplished with landscape treatments such as shrubs, trees, flower boxes and other greenery around buildings or in recessed places.

E.    Additional standards in the Downtown Neighborhood District. This section applies to new multifamily construction or substantial alteration of existing multifamily structures, or to any residential use requiring a special permit in the Downtown Neighborhood District under Chapter 7-05. Where any of the standards in this section conflict with subsection (C) of this section, this section shall govern.

(1)    Basic design principles.

(a)    The front facade and main entrance of a principal building shall face the street and must be clearly articulated through the use of architectural detailing. For lots with more than one (1) principal building, at least one (1) such building shall conform to this subsection.

(b)    The front entrance to a residence shall be defined by at least one (1) of the following: a porch of at least six (6) feet in width and depth, pent roof, roof overhang, hooded front door, or similar architectural elements.

(c)    Rooflines shall be pitched or gabled, and overhanging eaves shall be provided wherever possible. However, a flat roof structure shall be permitted if it is capped by an articulated parapet design that acts as a structural expression of the building facade and its materials.

(2)    Garages. Any garage, carport, or other accessory structure, attached or detached, shall be set back from the foremost facade of the principal building facing the front property line by a minimum of ten (10) feet. This requirement may be waived by the site plan approval authority if physical or other constraints on the lot make it infeasible to comply. A garage located under a building is prohibited unless the garage entrance is on the side or rear of the building and does not face a street.

(3)    Landscaping. The minimum open space required under Section 7-06-020 shall consist of land in its natural state or landscaped areas, and shall not include buildings or areas for parking, storage or display. Not more than fifty percent (50%) of the minimum open space required under Section 7-06-020 shall be located behind the principal building(s) on the lot.

(4)    Off-street parking.

(a)    Off-street parking spaces may be located in an attached or detached garage, in a dedicated parking area on the lot, or stacked within the driveway serving the property. When the parking spaces are located outside, the area used for parking shall be graded and drained so as to prevent surface water accumulation within the parking area and to prevent surface water runoff to an adjoining property or the public way.

(b)    No off-street parking shall be located within the minimum front yard setback, in front of any principal building or within the open space required under Section 7-06-020 except by special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

(c)    There shall be a landscaped buffer of not less than four (4) feet between any driveway and the nearest side lot line, and no paved surface areas and no off-street parking shall be permitted within the landscaped buffer. The landscaped buffer shall count toward the minimum open space requirement under Section 7-06-020.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28; 4-22-13 ATM.)

7-09-030 Off-street parking and loading.

A.    Applicability.

(1)    No building or structure constructed after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall be used or changed to a greater category of parking demand, as determined by subsection (B) of this section, except in accordance with this section.

(2)    This section shall be administered by the applicable site plan approval authority or the special permit granting authority authorized to issue a special permit with site plan approval under Section 7-03-050.

(a)    Where a special permit is required under this section, the special permit decision shall be made by the special permit granting authority under Section 7-03-050(A)(2) unless the proposed project is not otherwise subject to Section 7-03-050(A)(2), in which case the special permit granting authority shall be the Planning Board.

(b)    Where this section provides for modifications or waivers not requiring a special permit, the Planning Board shall act on such requests as the issuing authority for site plan approval under Section 7-03-050(A)(1), except that for a project subject to Section 7-03-050(A)(2), the board with authority to grant a special permit with site plan approval shall be the issuing authority for such requests.

(3)    This section shall not apply to:

(a)    Any building, structure or use of land that was existing or lawfully begun or for which a permit was issued prior to the effective date of this bylaw, except that any change in use to a greater category of parking demand shall be subject to this section.

(b)    Any existing building or structure that has been damaged or destroyed by fire or other disaster, and reconstructed to the same size or lesser size as previously existed, except that any change in use of the reconstructed building to a greater category of parking demand shall be subject to this section.

(4)    No existing off-street parking spaces shall be eliminated if their removal would cause the total number of spaces provided on a site to be less than the number required by this section, except by special permit.

B.    Off-street parking and loading regulations.

(1)    Dimensional standards.

(a)    An off-street parking space or parking stall is an all-weather, surfaced area having a width of not less than nine (9) feet and a length of not less than eighteen (18) feet for angle parking or twenty-two (22) feet for parallel parking. The required length shall be measured on an axis parallel with the vehicle after it is parked. The required areas, other than those serving one- and two-family dwellings, shall be exclusive of driveways and shall be permanently reserved for the temporary parking of one (1) automobile, and shall be connected with a street or public right-of-way by an all-weather surfaced driveway. In the case of single-family and two-family dwellings, all-weather surfaces shall not be required.

(b)    In parking lots containing more than fifty (50) parking spaces, ten percent (10%) of the required parking spaces may be designed for small-car or motorcycle use. Small-car parking spaces shall be not less than eight (8) feet in width nor less than sixteen (16) feet in length. Motorcycle spaces shall be not less than four (4) feet in width nor less than eight (8) feet in length. Spaces designed for small-car or motorcycle use shall be grouped in one (1) or more contiguous areas and identified by appropriate signage.

(2)    Parking and loading space requirements. The minimum number of off-street parking and loading spaces shall be as set forth below. Where fractional spaces result, the minimum number of spaces shall be the next highest whole number. For certain uses, a maximum number also applies. Off-street parking requirements for a use not specifically listed in this subsection shall be as specified by the Building Inspector based on a listed use of similar characteristics of parking demand generation.

(a)    Residential uses.

[1]    Single-family home, two-family home, cottage dwelling, townhouse or senior housing development: minimum two (2) spaces per dwelling unit.

[2]    Multifamily dwelling: minimum one (1) space per studio unit; one and one-half (1.5) spaces per one-bedroom unit; and two (2) spaces per unit with two (2) or more bedrooms; plus ten percent (10%) additional spaces for visitor parking.

[3]    Assisted living facility: minimum one-half (0.5) space per unit, plus one (1) space per employee on each shift.

[4]    Nursing home: minimum one (1) space for each four (4) patient beds, plus one (1) space for each two (2) employees on the largest shift.

[5]    Congregate residence: minimum one (1) space per unit, plus visitor parking equal to fifteen (15) percent of the total number of parking spaces for the units.

[6]    Accessory dwelling unit: minimum one (1) space in addition to spaces required for principal residence.

[7]    Home occupation: As required for the particular occupation and use, to be determined by the Building Inspector, in addition to required spaces for the dwelling unit.

(b)    Commercial uses. The minimum number of off-street parking spaces listed below shall be in addition to space for storage of trucks or other vehicles used in connection with a business.

[1]    Restaurant, bar: minimum one (1) space per four (4) seats, plus one (1) space for every two (2) employees on the largest shift.

[2]    Retail store: minimum three (3) spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet for the first ten thousand (10,000) square feet gross floor area, two and one-half (2.5) spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet for ten thousand one (10,001) to twelve thousand five hundred (12,500) square feet gross floor area, and two (2) spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet for gross floor area over twelve thousand five hundred (12,500); maximum one (1) space per two hundred (200) square feet gross floor area. Where a single parking area contains more than four hundred (400) parking spaces intended to serve more than one (1) retail establishment, the total number of off-street parking spaces required in excess of four hundred (400) may be reduced by twenty-five percent (25%).

[3]    Professional or business office: minimum one (1) space per four hundred (400) square feet gross floor area.

[4]    Personal or business service establishment; medical office or medical clinic; bank or other financial institution: minimum one (1) space per two hundred fifty (250) square feet gross floor area.

[5]    Hotel or motel: minimum one (1) space per sleeping room, and one (1) space for every three (3) employees on the largest shift. For hotel or motel with conference and/or restaurant space, add one (1) per two hundred (200) square feet of restaurant and function room floor area combined.

[6]    Place of assembly with fixed seating, such as a church, stadium, assembly hall: minimum one (1) space for every four (4) seats or, when benches are used, one (1) space per eight (8) lineal feet of bench.

[7]    Library, museum: minimum one (1) space per two hundred fifty (250) square feet of public floor area.

[8]    All other places of public assembly: minimum one (1) space for every five (5) occupants as determined by the State Building Code.

[9]    Theatre, cinema: minimum one (1) space for every three (3) seats for single-screen theaters; for theaters with more than one (1) screen, one (1) space for every five (5) seats.

[10]    Hospital: minimum one (1) space for each two (2) beds plus one (1) space for each two (2) employees on the largest shift.

[11]    Funeral home: minimum one (1) space per sixty (60) square feet of public floor area.

[12]    Bowling alley: minimum three (3) spaces per each alley.

[13]    Other commercial uses: minimum shall be the greater of one (1) space per three (3) employees or one (1) space per three hundred (300) square feet gross floor area.

[14]    Day care centers: minimum one (1) space per employee and one (1) space per five (5) children.

(c)    Industrial uses. The minimum number of off-street parking spaces listed below shall be in addition to space for storage of trucks or other vehicles used in connection with a business.

[1]    Office for administrative, executive, professional, medical sales and other similar uses, the normal operation of which does not involve retailing activities on the premises: minimum one (1) space per three hundred (300) square feet gross floor area, maximum one (1) space per two hundred (200) square feet gross floor area.

[2]    Laboratory for scientific, industrial research, research and development, or biomedical research and technology: minimum one (1) space per four hundred (400) square feet gross floor area; maximum one (1) per three hundred (300) square feet gross floor area.

[3]    Wholesale warehouse, truck freight terminal or storage warehouse: minimum one (1) space per one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet gross floor area; maximum one (1) space per one thousand (1,000) square feet gross floor area.

[4]    Light industrial use, including manufacturing, storage, processing, fabrication, packaging and assembly; printing or publishing facility; data processing center; or public utility building or structure: minimum one (1) per five hundred (500) square feet gross floor area; maximum of one (1) per three hundred (300) square feet of gross floor area.

[5]    Industrial park services: Restaurant: minimum one (1) space per three (3) seats plus one (1) for every two (2) employees on shift of greatest employment; bank: minimum one (1) space per two hundred fifty (250) square feet gross floor area and maximum of one (1) space per two hundred (200) square feet gross floor area.

(d)    Mixed uses.

[1]    For mixed uses in an individual building with up to five thousand (5,000) square feet of gross floor area or a parcel of land used for two (2) or more principal uses that fall into different classes of use, i.e., uses with different parking requirements occupying the same building or premises, the parking spaces required shall equal the sum of the requirements of the various uses computed separately, except where it can be demonstrated to the special permit granting authority under Section 7-09-030 that the parking needs for the uses occur at different times.

[2]    For buildings of more than five thousand (5,000) square feet of gross floor area with several distinct principal uses, such as a small shopping center or a retail building with upper-story offices, the total amount of required parking may be reduced by twenty-five percent (25%) for each additional five thousand (5,000) square feet of floor area.

(e)    Off-street loading spaces.

[1]    Retail store, service establishment: minimum one (1) berth for each five thousand (5,000) to ten thousand (10,000) square feet gross floor area; one (1) additional berth for each additional fifteen thousand (15,000) square feet or nearest multiple thereof.

[2]    Office buildings, research facilities and similar uses: minimum one (1) berth for each eight thousand (8,000) to twenty thousand (20,000) square feet gross floor area; one (1) additional berth for each forty thousand (40,000) additional square feet or major fraction thereof.

[3]    Industrial uses. No use of premises shall be permitted and no building or structure shall be erected or enlarged without adequate off-street loading facilities located on the same lot as the building or use to be served. An area of at least four hundred (400) square feet of appropriate dimensions, exclusive of drives and maneuvering space, shall be considered one (1) off-street loading bay. One (1) such bay shall be provided for each loading door.

(3)    Reserve parking spaces. The site plan approval authority may authorize a reduction in the number of off-street parking spaces required under this section, subject to the following conditions:

(a)    The decrease is not more than thirty percent (30%) of the total number of spaces required under subsection (B)(2) of this section. The waived parking spaces shall not be used for building area and shall be labeled as “Reserve Parking” on the site plan.

(b)    The proposed decrease in the number of required spaces will not create undue congestion, traffic hazards, or a substantial detriment to the neighborhood, and does not derogate the intent and purpose of this chapter.

(c)    The reserve parking spaces shall be properly designed as an integral part of the overall parking development.

(d)    In no case shall any reserve parking spaces be located within areas counted as buffer, parking setback or open space.

(e)    If, after one (1) year from the date of issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the Building Inspector or site plan approval authority finds that all or any of the increased reserve spaces are needed, the site plan approval authority may require that all or any portion of the spaces identified as increased reserve spaces on the site plan be constructed within a reasonable time period, as specified by the site plan approval authority. A written notice shall be sent to the proponent at least seven (7) days before the matter is next discussed at a meeting of the site plan approval authority.

(4)    Increase in parking spaces. The site plan approval authority may require an increase in the number of parking spaces required under subsection (B)(2) of this section; provided, that:

(a)    The increase in the number of parking spaces is no more than twenty percent (20%) of the total number of parking spaces required under subsection (B)(2) of this section.

(b)    Any such increase in the number of required parking spaces shall be based upon the special nature of a use or building.

(c)    The increased number of parking space shall be labeled “Increased Reserve Parking” on the site plan and shall be properly designed as an integral part of the overall parking layout, located on land suitable for parking development and in no case located within an area counted as buffer or parking setback. The proponent shall not be required to construct any of the spaces labeled as “Increased Reserve Parking” for at least one (1) year following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or certificate of zoning compliance. Where the increased reserve parking area is required and the proponent has otherwise provided the number of parking spaces required under subsection (B)(2) of this section, the area of land reserved for the increased number of parking spaces may be deducted from the minimum open space required under Section 7-06-020.

(5)    Special regulations for the Downtown Business District.

(a)    The minimum number of parking spaces for any nonresidential or mixed-use development shall be seventy-five (75) percent of the minimum number required under subsection (B)(2) of this section.

(b)    For a building in which at least forty (40) percent of the total gross floor area is on the second story or higher, the required number of parking spaces shall be eighty percent (80%) of the number that is derived under subsection (B)(2) of this section.

(c)    The applicable special permit granting authority may grant a special permit to allow use of parking facilities not on the same lot, provided the special permit granting authority determines that proper provision is made to ensure pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic safety and that the purposes of this section are met.

(d)    Personal convenience services, studios and art galleries that are located on the ground floor of a multi-story building and do not exceed seven hundred fifty (750) square feet of floor space are exempt from off-street parking space requirements. Only one (1) such exemption shall be provided per parcel.

(e)    For the number of parking spaces determined under subsection (B)(2) of this section, the special permit granting authority may grant a special permit to locate up to one hundred percent (100%) of such parking on a different lot than the lot with the building or use served by such parking, provided the special permit granting authority determines that such an arrangement is superior to on-site parking and/or furthers the Town of Northborough’s downtown planning objectives. All such arrangements shall be presented by the proponent in writing, reviewed by the town’s legal counsel and approved by the special permit granting authority, and recorded with the property deed.

(f)    Off-street loading spaces are not required for uses that do not exceed three thousand (3,000) square feet of floor space.

C.    Off-street parking design standards. The following design standards shall apply in the Downtown Business, Business East, Business West, Business South, and Downtown Neighborhood Districts to all uses except detached single-family or two-family dwellings, and shall be addressed in any plans submitted under Section 7-03-050. Where physical constraints on a site make it infeasible to comply with any standard in this section, the proponent may request a modification or waiver and propose an alternative design. In such cases, it shall be the proponent’s burden to demonstrate that it is infeasible to comply and that the proposed alternative meets the intent of the standard for which a waiver has been requested.

(1)    Access driveways and interior circulation.

(a)    For parking areas containing fewer than five (5) spaces, the minimum width of access drives shall be ten (10) feet wide for one (1) way use and eighteen (18) feet wide for two (2) way use. For facilities containing five (5) or more spaces, the minimum width of access drives shall be twelve (12) feet for one (1) way use and twenty (20) feet for two (2) way use, and the maximum width shall be sixteen (16) feet for one (1) way use and twenty-four (24) feet for two (2) way use. The maximum width of such driveways at the property line shall be twenty-four (24) feet. The minimum curb radius shall be fifteen (15) feet. The issuing authority may approve a modification of these width and radius requirements to facilitate traffic flow and safety. Each lot may have one (1) access driveway through its frontage. One additional access driveway for one (1) way traffic may be provided for each two hundred (200) feet of frontage, and all such additional access driveways shall be at least two hundred (200) feet apart measured from the centerline of each access driveway.

(b)    Access drives shall occupy not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the frontage of a parcel that has one hundred (100) feet or more of frontage nor more than forty percent (40%) of the frontage of a parcel that has less than one hundred (100) feet of frontage except by special permit from the applicable special permit granting authority.

(c)    Access drives shall be located so as to provide for safe access and egress to the parcel being served. No portion of an access drive at the street line shall be closer than seventy-five (75) feet to an intersection, except in the Downtown Business District, where such distance shall be a minimum of thirty-five (35) feet.

(d)    Wherever feasible, access drives shall be designed to minimize curb cuts on existing public ways. Subject to approval by the issuing authority, shared access to two (2) or more adjoining parcels may be provided through one (1) or more of the following methods: (1) a cul-de-sac or loop road or common driveway shared by adjacent lots or premises, (2) joint and cross access between the lot and adjacent uses, (3) an existing side or rear street, (4) a cul-de-sac or loop road shared by adjacent lots or premises.

(e)    Where a curb cut permit is required from the Massachusetts Highway Department, the location, width and number of access driveways and the construction thereof shall conform to the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) standards. The proponent shall make every reasonable effort to comply with the above requirements and those of MassHighway.

(2)    Location, design and construction of off-street parking.

(a)    Off-street parking spaces shall be located behind or beside the principal structure on the lot. No parking shall be located closer to the front lot line than the front line of the principal structure nearest to the front lot line. However, the applicable special permit granting authority may grant a special permit to locate up to twenty-five percent (25%) of the required off-street parking spaces in front of a principal structure, except in the Downtown Business District, and may also authorize a change in any maximum front yard setback where necessary to accommodate such parking. In granting a special permit, the special permit granting authority may impose design, surface treatment, landscaping, lighting and other requirements to mitigate the visual impact of parking areas on views from the road, and may regulate the location of the remaining parking to achieve the purposes of this section.

(b)    Except for parking within an enclosed structure, e.g., a parking garage, no parking space shall be located within eight (8) feet of a building wall. No access aisle, entrance or exit driveway shall be located within five (5) feet of a building. Loading docks are exempt from this requirement.

(c)    Each required off-street parking or loading space shall have adequate access to a street, either directly or via an access drive.

(d)    Except for shared parking approved under subsection (C)(3) of this section, required off-street parking spaces shall be located on the same lot as the building or use they serve.

(e)    All required parking spaces shall be marked by painted lines, curbs or other means to indicate individual spaces. Signs or markers painted or provided and maintained in good condition shall be used as necessary to assure efficient traffic flow within the lot.

(f)    Land in a residential district shall not be used for off-street parking accessory to or to service a structure or use in a business or industrial district, except by special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

(3)    Shared parking. The applicable special permit granting authority may grant a special permit for shared parking facilities, i.e., off-street parking serving more than one (1) use or more than one (1) property, subject to the requirements herein.

(a)    A reciprocal agreement shall be executed by all parties in order to ensure the long-term joint use of shared parking, and the agreement shall be acceptable to the special permit granting authority.

(b)    Uses sharing the parking facility shall be located not more than five hundred (500) feet from the closest parking space.

(c)    The special permit granting authority shall base its special permit decision on the following criteria:

[1]    The hours of operation of the uses involved;

[2]    The number of spaces required for each individual use under this section;

[3]    The degree to which vehicles occupying a particular number of spaces are unlikely to require the use of those spaces at the same time of day or same day of the week; and

[4]    The degree to which the proponent’s proposal promotes and accommodates other means of transportation to access the site, such as pedestrian or bicycle facilities.

[5]    In the event that any shared parking arrangement approved hereunder is discontinued or any associated conditions change, such as but not limited to any change in the use of such property(ies) to a greater category of parking demand, the proponent shall notify the special permit granting authority within fifteen (15) days. It shall be the proponent’s responsibility to comply with all applicable provisions of this section within sixty (60) days of the date of notification to the special permit granting authority or the date on which such notification should have occurred, or to request an amendment to the special permit in order to provide for an alternative shared parking arrangement.

(d)    The special permit granting authority may require the proponent to provide a parking study with all information deemed necessary to render a decision.

(4)    Landscaping and screening requirements.

(a)    Buffer areas.

[1]    Parking facilities with more than five (5) parking spaces shall be bordered on all sides, except for required access drives, with a buffer strip at least ten (10) feet in width, containing landscaping of sufficient density and height to provide effective screening for parked vehicles. However, where adjacent parcels agree to share a common parking area under subsection (C)(3) of this section, the issuing authority may approve eliminating the minimum buffer on all common property lines.

[2]    Trees planted in the buffer area shall be at least six (6) feet in height and not less than two (2) inches in trunk diameter immediately after planting, and shall consist of noninvasive, drought-resistant species. The issuing authority may approve the use of a fence, wall or other nonliving structure to achieve the purpose of this buffer, provided it is determined to be a more effective and suitable buffer than could be provided with living materials.

[3]    For vegetated swales located within a buffer area, the issuing authority may approve alternative buffer dimensions and buffer design standards than those specified above.

[4]    Wherever possible, existing natural vegetation and landforms shall be protected and incorporated into the buffer area.

[5]    The buffer area may be counted toward the minimum open space requirement under the dimensional regulations of the applicable zoning district under Section 7-06-020 and toward the minimum landscaped buffer requirements in Section 7-09-020.

(5)    Interior landscaping.

(a)    To separate parking areas from abutting streets, to provide areas for snow disposal, to break up expanses of vehicles and paved areas, and to provide beautification of parking facilities, at least ten percent (10%) of the paved area of a parking facility with more than thirty (30) parking spaces shall be landscaped open space. Such open space shall consist of the part or parts of a lot designed to improve the visual environment, and shall not include lot area used for parking or access drives or any other impermeable areas.

(b)    At least one (1) tree shall be provided for every ten (10) parking stalls in a parking facility, as follows:

[1]    Trees shall be at least two (2) inches in trunk diameter at the time of planting and shall be a noninvasive species characterized by moderate growth.

[2]    Trees shall be located in planting beds of at least six (6) feet in diameter. To the extent possible, tree plantings should be located in continuous islands six (6) feet or more in width.

[3]    The issuing authority may authorize shrubbery and other plantings instead of trees if it can be shown to the issuing authority’s satisfaction that the planting of trees is impractical.

(c)    To preserve landscaped open space from damage by parking cars and snow removal operations, bumper overhang areas shall be provided with permeable ground cover that will not be damaged by bumpers or vehicle drippings, and all landscaped open space shall be provided with suitable curbing.

(d)    The issuing authority may approve modifications to the above requirements for any interior landscaped areas or islands that serve as vegetated swales or bioretention cells. The number, dimensions and landscaping specifications for bioretention cells shall be determined by the issuing authority during its review of a proposed drainage plan under Section 7-03-050.

(6)    Lighting. Adequate lighting shall be provided in lots of more than ten (10) spaces if off-street parking spaces are to be used at night. Minimum security lighting must be provided in all lots serving other than single-family and two-family dwellings. All lighting shall be effectively shielded and shall be installed and/or aimed so as to shield nearby public or private streets and neighboring properties from direct glare, light radiation, or light pollution which may create a safety hazard or a nuisance.

D.    Off-street parking design standards for industrial uses. Any industrial use shall conform to the requirements of subsections (C)(4), (5) and (6) of this section.

E.    Pedestrian accommodation. The following requirements shall apply to all nonresidential uses or mixed-use developments in the Downtown Business, Business East, Business West, and Business South Districts.

(1)    Parking facilities shall incorporate clearly defined pedestrian connections between parking spaces and building entrances. Such connections shall be integrated into the internal landscaping whenever possible.

(2)    Continuous internal pedestrian walkways shall be provided from the sidewalk, parking lot, public right-of-way or interior access road to the public entrance of all principal buildings on a site. At a minimum, walkways shall connect focal points of pedestrian activity such as, but not limited to, building and store entry points, and shall feature adjoining landscaped areas that include trees, shrubs, benches, flower beds, ground covers, or other such materials for no less than fifty percent (50%) of their length.

(3)    Crosswalks shall be clearly recognizable through the use of raised, textured or color treatments in order to aid pedestrians in crossing traffic within the lot.

(4)    Where there exists along an exterior side or rear wall an entrance or exit normally used by the general public (not limited to fire doors and loading areas), such entrance or exit shall be provided with a paved walk with a seven (7) inch high safety curb extending at least six (6) feet along the building on either side of such entrance or exit.

(5)    In any location not served with a public sidewalk, any building, structure or use of land required to provide more than thirty (30) off-street parking spaces under subsection (B)(2) of this section shall provide a sidewalk at least five (5) feet in width along the frontage of the parcel, located between the principal structure facing the street and the right-of-way line of any existing, proposed, paper, public, or private street, or state highway.

(6)    A continuous landscaped strip not less than five (5) feet wide shall be located between the sidewalk and right-of-way line of the street in order to create a sense of enclosure for pedestrians. The issuing authority may approve a reduction in width of the landscaped strip in order to accommodate both a wide sidewalk and landscaping within the front yard setback.

(7)    Trees to be planted within the landscaped strip shall be a minimum of two and one-half (2 1/2) inches in caliper six (6) feet above grade, be a noninvasive species of canopy or shade tree, tolerant of future site conditions and reach an ultimate height of at least thirty (30) feet. There shall be at least one (1) such tree per twenty-five (25) linear feet of frontage, and shrubs or bushes at a minimum ratio of twelve (12) per tree. Where feasible and appropriate, canopy and ornamental trees, shrubs, planters and groundcover shall be arranged in groupings that reduce the optical width of the road. However, no landscaping treatments shall be permitted to obstruct clear sight distance.

(8)    Bituminous concrete or concrete paving is prohibited within the landscaped strip except for driveways and sidewalks.

(9)    By special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, the proponent may satisfy the requirements of this subsection through payment of a fee in lieu of sidewalks or landscaping to the Town of Northborough according to a fee schedule established by the Planning Board, with such funds to be deposited in an off-street parking, pedestrian and bicycle facilities fund.

F.    Bicycle accommodation. In any zoning district, the following requirements shall apply to all uses except single-family or two-family dwellings unless waived or modified by the issuing authority.

(1)    Bicycle parking facilities shall be provided for any new building, addition or enlargement of an existing building, or for any change in the occupancy of any new building that results in the need for additional vehicular parking facilities, as follows:

(a)    Multifamily dwelling: minimum of one (1) bicycle parking space or locker for each two (2) dwelling units or portion thereof, for up to ten (10) units; and one (1) bicycle space per four (4) dwelling units thereafter.

(b)    All other uses: minimum of one (1) bicycle parking space for every ten (10) vehicular parking spaces required under subsection (B)(2) of this section, for up to fifty (50) spaces; and one (1) bicycle parking space for every twenty (20) vehicle parking spaces thereafter.

(c)    In all cases where bicycle parking is required, a minimum of two (2) and a maximum of fifty (50) bicycle parking spaces shall be provided.

(d)    A maximum of two (2) required vehicle parking spaces may be used for bicycle parking spaces.

(2)    Minimum design standards.

(a)    Accessory off-street parking for bicycles shall include provision for secure storage of bicycles. Such facilities shall provide lockable enclosed lockers or racks or equivalent structures in or upon which the user may lock a bicycle.

(b)    Structures that require a user-supplied locking device shall be designed to accommodate both chain and U-shaped locking devices and shall support the bicycle frame at two (2) locations (not just the wheel).

(c)    All lockers and racks must be securely anchored to the ground or the building structure to prevent the racks and lockers from being removed from the location.

(d)    The surfacing of such facilities shall be designed and maintained to be mud and dust free. The use of rock or gravel areas for bicycle parking is permitted; provided, that edging materials such as landscape timbers are used so that the bicycle parking area is clearly demarcated and the rock material is contained.

(e)    Bicycle parking facilities shall be sufficiently separated from motor vehicle parking areas to protect parked bicycles from damage by motor vehicles. The separation may be accomplished through grade separation, distance or physical barrier, such as curbs, wheel stops, poles or other similar features.

(f)    Adequate maneuvering space shall be provided.

(g)    Bicycle parking facilities shall be located in a clearly designated safe and convenient location. Whenever possible, the bicycle parking shall be placed within fifty (50) feet of building entrances and in well-lit areas.

(h)    When automobile parking spaces are provided in a structure, the same percentage of required bicycle parking spaces shall be located inside the structure or shall be located in other areas protected from the weather.

G.    Modifications and waivers.

(1)    The issuing authority may approve modifications or waivers of the requirements of this section for compelling reasons of safety, aesthetics, site design or environmental impact.

(2)    Where this section requires a special permit for approval of a requested modification or waiver, the special permit granting authority’s decision shall be consistent with subsection (G)(1) of this section and the special permit granting criteria in Section 7-02-040.

(3)    Parking space requirements may be modified when one (1) or more of the following conditions are met to the satisfaction of the issuing authority:

(a)    Peak parking needs generated by on-site uses occur at different times.

(b)    A significant number of employees, tenants, patrons or other parking users of the site are common to and shared by more than one (1) use on the site.

(c)    A parking management plan approved by the issuing authority is implemented with occupancy of the building or buildings. Said plan shall include the implementation of such measures as car and van pooling, bicycling and public transit use sufficient to reduce the need for parking. The issuing authority may require periodic documentation of reductions in vehicle trips and parking utilization as a result of the parking management plan.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28; 4-22-13 ATM; 4-27-15 ATM, Art. 50.)

7-09-040 Signs.

A.    Purpose. Signs are a necessary means of communicating information. Since signs are intended to be seen, they attract attention and are one (1) of the most visible and apparent aspects of a town’s character. They tend to produce a lasting impression on residents and visitors, and they provide an indication of the commercial health of a business area and a town as a whole. Simplicity in design and restrained use of signs are necessary to prevent a sign overload, which creates clutter and is as confusing as no signs at all.

B.    Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1)    AGRICULTURAL SIGN - A sign which may have wording that may be changed periodically to advertise products raised or grown principally on the premises.

(2)    AWNING SIGN - A permanent sign which is affixed to or consists of a permanent or retractable awning or marquee permanently mounted to the exterior surface of a building.

(3)    BANNER SIGN - A sign intended to be hung either with or without frames, possessing characters, letters, illustrations or ornamentations applied to paper, plastic or fabric of any kind. National flags, flags of political subdivisions and symbolic flags of any institution or business shall not be considered banners for the purpose of this section.

(4)    BILLBOARD SIGN - A sign which advertises a business, service, product, commodity, entertainment or similar object or activity which is conducted, sold or offered on a lot other than the lot on which the sign is erected.

(5)    BUSINESS CENTER - Any aggregation of three (3) or more business or industrial tenants which share a common parking area.

(6)    CONSTRUCTION SIGN - A sign identifying the proposed building, the owner or intended occupant and the contractor, architect and engineers. A construction sign for more than a single lot will be considered to be a subdivision sign.

(7)    DIRECTIONAL OR INFORMATIONAL SIGN - A sign which is necessary for the safety and direction of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

(8)    DIRECTORY SIGN - A sign listing the name and location of the occupants of a site or building.

(9)    DISPLAY AREA - See “sign area.”

(10)    ERECTING - Any installing, constructing, reconstructing, replacing, relocating, relettering, except as specifically provided, extending, altering or otherwise changing of a sign. “Erecting” shall not include repairing or maintaining an existing sign.

(11)    EXTERIOR SIGN - A wall sign, projecting sign or awning sign placed on or about the exterior of any structure.

(12)    FLAG - See “banner.”

(13)    FREESTANDING SIGN - A nonmovable sign not affixed to any building but constructed in a permanently fixed location of the ground with its own support structure, including a monument sign, and displaying a sign face on not more than two (2) sides.

(14)    GASOLINE PUMP SIGN - The standard type of gasoline pump bearing thereon in the usual size and form the name or type of gasoline and the price thereof.

(15)    INDIVIDUAL LETTER SIGN - A wall sign consisting of individual letters mounted to a building surface without any background or frame.

(16)    MOVABLE SIGN - Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or to a building or permanent structure, which is designed to be portable, such as an A-frame, H-frame, T-frame, banner or flag, trailer sign placed on the surface of the ground, temporarily staked into the ground or a sign attached to a motor vehicle (registered or unregistered).

(17)    NEON SIGN - A sign which features exposed glass tubing filled with fluorescent gas.

(18)    OFFICE PARK OR INDUSTRIAL PARK - See “business center.”

(19)    PENNANT SIGN - Any lightweight plastic, fabric or other material, whether or not containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire or string, usually in series, designed to move in the wind.

(20)    PERMANENT SIGN - A sign that is permanently attached to a building or having in-ground supporting structure(s) or braces.

(21)    POLITICAL SIGN - A sign designated to influence the action of voters for the passage or defeat of a measure, or the election of a candidate to a public office at a national, state, county or local election.

(22)    PROJECTING SIGN - A sign which is permanently affixed to the exterior surface of a building or structure with the display area positioned perpendicular to the wall to which the sign is mounted.

(23)    REAL ESTATE SIGN - A sign which is used to offer for sale, lease or rent the property upon which the sign is placed.

(24)    ROOF SIGN - A sign attached to or erected wholly upon and over the roof of any building and supported solely on the roof structure.

(25)    SHOPPING CENTER - See “business center.”

(26)    SIGN - Any words, lettering, parts or letters, figures, numerals, phrases, sentences, emblems, devices, designs, trade names or trademarks, whether stationary or portable, by which anything is made known, such as are used to designate or locate an individual, a firm, an association, a corporation, a profession, a business or a commodity or product, which are visible from a public or private street or right-of-way and used to attract attention.

(27)    SIGN AREA - The area of the smallest horizontally or vertically oriented rectangle which could enclose all the display area of the sign, together with any backing different in color or material from the finish material of the building face, without deduction for open space or other irregularities. Structural members not bearing advertising matter shall not be included unless internally or decoratively lighted. Where sign faces are placed back-to-back and face in opposite directions, the sign area shall be defined as the area of one (1) face of the sign.

(28)    SPECIAL EVENT SIGN - A sign, which is to be portable, to announce a church bazaar, fair, circus, festival, business or shop opening, special sale by a store or business or similar event. Such sign shall identify the event and the date of the event, and it may display the event’s sponsor, organizer or main feature.

(29)    SUBDIVISION SIGN - A sign to identify the name of the residential subdivision and located on the property of the subdivision.

(30)    TEMPORARY SIGN - A sign that is used only temporarily, for a specific length of time, and is not permanently mounted.

(31)    TENANT - As used in this section, “tenant” means a business or other establishment occupying space within a building under an agreement with the owner, or the owner-occupant of the building.

(32)    TRAILER SIGN - A sign mounted on a vehicle normally licensed by the state as a trailer and used for advertising or promotional purposes.

(33)    WALL SIGN - A sign which is painted or otherwise permanently affixed to a vertical exterior surface of a building or structure with the display area positioned parallel with the wall to which the sign is mounted, and including such a sign affixed to a parapet or to the lower slope of a gambrel or mansard roof.

(34)    WINDOW SIGN - A sign, picture, symbol or message that is placed inside a window, drawn, painted or etched on the window pane or glass or otherwise attached in or on a window and visible from the exterior of the window, not including any part of a customary window display of merchandise or other product.

C.    Sign permits.

(1)    No sign shall be erected on the exterior of any building or on any land unless and until the Building Inspector has issued a sign permit. Application for a sign permit shall be on the form prescribed by the Building Inspector and shall include such information and drawings as the Building Inspector requires.

(2)    All signs erected hereunder shall be erected in the exact location and manner described in the permit.

(3)    The re-lettering of a sign shall be equivalent to the erecting of a sign, except when the original wording is reproduced.

D.    Basic requirements.

(1)    The only signs allowed in the Town of Northborough are signs that advertise, call attention to or indicate the person occupying the premises on which the sign is erected or maintained, or the business transacted thereon, or that advertise the property itself or any part thereof as for sale or rent and which contain no other matter.

(2)    Billboards and similar signs are specifically prohibited.

(3)    No sign shall be part of or attached to marquees or awnings.

(4)    Flashing, moving and animated signs are prohibited.

(5)    Signs containing electronic streaming messages are prohibited.

(6)    Changeable copy signs that provide a variable message, the content of which can be changed by manual or electronic means, are allowed.

(7)    No sign may be illuminated between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. except signs identifying police or fire stations or essential public services.

(8)    “No hunting, fishing, etc.,” signs not to exceed one (1) square foot are allowed.

(9)    Construction, erection and location of all freestanding signs shall be subject to the approval of the Building Inspector. No freestanding signs shall be erected if they create a safety hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic, in the opinion of the Building Inspector.

(10)    The location, by street number, for all nonresidential structures shall be included on the freestanding sign. The portion of the area used for the street address shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the allowed square footage and shall not affect the calculation of allowed sign square footage.

E.    Construction and maintenance of signs.

(1)    All signs shall be constructed of durable and weatherproof material. They shall be maintained in safe structural condition and good visual appearance at all times, and no sign shall be left in a dangerous or defective state. The Building Inspector shall have the authority to inspect any sign and order the owner to paint, repair or remove a sign which constitutes a hazard or a nuisance due to improper or illegal installation, dilapidation, obsolescence or inadequate maintenance.

(2)    No sign shall be painted or posted directly on the exterior surface of any wall, including windows and doors. All signs must be painted, posted or otherwise securely affixed to a substantial intermediate removable surface, and such surface shall be securely affixed to the wall of the building. However, the foregoing shall not prevent installation of a sign by individual letters or devices cut into or securely affixed to the exterior wall of a building; provided, that such letters or devices have a minimum depth or projection of one-fourth (1/4) of an inch. The material of the sign and intermediate surface, and the manner of affixing the sign to the intermediate surface and of the intermediate surface to the wall of the building, shall be subject to the approval of the Building Inspector for the purpose of protecting the safety of the public. Notwithstanding the foregoing, signs may be painted or posted on the interior surface of any wall, including windows and doors.

F.    Signs in residential districts.

(1)    The following signs are permitted in the Residence A, Residence B, Residence C, General Residential, Main Street Residential, and Downtown Neighborhood Districts:

(a)    One (1) wall sign or freestanding sign which does not exceed two (2) square feet in area, having the name of the occupant or designation of any authorized occupation permitted in the district, or both, shall be permitted.

(b)    One (1) wall sign, freestanding sign or temporary sign which does not exceed six (6) square feet in area, advertising the rental, lease or sale of the premises, shall be permitted; provided, however, that such sign shall be removed within seven (7) days of the rental, lease or sale of the premises.

(c)    Bulletin board accessory to a public or semi-public use, a school, hospital or place of worship or assembly, not exceeding ten (10) square feet in area.

(d)    Temporary signs not exceeding six (6) square feet in area may be erected to warn against contagious diseases, to warn against danger or to ensure silence where serious illness exists.

(2)    No sign shall be located over eight (8) feet from the ground to the top of the sign if attached to a building, or over six (6) feet from the ground to the top of any free-standing sign.

(3)    In a residential district, no illuminated signs shall be permitted except when associated with an allowed nonresidential use or a lawfully pre-existing nonconforming business use. Lighting of signs for nonresidential uses shall comply with subsection (D)(5) of this section.

G.    Signs in business districts.

(1)    Type, size and number of signs. There shall be not more than the following on each lot:

(a)    Downtown Business District.

[1]    Lot with one (1) or two (2) tenants:

[a]    Freestanding sign: one (1) freestanding sign; size not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet, height not to exceed ten (10) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign or twelve (12) feet to the top of the sign structure. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name(s) of tenant(s) of the facility, in a fixed manner, and may have an additional sixteen (16) square feet of space for changeable copy message.

[b]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet.

[c]    Directory sign: one (1) directory of the tenants of the building, affixed to the exterior wall. The area of the directory sign shall not exceed one (1) square foot for each tenant of the building.

[2]    Lot with three (3) or more tenants.

[a]    Freestanding sign: one (1) freestanding sign for each ten (10) tenants; size not to exceed forty (40) square feet, height not to exceed ten (10) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign or twelve (12) feet to the top of the sign structure. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name of the facility in a fixed manner, and may include space for listing of individual tenants, and may have an additional twenty (20) square feet of space for changeable copy message. When more than one (1) freestanding sign on a lot, there shall be not less than fifty (50) feet between signs and no sign shall be located so as to obstruct the viewing of any other sign.

[b]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet for each tenant, attached to the wall of the store, or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not exceeding thirty-two (32) square feet.

[c]    Directory sign: one (1) directory of the tenants affixed to the exterior wall of the building. Such directory sign shall not exceed an area determined on the basis of one (1) square foot for each tenant of the building.

(b)    Business East, Business West, and Business South Districts.

[1]    Lot with one (1) or two (2) tenants.

[a]    Freestanding sign: one (1) freestanding sign, size not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area, height not to exceed ten (10) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign or twelve (12) feet to the top of the sign structure. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name(s) of the tenant(s), in a fixed manner, and may have an additional sixteen (16) square feet of space for changeable-copy message.

[b]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet.

[c]    Directory sign: one (1) directory of the tenants of the facility, affixed to the exterior wall. Such directory sign shall not exceed an area determined on the basis of one (1) square foot for each tenant of the building.

[2]    Lot with three (3) or more tenants.

[a]    Freestanding sign: one (1) freestanding sign for each ten (10) tenants located on the lot; size not to exceed fifty (50) square feet, height not to exceed ten (10) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign or twelve (12) feet to the top of the sign structure. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name of the facility in a fixed manner and may have space for listings of individual tenants and may have an additional twenty-five (25) square feet of space for changeable-copy message. When there is more than one (1) freestanding sign on a lot, there shall be not less than fifty (50) feet between signs, and no sign shall be located to obstruct the viewing of any other sign.

[b]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet for each tenant, attached to the wall of the store, or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not exceeding thirty-two (32) square feet.

[c]    Directory sign: one (1) directory of the tenants of the building affixed to the exterior wall of the building. Such directory sign shall not exceed an area determined on the basis of one (1) square foot for each tenant of the building.

(c)    Highway Business District.

[1]    Lot with one (1) or two (2) tenants.

[a]    Freestanding sign. Not more than one (1) freestanding sign, size not to exceed one hundred (100) square feet, height not to exceed twenty (20) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name(s) of the tenant(s), in a fixed manner, and may have an additional fifty (50) square feet of space for changeable-copy message.

[b]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign, size not to exceed one hundred (100) square feet or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not to exceed one hundred (100) square feet.

[c]    Directory sign: one (1) directory of the tenants of the building affixed to the exterior wall. Such directory sign shall not exceed an area determined on the basis of one (1) square foot for each tenant of the building.

[2]    Lot with three (3) or more tenants.

[a]    Freestanding sign. Not more than one (1) freestanding sign for each ten (10) tenants located on the lot; size not to exceed one hundred (100) square feet, height not to exceed twenty (20) feet as measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign. The freestanding sign shall indicate the name of the facility in a fixed manner and may have space for listings of individual tenants and may have an additional fifty (50) square feet of space for changeable-copy message. When there is more than one (1) freestanding sign on a lot, there shall be not less than fifty (50) feet between signs, and no sign shall be located to obstruct the viewing of any other sign.

[3]    Wall sign: one (1) wall sign not to exceed one hundred (100) square feet for each tenant, attached to the wall of the store, or two (2) wall signs with a combined total area not exceeding one hundred (100) square feet.

[4]    Directory sign. There may be not more than one (1) directory of the tenants of the building affixed to the exterior wall of the building. Such directory sign shall not exceed an area determined on the basis of one (1) square foot for each occupant or tenant of the building.

(2)    Location.

(a)    A freestanding sign shall be permitted only when erected on the property which is advertised, and no portion of the sign shall be located within the airspace above any other abutting property.

(b)    A wall sign attached to a building shall be securely affixed to one (1) of the walls of the building. The sign shall not project beyond the face of any other wall of the building or above the top of the wall to which it is attached, nor shall it be located on the roof of any building. In the case of a sign parallel to the wall, the sign shall not project more than twelve (12) inches. In the case of a sign perpendicular to the wall, the sign shall not project more than six (6) feet from the face of the wall to which it is attached. If the sign is attached to a parapet, it shall not exceed the height of the parapet.

(c)    In no case shall any sign or part thereof project over a property line or over a public way.

(3)    Temporary signs. Signs for the purpose of announcing a special day or event and not to exist more than fifty-six (56) days per calendar year shall be permitted. The Board of Selectmen may grant an extension of this time period. One (1) exterior movable sign shall be limited to fifteen (15) square feet. One (1) temporary sign shall be permitted for each freestanding sign as permitted by this section. Temporary signs shall be placed a minimum distance of thirty (30) feet apart from each other. Temporary signs affixed to the inside of a window shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the window area of the storefront. To place a temporary sign on property other than that which is being advertised, the applicant must have written permission from the landowner and the Board of Selectmen.

H.    Signs in the Industrial District.

(1)    Signs shall be allowed that advertise the name of the firm or goods or services available or manufactured on the premises; provided, that:

(a)    No sign shall project over a street or way used by the public.

(b)    The total area of all signs shall not exceed two hundred (200) square feet.

(c)    No sign shall move or flash or be designed to attract the eye by intermittent or repeated motions.

(d)    No sign shall be illuminated by exposed neon or fluorescent tubes.

(e)    No sign shall constitute a hazard to vehicular traffic by the direction of and amount of its illumination.

(f)    The length of the sign shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the total width of the wall to which it is attached.

(g)    All lettering is to be open and the height of the letters shall be limited to eight (8) feet.

(h)    Such signs shall be attached and parallel to a building wall or roof, and the top of the sign shall not project higher than forty-two (42) inches above the main cornice line of the building or extend beyond the end of the building or project more than twenty-four (24) inches out from the building wall.

(2)    No more than two (2) directional signs may be erected in any required front yard, and each shall be limited to four (4) square feet in area.

(3)    Freestanding signs. Freestanding signs shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in height measured from the ground to the highest point of the sign or sign structure, and shall not exceed forty-two (42) square feet in area. An additional twenty (20) square feet may be added for changeable copy message.

I.    Auto filling or service stations. The standard type of gasoline pump bearing thereon in usual size and form the name or type of gasoline and the price thereof shall not be deemed to be in violation of this chapter.

J.    Agricultural signs. One (1) sign not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet shall be allowed, and the wording may be changed periodically to advertise products raised or grown principally on the premises.

K.    Permit not required. The following types of signs do not require a permit from the Building Inspector:

(1)    Real estate signs advertising rent, lease or sale are permitted; provided, that:

(a)    The sign shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area.

(b)    The sign shall advertise only the premises on which it is located.

(c)    The sign shall be removed no more than one (1) week after the completion of the sale or rental.

(2)    Construction signs.

(a)    The sign shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area.

(b)    The sign shall be maintained on the premises during construction and shall be removed upon completion of the construction or issuance of a certificate of occupancy and use, whichever occurs first.

(3)    Real estate signs advertising an open house event.

(a)    The sign shall not exceed six (6) square feet in area.

(b)    The sign may be erected on private property provided permission from the property owner has been granted. Upon request by the building inspector, a copy of the letter granting such permission shall be provided to the building inspector.

(c)    The sign shall only be erected on the day of the open house and shall be removed at the conclusion of the open house each day. The date of the open house shall be included on the sign.

(4)    Signs not exceeding one (1) square foot in area and bearing only property numbers, post box numbers, or names of occupants of premises.

(5)    Flags and insignia of any government, except when displayed in connection with commercial promotion.

(6)    Legal notices, identification information or direction signs erected by governmental bodies.

(7)    Integral decorative or architectural features of buildings, except letters, trademarks, moving parts, or moving lights.

(8)    Signs directing and guiding traffic and parking on private property, but bearing no advertising matter.

(9)    Noncommercial message. Sign for nonprofit organization; sign which displays no commercial message; “open” and “closed” signs; and/or similar type of sign which is subject to the approval of the Building Inspector.

(4-27-09 ATM, Art. 31; 4-26-10 ATM, Art. 28; 4-28-14 ATM, Art. 41; 4-27-15 ATM, Arts. 44, 45.)