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Town of Plainville, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Plainville. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Application requirements for special permits and variances — See Ch. 803.
Comprehensive permit regulations — See Ch. 819.
Fees — See Ch. 828.
A. 
These rules are adopted by the Zoning Board of Appeals (the Board) for the conduct of business under MGL c. 40A, c. 40B, and c. 41, and Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville, and to establish uniform procedures for the exercise of the following powers:
(1) 
To receive and act upon:
(a) 
Appeals for decisions of the Building Inspector;
(b) 
Applications for variances (petitions and special permits);
(c) 
Applications seeking authorization and a comprehensive permit to build low- and moderate-income housing contemplated by MGL c. 40B;
(d) 
Other matters legally coming before the Board.
B. 
The provisions of these rules are severable. If any provision or application is held invalid, the other provisions and their applications shall not be affected thereby.
C. 
Full compliance with these rules may be waived by the Board provided such waivers are deemed to serve the public interest and do not conflict with MGL c. 40 or the provisions of Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.
A. 
The Board shall elect a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Clerk/Treasurer from its members annually. The Chairperson shall preside over hearings and meetings and shall decide all points of order, unless overruled by a majority of the Board. The Chairperson shall also supervise the Clerk/Treasurer, and generally supervise the Board's activities. The Vice Chairperson shall assume the responsibilities of the Chairperson if the Chairperson is unable to preside.
B. 
The Clerk/Treasurer shall be responsible for the clerical work of the Board, including correspondence, the sending of required notices, the receipt and check of petition and applications for compliance with Board rules, the keeping of minutes of the proceedings, and the compilation of records and files, including member attendance. Further, the Clerk/Treasurer shall establish and maintain a budget along with monthly reporting of disbursements made and remaining funds available. A clerical assistant, who may also be a Board member, may be employed.
C. 
Regular meetings of the Board shall be on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Office Building. The time and place of other meetings shall be posted 48 hours before the meeting. All meetings shall be public. All business pertaining to matters coming before the Board shall be transacted in the office of the Board. Members shall decline to discuss or consider appeals or applications at their offices or homes.
D. 
A quorum for a general business meeting shall consist of three members. General powers may be exercised at business meetings by a majority vote. For a favorable action on an appeal or to grant a Variance or special permit, the concurring vote of four members is required. The record of hearings shall show the vote of each member and whether a member does not vote or is absent.
E. 
Associate members may sit at a hearing in case of a vacancy or inability to act on the part of a member.
A. 
Applications should be reviewed by the Building Inspector. An informal preapplication meeting with the Board may be requested to clarify information needed to meet the requirements of Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.
B. 
Every petition or application shall be filed with the Town Clerk on an official Plainville form. If it is to be heard at the next scheduled meeting, it must be filed 22 days prior to that meeting. All information shall be complete and precise, identifying the applicable provisions of Chapter 500, Zoning, and the specific nature of the relief or permit sought. Such applications are limited to the owner of the property, a contract purchaser, or the owner's authorized representative. Proof of such authorization, acceptable to the Board, shall accompany the application.
C. 
Seven copies of the application and site plans shall be submitted to the Town Clerk. All sketches or diagrams must show clearly the nature of the specific application. The size should be 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, drawn to a scale of one inch equals 40 inches, and shall show a North point, names of streets, locations of buildings and uses of the lot, names of owners and locations and uses of buildings on abutting properties, parking areas, driveways and all other information pertinent to the application. The changes requested on the application shall be clearly identified. Copies of application and site plans are given to the Building Inspector, Planning Board, Board of Health, the Selectmen, Conservation Commission, and Water and Sewer Department by the Town Clerk upon receipt of the application. The Board may require the applicant to submit extra copies of the application, site plans, plot plans, and additional data as deemed necessary.
D. 
All appeals and applications shall be accompanied by a check for the regular application fee to cover the costs of recording and notification. This check is to be made payable to the Town of Plainville. The applicant is responsible for all costs incurred in excess of the regular application fee which will depend upon the extent of the notice and the number of properties owners to be notified.
E. 
The list of names and addresses of all "parties in interest," as used in MGL c. 40A, § 11, shall be secured by the Board from the Assessors' Office. Such list shall include the petitioner, abutters, owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way, and abutters to the abutters within 300 feet of the property line as they appear on the most recent tax list, and including such owners of land located in another city or town.
F. 
Board may waive full and complete compliance with the provisions of this § 810-3.
A. 
In connection with those applications involving technical, legal or other issues as to which the Board considers it necessary or desirable to engage an outside consultant or consultants, such as engineers, lawyers, planners or other appropriate professions, to advise the Board on those issues, the Board may, as a condition of permitting the applicant to proceed with his/her application before the Board, require the applicant pay a "review fee" consisting of the reasonable costs for the employment of outside consultants engaged by the Board to assist the Board in the review of an application. Upon the majority vote by the Board to engage any outside consultant and the determination by the Board of a reasonable review fee for the engagement of an outside consultant, the applicant shall, within five business days of the Board's request, deposit an amount equal to the reasonable review fee determined by the Board in a special separate account established by the Town Treasurer. The Board shall then have the right to direct the expenditure of funds, including accrued interest, from such account in connection with carrying out its responsibilities under the law. Expenditures from this special account shall be made only in connection with the review of a specific project for which a review fee has been imposed. Any excess amount in the account attributable to a specific application to the Board, including accrued interest if any, at the completion of the hearing on that application, shall be repaid to the applicant and a final report of such account shall be made available to the applicant. The failure of the applicant to deposit with the Town Treasurer the full amount of the review fee within five business days of the Board's request therefor shall constitute grounds for disapproval of the petition.
B. 
Any applicant may take an administrative appeal from the selection of the outside consultant to the Board of Selectmen. The grounds for such an appeal shall be limited to claims that the consultant selected has conflict of interest or does not possess the minimum required qualifications. The minimum qualifications shall consist either of an educational degree in, or related to, the field at issue or three or more years of practice in the field at issue or a related field. The required time limit for acting upon an application by the Board shall be extended by the duration of the administrative appeal. In the event that no decision is made by the Board of Selectmen within one month following the filing of the appeal, the selection made by the Board shall stand.
A. 
Public hearings on any appeal or application shall be held within 65 days after the filing of an application. In the case of a comprehensive permit, the hearing shall be held within 30 days of receipt of the application unless the time has been extended by mutual agreement between the Board and the applicant.
B. 
Notice of hearings shall be as required by MGL c. 40A, § 11:
(1) 
By publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of Plainville once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication being not less than 14 days before the day of the hearing;
(2) 
By posting such notice in the Town Offices for a period of not less than 14 days before the hearing; and
(3) 
By mailing, postage prepaid, to parties in interest at least seven days prior to the hearing.
C. 
No public hearing shall be held on any day an election or Town Meeting is held in Plainville.
D. 
All hearings shall be open to the public in conformance with MGL c. 39, § 23A.
E. 
An applicant may appeal on his own behalf or be represented by an agent or attorney. In the absence of any appearance, the Board may decide the matter based upon the information it has received.
F. 
Hearings will start at the time stated in the notice unless delayed because of prior hearings or for other reasons. They will be conducted on a formal basis as follows:
(1) 
The Chairperson will open the hearing, announce the names of the members present and read the notice or have it read.
(2) 
The applicant or his representative will present his case to the Board. Others in favor will then be allowed to speak, first giving their names and addresses.
(3) 
The Chairperson will then allow those in opposition a similar opportunity to be heard.
(4) 
Rebuttals and limited cross-examination may be allowed but all comments and questions must be relevant and seek information.
(5) 
Members of the Board may direct questions at any time during the hearing.
(6) 
When all facts have been presented, the Chairperson will call the hearing to a close and inform all present that a decision will be rendered in accordance with MGL c. 40A.
G. 
An application may be considered at a public hearing held jointly with other Town boards. If so, the hearing notice shall identify the purpose of the hearing.
A. 
The Board shall hear and decide appeals from any person unable to obtain a permit or an enforcement action from the Building Inspector, or any administrative officer, and from any board or officer of an abutting town aggrieved by an order or decision of the Building Inspector or other administrative official. The fee for an appeal of a decision of the Building Inspector shall be 1/2 of the application fee.
B. 
Such appeals must be filed with the Town Clerk no later than 30 days from the date of the order or decision which is being appealed.
A. 
The Board may act upon petitions for variances from the literal enforcement of Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. Such petition shall be supported by information sufficient to justify the grant, including:
(1) 
The identification and use proposed for the land or structure;
(2) 
The circumstances relating to said conditions;
(3) 
The shape or topography of the land and structures especially affecting the land or structure for which the variance is sought and which do not affect generally the zoning district in which they are located;
(4) 
The facts which make up the substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, which results from the literal enforcement of the applicable zoning restrictions with respect to the land or structure for which a variance is sought;
(5) 
The facts to support a finding that the relief sought will be without substantial detriment to the public good and will not nullify or substantially derogate from the intent or purpose of Chapter 500, Zoning.
B. 
The Board may impose conditions and limitations of time and use, but none based upon continued ownership of the land or structure. Any variance shall lapse if not exercised within one year of the date issued.
A. 
The Board is the special permit granting authority for all uses authorized in Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.
B. 
The applicant shall submit sufficient information, clearly and factually supported, to justify the issuance of a special permit. The applicant shall:
(1) 
Identify the particular use and extent of activity proposed for the land and buildings, if any;
(2) 
Show that the authorization sought will be desirable and without substantial detriment to the public good;
(3) 
Support a finding that the relief sought may be given without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.
C. 
The Board shall determine that the use shall not be noxious, harmful or hazardous and that the use shall be socially and economically desirable and shall meet an existing or potential need. The beneficial effects upon the neighborhood and environment must outweigh the detrimental effects of development which could occur if the special permit were denied, and no reasonable alternative to accomplish the applicant's purpose will be more compatible with the character of the neighborhood.
D. 
The Board shall grant no special permit without consideration of site plans concerning the following if appropriate:
(1) 
The extent of impervious areas, water supply, drainage and the layout and design of disposal facilities.
(2) 
Provisions and conditions designed to prevent or correct conditions detrimental to water resources, health, safety and welfare.
(3) 
Provisions and conditions to prevent pollution of ground- and surface waters.
E. 
The Board may refer applications to the boards and officials for review and recommendations.
F. 
An approved site plan, unless expressly waived, shall be a condition to all special permits. Such site plan shall be prepared by a registered engineer or a registered land surveyor, at a scale of 80 feet to the inch or larger, and shall be oriented to true North, and identified by date and name of petitioner and contain such other information as follows:
(1) 
Property lines, abutting owners of record, and buildings or other structures within 50 feet of site boundaries.
(2) 
Unique features of the area such as landmarks, exposed ledges of geological significance, and control points and bench marks used in triangulation and topographical surveying.
(3) 
Adjacent public streets and private ways.
(4) 
Topographic mapping showing existing contours at intervals of not more than two feet and contours of finish grade after conclusion of the operation.
(5) 
Proper provision for safe and adequate water supply and sanitary sewerage and for temporary and permanent draining on the site.
(6) 
Proper provision for vehicular traffic and control of entrances and exits from and to public streets and private ways.
(7) 
Delineation of fence locations.
(8) 
A separate locus plan with proposed site shaded to show relation of the surrounding road networks. The purpose of a locus plan is to indicate the general relationship of the special permitted uses to the Town, and the access to highways. The locus plan shall show the boundaries of the permit area and of the individual lots in relation to the boundaries of the affected zoning districts, and to public and private ways. Such a plan may be on an appropriate scale approved by the Board: one inch equals 200 feet, 400 feet, 1,000 feet. The Board may waive the site plan, in whole or in part, or may require additional information, as appropriate. The general purpose of a site plan is to assure proper drainage, safe access and egress, adequate parking, loading areas, signs, landscaping, screening, and consideration of the needs of abutting landowners.
(9) 
Information relating to the following existing features may be indicated on separate or combined plans: natural and man-made features, wetlands, wetland district boundaries, roads, public and private ways, driveways, means of access, parking areas, natural and landscaped vegetation, watercourses, dwellings and other structures, location of public water mains and hydrants, location of public sewerage facilities, and location of public utilities.
(10) 
Proposed uses shall be indicated also, including all new structures, changes in topography, landscaping, roads and ways, parking and loading facilities, water and sewerage facilities, and such other information necessary to fully describe the proposal.
(11) 
A narrative report is suggested to explain features shown on site plans. Such a report is recommended to explain the proposed conditions on completion of the development and should address the following issues.
(a) 
Compliance with Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. (Present and proposed future uses shall be identified as permitted or authorized by special permit.)
(b) 
Protection of adjoining premises from detrimental effects from the uses of special permits.
(c) 
Vehicular and pedestrian movement. (The present location, width, grades, drainage, driveways, as proposed, must be considered. There may be changes in the direction of traffic flow.)
(d) 
Arrangement of structures. (Buildings, towers, and signs must be considered in view of light, air, solar orientation, open space.)
(e) 
Parking and loading. (Number of spaces and locations must be adequate to service proposed uses without occupying too great an area.)
(f) 
Facilities. (Adequate sewerage, refuse removal, surface drainage, subsurface drainage.)
G. 
As appropriate, the applicant should indicate the means proposed to accomplish the following purposes:
(1) 
Protection of adjacent areas against detrimental or offensive uses on the site by provision of adequate surface water drainage, buffers against bright lights, sight, sound, dust and vibration, and preservation of light and air.
(2) 
Convenience and safety of vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and in relation to adjacent areas by provision of adequate access to cope with projected traffic flow patterns into and upon the site for both vehicles and pedestrians based upon an estimate of the projected number of motor vehicle trips to and from the site for an average day and for peak hours.
(3) 
Waste disposal by adequate methods.
(4) 
Protection of environment features on the site and in adjacent areas, by use of design features intended to integrate the proposed new development into the existing landscape, to enhance aesthetic assets, and to screen objectionable features from neighbors.
(5) 
Water supply from a public water supply system, or other sources of an adequate supply of potable water, together with lagoons, ponds or standpipes, with sufficient capacity for fire protection.
(6) 
Prevention of the pollution of surface water or groundwater, soil erosion, excessive runoff, changes in groundwater levels, and flooding.
(7) 
Provision for the special needs of handicapped persons in all structures and common areas available to the public.
(8) 
Protection from adverse environmental impacts resulting from noise, vibration, groundwater pollution from chemicals used or stored on the premises, or from storage of petroleum products.
(9) 
Security of persons and property without excessive demands upon municipal, police, and fire departments.
(10) 
Drainage, including use of porous as well as impervious parking areas and retention ponds to minimize runoff.
(11) 
Maintain density of building areas and height consistent with the customary uses in the Town of Plainville.
A. 
Site visits. If the Board fins that an on-site inspection is necessary, only those Board members sitting on the hearing, and the applicant or representatives of the applicant will participate.
B. 
An application may be withdrawn without prejudice by notice in writing received by the Clerk before notice of the public hearing. After such public notice, withdrawal of an application shall be permitted only by a majority vote of the Board. Such a vote shall not constitute unfavorable action.
C. 
No vote on an application may be changed after the meeting has adjourned.
D. 
No application which has been unfavorably and finally acted upon shall be reconsidered within two years unless the Board finds, by vote of four members, specific and material changes in the conditions upon which the previous unfavorable action was based, and unless all but one of the members of the Planning Board consents thereto. Notice shall be given to all parties in interest whenever such reconsideration is being considered.
A. 
The decision shall include all specific findings required by MGL c. 40A and by Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville, and shall be filed with the Town Clerk within 14 days after the vote is taken.
B. 
Copies of the decision shall be mailed forthwith to the appellant, petitioner, or applicant and to every person present at the hearing who requested that notice be sent to them. Each notice shall specify that appeals shall be filed within 20 days after the date the notice is filed with the Town Clerk.
C. 
Copies of the decision shall also be sent to the Planning Board, the Building Inspector, and to other Town boards and officials deemed appropriate.
D. 
The filing of the decision with the Town Clerk is the final action of the Board, and shall be made within 100 days after the filing of the application for a variance or appeal. In the case of a special permit, final action shall be taken within 90 days following the public hearing. In the case of a comprehensive permit, final action shall be taken within 40 days following public hearing.
E. 
The Board's decision does not become effective until the Town Clerk certifies that no appeal of the decision has been filed in Superior Court within the twenty-day statutory appeal period or that, if an appeal has been filed, it has been dismissed or denied and a certified copy of the decision is recorded in the Norfolk Registry of Deeds and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record or is recorded and noted on the owners' certificate of title.
F. 
The applicant or petitioner is responsible for filing the certified decision in the Registry of Deeds and for paying the recording fees.
G. 
A certified copy of the decision and an affidavit from the Registry stating that the decision has been recorded are necessary before a building permit dependent on the Board's decision may be issued by the Building Inspector.
H. 
Failure of the Board to file a decision within the statutory period shall be deemed a grant of the relief sought or a grant of the special or comprehensive permit. In the case of a comprehensive permit, the decision period may be extended by mutual agreement between the Board and the applicant.
Amendments or changes consistent with Chapter 500, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and the General Laws of Massachusetts may be made to these rules at any regular meeting by a majority vote of the Board. Such amendments shall be filed with the Town Clerk indicating the dates of adoption and filing.
These rules shall supersede any rules heretofore adopted by this or any previous Board.