[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of North Adams 9-14-1965; amended in its entirety 1-12-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCESAttachment 1 - Appendix A Attachment 2 - Appendix B
Building Code — See Ch. 3.
Preservation of historically significant buildings — See Ch. 3A.
Licenses and permits generally — See Ch. 12.
Subdivisions — See Ch. 22.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
This ordinance is adopted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Laws, as amended, to regulate the use of land, buildings and structures to the full extent of the independent constitutional powers of municipalities in the general interests of public health, safety and welfare, including but not limited to the following objectives:
To prevent overcrowding of land, to secure safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers, to conserve health, to provide adequate light and air, to avoid undue concentration of population, and to lessen congestion in the streets;
To facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water supply, drainage, sewerage, schools, parks, open space and other public requirements and to encourage housing for persons of all income levels;
To encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the City, including consideration of the recommendations of the Master Plan adopted by the Planning Board;
To conserve the value of land and buildings, including conservation of natural resources and the prevention of blight and pollution of the environment;
To preserve and increase amenities by the promulgation of regulations designed to:
Protect the City's significant environmental features such as floodplains and flood-prone areas, wetlands, rivers, brooks, ponds, water resources, woodlands, areas of scenic beauty and sites and structures of historic importance.
Preserve the natural, scenic and aesthetic qualities of the community.
Minimize the adverse effects of development on the City's unique environmental and historic features.
Further the objectives of the City's Comprehensive Plan.
Employ cooperatively the various measures taken by the municipal agencies, under diverse legislative authority, including the State Environmental Code, Wetlands Protection Act, subdivision control legislation and the State Building Code, for the protection and enhancement of the City's existing character and in the interests of the City's growth.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Division into districts: For the purpose of this ordinance, the City of North Adams is hereby divided into the following classes of districts:
Building Zone Map: Said districts are as shown, defined and bounded on the map in two sections accompanying this ordinance entitled, "Building Zone Map, City of North Adams, dated December 28, 1956," and any revisions thereto, both sections bearing the signatures of the then-Mayor, City Manager and City Clerk, and filed in the office of the City Clerk. Said map and all explanatory matter thereon are hereby declared to be a part of this ordinance.
Zoning of streets: Zoning districts shall include the beds of streets lying within them. When opposite sides of a street lie in different districts, the boundary shall be deemed to be the center of the right-of-way.
Location of district boundaries: Where a district boundary is clearly shown on the Building Zone Map as following a lot line, such boundary shall be deemed to coincide with the corresponding lot line as it appears on the Tax Map of the City of North Adams on the date of the adoption of such zoning district boundary. Where a zoning district boundary is indicated by measurement, such boundary shall be measured perpendicularly to the street line unless otherwise indicated.
Land under water: Each district shall include the land lying under any lake, pond or stream therein.
Lots lying in more than one district: In the case of lots lying in more than one district, the provisions of the less restrictive district may be applied for a distance of not over 25 feet into the more restrictive district, provided that such lot has frontage on a street in the less restrictive district.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Use Regulations: No building or structure shall be erected or used and no premises shall be used except as set forth in the "Use Regulation Schedule" in Section 3.2. Symbols employed shall mean the following:
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Compliance with ordinance: No land, building or premises, or part thereof, shall hereafter be used, and no building or part thereof, or other structure, shall be constructed, reconstructed, extended, enlarged, moved or altered except in conformity with this ordinance. No lot shall have an area, width or a front, side or rear yard less than that set forth in the applicable paragraph hereof, except as otherwise specifically provided in this ordinance. No building or buildings shall occupy in the aggregate a greater percentage of lot area, nor be greater in height, than as set forth in the applicable paragraph hereof, except as otherwise specifically provided in this ordinance.
Reduction of lot area or dimensions: No lot shall be diminished, nor shall any yard, court, or any other open space be reduced, except in conformity with this ordinance.
One building per lot: Not more than one principal building shall be erected on a lot unless each such building is served by access determined by the Building Inspector, after consultation with the Planning Board, to be functionally equivalent to that required under the Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land in North Adams. In addition not more than one residential structure shall be erected on a single lot except by special permit from the Planning Board upon a determination that each building will have access which is functionally equivalent to that required under the Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land in North Adams.
Buildings to have access on street: Every dwelling or principal building hereafter erected or moved shall be on a lot having frontage on a street as defined in Section 13, Definitions.
Required lot frontage: No building shall be built on any lot unless such lot has the required frontage.
Open space required for each building: Except as specifically provided herein, no part of any yard or other open space required about any building may be included as part of a yard or other open space required for any other building.
Projection into open spaces: Nothing in this ordinance shall prohibit the projection of not more than one foot into a required open space of pilaster, columns, belt courses, sills, cornices, or other similar architectural features, nor the planting or landscaping of such open spaces except as provided in Section 4.11 herein.
Density of residential use: In no case shall the number of sleeping accommodations exceed three per unit of land area appearing under the heading "minimum lot area per dwelling unit" in residential districts, rural districts and in all other areas of the City not serviced by public sewer. In commercial districts, the total number of sleeping accommodations on any lot shall not exceed seven for each unit of land area appearing under the heading "minimum lot area per dwelling unit" in the table applicable to the district in which such lot is located.
Editor's Note: Appendix B, Dimensional Regulation Schedule, is included as an attachment to this chapter.
Accessory buildings: Accessory buildings, attached or detached, may be located upon the lot, so as not to encroach upon any required front, side or rear yard. Detached accessory buildings not more than 12 feet in height and not used for human habitation or for the housing of animals may be located in the required rear yard, and in so much of the required side yard as lies not less than 75 feet from any street line, provided that they are not less than four feet from any side or rear lot line and provided further that they occupy in the aggregate not more than 20% of the area of the required rear yard. By agreement of the owners of adjacent lots, accessory buildings, with the same limitation of use, height and area, may be located in the required rear yard on the lot line, provided that the party or other walls on the lot line are of masonry construction.
Obstructions at street intersections: No fence, wall, hedge, shrubbery or other obstruction to vision in excess of three feet in height shall be placed or allowed to grow at street intersections within the area formed by a line joining points on each front lot line 20 feet from the intersection of the tangents of such streets.
Use of land for access or parking: The use of land for access to or for parking in connection with a use shall be considered to be accessory to and part of such use, except that this provision shall not prohibit access across a commercial district to a use lying in an industrial district.
Lots adjacent to a railroad: In the case of that portion of a lot in a district other than a residence district, where contiguous to a railroad right-of-way, no rear yard shall be required.
Lots on Hoosac River: In the case of lots bordering the Hoosac River or either branch thereof, no building shall be built nearer than 15 feet from the bank of the river, as established by the City Engineer, and no land within such distance shall be filled in any manner to obstruct the flow of the river at any time.
Required buffer areas for commercial districts: In cases when the site abuts a residential district a buffer area shall be provided. Such buffer shall not be less than 25 feet in width and planted with evergreens in no fewer than two rows no further than 15 feet apart along each row, staggered to provide maximum screening, and using trees not less than five feet in height at time of planting. The Building Inspector may require additional buffer width or area or more mature plantings if unusual conditions demand more extensive screening. Such buffer areas are not required for frontage on a road. The approved planting plan must be effectuated before a certificate of occupancy is issued. If construction is completed during a non-planting season, a bond or certified check for an amount to cover planting costs, as determined by the City Engineer, shall be posted with the Treasurer of the City of North Adams.
Outside storage: Except for the off-street parking of vehicles of customers and employees, the outside storage of goods, equipment and vehicles shall not exceed in ground area coverage more than 50% of the coverage of the building or buildings and shall be suitably screened from view from the public highway and adjoining property by appropriate fencing, grading or landscaping.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Existing uses continued: Any structures or uses lawfully existing on the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance may be continued in accordance with the provisions of General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 6. Any subsequent and substantial alteration, reconstruction or extension of a nonconforming use or structure may be authorized by a special permit issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals which will be granted only if the Board finds that the proposed alteration, reconstruction or extension will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than is the existing nonconforming use. The issuance of a special permit hereunder shall not authorize the violation of any dimensional, parking or other regulation with which the structure or use was theretofore in conformity.
Abandonment of a nonconforming use: A nonconforming use which has been abandoned or discontinued for a period of more than two years or has been replaced by a conforming use shall lose the protection set forth above in Section 5.1, except to the extent that the nonconforming use or structure may be authorized by a special permit issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals which will be granted only if the Board finds that the proposed alteration, reconstruction or extension will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than is the existing nonconforming use, and the real estate taxes on the subject property have been continuously paid and the owner is otherwise in compliance with all the municipal ordinances, rules and regulations, including all Board of Health regulations.
Single lot exemption for single- and two-family use: A lot for single- or two-family residential use shall be exempt from any increase in area, frontage, width, yard or depth requirements resulting from the adoption or amendment of this ordinance, provided that:
The lot was not held in common ownership with any adjoining land at the time of recording or endorsement, whichever occurs sooner;
The lot conformed to existing zoning requirements at such time; and
The lot has at least 5,000 square feet of area and at least 50 feet of frontage.
Reconstruction of nonconforming structures damaged by fire or other casualty: A structure which has been destroyed by fire or other accidental or natural causes may be restored to its original condition, regardless of any nonconformity of the structure or its use, but only provided that either such work is started within 12 months of the damage and completed within two years of the date of the damage, and further provided that the reconstruction does not substantially change the character or size of the buildings or the use which they were put prior to the damage.
Effect of changes on permits: Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 6, construction or operations under a building permit shall conform to this ordinance and any subsequent amendments hereto unless the use or construction is commenced within six months after the issuance of the permit and, in cases involving construction, unless such construction is continued through to completion as continuously and expeditiously as reasonable.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Parking facilities required: Off-street parking facilities shall be provided to serve all buildings and uses erected, moved, established, altered, enlarged or which change in use except when located in a CB-1 or CB-2 District. Such facilities shall be sufficient to accommodate the motor vehicles of all occupants, employees, customers and other persons normally visiting such building or premises at any one time.
Commercial vehicles and/or equipment in residential zones: No commercial vehicle or pieces of equipment, including but not limited to commercial delivery vehicles, box trucks, dump trucks, long haul trucks, semitrailers or tractors, excavators, bulldozers, backhoes, etc., with a gross vehicle weight of over 26,000 pounds shall be parked or stored in a residential zone.
Location of required parking facilities: Required parking facilities shall be located on the same lot as the building or other use which they serve, except that by special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals required parking facilities may be located not more than 200 feet from such building or use, measured in a straight line to the nearest space for vehicular parking.
Required minimum area and number of parking spaces: Unless otherwise specifically approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals, required parking facilities shall contain not less than the minimum areas set forth below, exclusive of driveways and ramps necessary for access. Rooftop or indoor parking may be included in the required area. For single-family dwellings, the driveway may be included in the required area. A parking space is defined as having dimensions measuring 9 by 20 feet or 9 1/2 by 19 feet for a total square footage of 180 square feet.
Conversion of preexisting nonconforming multifamily structures: A preexisting nonconforming multifamily structure (two or more units) which is converted to a multiple-family structure with fewer units than existed prior to such conversions does not need any additional parking spaces than existed prior to such conversion.
Truck loading space: In the case of hospitals, institutions, hotels, retail, wholesale and industrial buildings, space shall be provided for loading and unloading of trucks at the rate of one space not less than 500 square feet in area for each 15,000 square feet of floor area or fraction thereof less than 30,000 square feet, and 500 square feet for each 30,000 square feet of floor area or fraction thereof in excess of 30,000 square feet. Minimum dimension of loading areas is 10 feet by 50 feet.
Design and improvement requirements.
The general layout and traffic circulation of parking and loading areas shall be designed so as to avoid unsafe conditions and traffic congestion in the street upon which the area has access and to provide for the safety and adequacy of access for vehicles and pedestrians using the area.
Parking areas and spaces are to be designed to permit safe access and exit of vehicles and to prevent vehicles from backing onto accessways or streets.
Any enclosed loading space shall be located at least 30 feet from any street line, and any open loading space shall be so designed that trucks when loading or unloading will not project over any street line.
Individual parking and loading spaces, maneuvering areas, entrances and exits shall be suitably identified with lines and arrows, as deemed necessary by the Building Inspector.
No access drive, aisle or maneuvering area shall have a turning radius of less than 20 feet.
Where vehicles will be located adjacent to sidewalks, fences, walls, required buffer strips, trees, landscaping or similar construction, a suitable bumper or curb (not less than five inches in height) shall be provided in such a location so that the vehicle cannot overhang or otherwise damage said obstruction.
All parking areas with 10 or more spaces, along with any loading areas and accessways, shall be surfaced with an asphaltic bituminous cement or other properly bound pavement so as to provide a durable and dustless surface, and shall be so graded and drained as to dispose of all surface water and accumulation within the area.
Parking areas for 10 or more vehicles shall be constructed to the standards for construction as set forth in the North Adams Subdivision Rules and Regulations. Drainage design and construction shall include interconnected catch basins with oil and grease traps.
Parking areas for 10 or more vehicles shall be delineated so the parking spaces are apparent.
All parking areas of less than 10 spaces shall be constructed of adequate all-weather surfacing, capable of allowing free and safe movement of all vehicles customarily using the facility.
Access drives shall be arranged for the free flow of vehicles at all times, and all maneuvering spaces and aisles shall be so designed that all vehicles must exit from and enter into a public street by being driven in a forward direction.
All portions of all parking spaces and maneuvering aisles shall be set back a minimum of five feet from any wall of a building, except in residential districts.
Each required off-street parking space shall be designed so that any motor vehicle may proceed to and from said space without requiring the moving of any other vehicle or by passing over any other parking space.
Paved portions of parking areas shall not be constructed within minimum front yard, rear yard or side yard setback areas.
Any lighting used to illuminate any off-street parking, access drive or loading area shall be shielded and so arranged as to prevent direct glare from the light source onto adjoining premises and public rights-of-way.
Lighting shall be of such a design or level of illumination so as to minimize the amount of ambient lighting perceptible at adjacent properties.
Parking lot landscaping:
Parking requirements shall be met by utilization of parking lot cells having a maximum of 50 parking spaces per parking lot cell. There shall be a minimum separation distance or 30 feet between parking lot cells or an equivalent alternative that meets the objective of visually breaking up the paved area.
Perimeter landscaping requirements. All parking areas with more than 10 spaces and all loading areas shall be boarded on all sides, with the exception of accessways, with a ten-foot-wide buffer strip on which shall be located and maintained appropriate landscaping of suitable type, density and height to effectively screen the parking area.
Interior area landscaping requirements. A minimum of 10% of the interior area, exclusive of perimeter landscaping, of a parking lot cell containing 25 or more spaces must be planted as landscaped island areas. The interior area of the lot shall be computed as the paved area excluding all parking spaces abutting the perimeter of the parking lot. The landscaped islands shall be so located that some part of every parking space is not more than 45 feet from either a landscaped island or the perimeter planting area. Curbing, at least five inches in height, shall surround each landscaped island as protection from vehicles.
Plantings for perimeter and interior area landscaping requirements shall consist of:
At least one shrub or tree per 30 linear feet of landscaped island area shall be provided, unless the Planning Board determines during a site plan review that there exists sufficient existing vegetation to allow for a different amount of vegetation.
Trees shall be of a species tolerant to the climatic conditions of the City and parking area conditions and be at least two-inch caliper (measured four feet above grade level).
Shrubs shall be a mix of deciduous and evergreen varieties, tolerant to the climatic conditions of the City, and be at least one foot in height at time of planting.
Remainder of the landscaped areas shall be planted with ground surface cover, such as lawn grass or live ground cover, over at least four inches of topsoil.
Wherever possible, the above requirements shall be met by retention of existing vegetation.
Planting shall be done in accordance with accepted landscaping practices.
Trees which die or become diseased shall be replaced, and all landscaping shall be maintained.
No driveway or access road to or from any property shall be so located at its juncture with a street as to create a danger or menace to the community or to the convenience or proper use of the adjoining property.
No driveway shall provide access to a lot located in another zoning district, if said lot is used for any use, principal or accessory, not permitted in the district in which such driveway is located. The driveway or access road to a lot shall be through its frontage.
No driveway shall be located closer than 25 feet to any street intersection measured along the street lines. In any nonresidential district, no two driveways on the same lot shall be located closer than 75 feet to each other at their closest limits.
No lot having less than 200 feet of street frontage shall have more than two driveway entrances and/or exits on each street abutting the lot. Lots with more than 200 feet of street frontages may have up to one driveway entrance and/or exit for each 200 feet of additional street frontage.
Highway buffer areas: Any new required parking area, other than one servicing a single- or two-family residential use, on a site which abuts Route 2 between the Williamstown town line and Hillside Cemetery, or Route 8 between the Adams town line and Hooker Street, or Route 8 from the Clarksburg town line to Miner Street, shall maintain a buffer area between such parking area and the highway. Such buffer area shall be of a width not less than the required front setback and shall be landscaped or maintained in a natural vegetated state. One accessway of not more than 25 feet in width shall be permitted within the buffer area.
Waivers: Strict compliance with the requirements of this Section 6 may be waived by the Zoning Board of Appeals when in the judgment of said Board such waiver or waivers are consistent with the general intent and purpose of this ordinance.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Signs excluded from regulation: The following signs, as defined in Section 13, are exempt from the provisions of this article:
Signs not exceeding two square feet in area that are customarily associated with residential use and that are not of a commercial nature, such as:
Signs erected by or on behalf of or pursuant to the authorization of a government body, including legal notices, identification and informational signs, and traffic, directional or regulatory signs.
Flags, pennants or insignia of any governmental or nonprofit organization.
Signs not exceeding four square feet in area directing and guiding traffic on private property and that bear no advertising matter.
Church bulletin boards, church identification signs and church directional signs that do not exceed 24 square feet in area.
Signs painted on or otherwise permanently attached to currently registered motor vehicles that are not primarily used as signs.
A sign, not exceeding six square feet in area, erected by any fraternal, civic, religious or service organization or club announcing its presence in the City of North Adams and the time and place of its regular meeting or special event.
Signs in lawful existence as of the effective date of this section.
No sign shall be placed or worded, designed, colored or illuminated so as to obscure or distract from signs regulating traffic.
No sign shall be located so as to obstruct vision at the corners of intersected streets.
Signs are not to be illuminated or placed in such a manner as to create a hazard to pedestrians or to motor vehicle traffic. No lights shall be allowed which can blind or otherwise interfere with the safe operation of any other vehicles.
Wherever site plan approval is required (see Section 12.4 of this ordinance), it will include review and approval of sign location, size and illumination.
No off-site sign or billboard shall be erected in a residential zone. An off-site sign or billboard may be erected in other zones only by special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
No sign shall contain any moving, flashing or animated lights, or lights of varying intensity, or visible moving or movable parts. This provision shall not prohibit marquees advertising motion pictures or theatrical performances.
No sign shall be erected, displayed or maintained on any rock, tree or utility pole.
All signs, together with their supports, braces, guys and anchors, shall be kept in good repair and in safe condition. The owner of the premises on which a sign is erected shall be responsible for keeping such sign and premises around it safe, neat and clean condition. The Building Inspector may order the removal of any signs that are not maintained or erected in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Freestanding signs, as defined in Section 13, may not be more than 14 feet above the ground at the highest point of the sign. There must be a minimum elevation rise to the bottom of the signage of eight feet from street elevation. Such sign shall not be located closer than 15 feet to any street line.
Upon termination of any business which has employed a sign, that sign shall be removed by the property owner within 90 days of the closure of the business. Two extensions of three months each may be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Any subsequent business shall employ signs which conform to this section.
No sign shall be erected or maintained with any lighting or control mechanism which causes radio or television interference.
Roof signs may be authorized by a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals subject to the following conditions:
The need for a roof sign shall be clearly stated on the basis that the general configuration and location of the building requires such a sign to inform the general public of the business carried on within the building.
Any applicant for a roof sign must provide the Zoning Board of Appeals with pictures, sketches and/or drawings establishing the relative size and configuration of the sign in relation to the building.
The top of a roof sign shall not exceed 20% of the height of building over the top of the building and shall in no case exceed six feet. The length of the sign display surface area shall be limited to 1/2 of the horizontal dimension of the wall above which the sign is located with a minimum of 10 feet permitted.
Only one roof sign is permitted for any building, and its areas shall not exceed 25% of the maximum permitted sign area.
Naked or unshaded incandescent or fluorescent electric light bulbs shall not be allowed by themselves or as part of any sign, except as part of holiday season decorations or community events or celebrations, or unless they are contained within the sign as internal illuminations.
Signs permitted in all districts: The following signs may be placed upon any lot within the City of North Adams:
One temporary nonilluminated sign, as defined in Section 13, not exceeding five square feet in area, advertising the sale or lease of the premises, or advertising renovation or repairs being performed by tradesmen.
One nonilluminated marker not to exceed two square feet in area identifying an historic building.
Accessory signs directing traffic to entrances or exits from the building or parking area, provided that:
No freestanding directional sign exceeds two square feet in area, or is placed higher than three feet above the ground;
No such sign is closer than 10 feet to a lot line;
The number of such signs is limited to the minimum needed to give clear directions;
The sign bears no advertising matter.
Temporary signs not exceeding 16 square feet in area, erected by a fraternal, civic, religious or service organization or club. Such signs shall not be erected for a period of more than 30 days prior to the first day of the event and removed within seven days of the last date of the event, unless, by special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, permission is given for such sign(s) to remain for a longer period of time.
Signs located in windows; the total of all window signs shall not exceed 20 square feet in area or 15% of the area of the window in which it is located, whichever is less.
Temporary nonilluminated political signs not exceeding four square feet in area, displayed during the period of time between the deadline for the filing of nomination papers for the office being sought by the candidate and one week after the election date.
Signs indicating an establishment is open or closed, including flags.
Temporary signs, not exceeding six square feet in area announcing a sale, at a commercial establishment, provided that such sign is in place for less than 30 days.
Signs related to commercial activities:
Permitted by right. The following types of signs advertising commercial business and services may be placed upon a lot in the City of North Adams as follows:
Within a CA-1, CA-2, CB-1, CB-2, CC-1, CC-2, I-1, I-2, I-P or AP-1 District the total area of all signs may be at least 16 square feet or two square feet per linear foot of frontage of the building, but not to exceed 200 square feet. The total area of all signs for a building fronting on two streets may be at least 32 square feet or two square feet per linear foot of frontage, not to exceed 200 square feet. In no case shall standing signs aggregate more than 25% of the maximum sign area permitted.
Within all other districts, one primary sign not exceeding eight square feet in area and one secondary sign not exceeding three square feet.
Within a district allowing for a shopping center use, the total area of all signs may be at least 16 square feet per individual tenant or two square feet per linear foot of frontage of each individual tenant, but not to exceed 200 square feet per individual tenant.
Permitted by special permit. The Zoning Board of Appeals may grant a special permit for signs larger than those permitted by right in Section 7.4.1 above, or for signs announcing the name of a subdivision development, a multifamily housing development or a shopping center, if the Board finds that said signs meet the following design criteria:
The proposed signs will be considered with the character and use of the areas in which they are placed.
Every sign will have appropriate scale and proportion in its design and in its visual relationship to buildings and surroundings.
Every sign has been designed as an integral architectural element of the building and the site to which it principally relates.
The proposed colors, materials and illumination of every sign proposed is restrained and harmonious with the building and the site to which it principally relates.
The number of graphic elements on each sign has been held to the minimum needed to convey the sign's major message and is in proportion to the area of the sign face.
Each sign will not compete for attention.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board may grant a special permit equal in size to any existing permanent sign whose renewal is made a condition of the special permit.
Any request for more than four signs per lot for a use other than a shopping center shall require a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Main Street Urban Renewal Project: The land use controls of the urban renewal plan entitled "Main Street Urban Renewal Plan, Code R-213," approved by the City Council of the City of North Adams on May 9, 1967, which plan is made a part hereof and incorporated herein by reference, shall be in full force and effect in the UR-1 District in said City of North Adams; excluding therefrom, however, any provision therein allowing or permitting the redevelopment authority to modify, amend, change, or alter at their discretion any provision thereof.
Western Gateway Urban Heritage Park: The land use controls of the urban renewal plan entitled "Western Gateway Urban Heritage Park Urban Renewal Plan," approved by the City Council of the City of North Adams as Council Paper No. 8704-3 and incorporated herein by reference, shall be in full force and effect in the UR-2 District in said City of North Adams; excluding therefrom, however, any provision therein allowing or permitting the redevelopment authority to modify, amend, change, or alter at their discretion any provision thereof.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Windsor Lake Watershed District:
Purpose of district:
The protection, preservation and maintenance of Windsor Lake so as to preserve and protect the present and future water quality for the public health and safety;
The conservation of that natural resource and the preservation and enhancement of its scenic beauty; and
The prevention of adverse use, unsuitable development and overcrowding of lands affecting the lake.
District boundaries: The Windsor Lake Watershed District, delineated on Map Three of the City Zoning Map, shall be considered as overlying other districts as indicated on Maps One and Two of the City Zoning Map, in recognition of the special environmental conditions which exist in the area of the lake.
Except as specified below, any uses permitted and as regulated by the remainder of this Zoning Ordinance within that portion of the Zoning Map overlaid by this district shall be permitted, provided that they do not require structures, fill, dumping or excavation of earth materials, unless so authorized by a special permit from the Planning Board subject to the provisions of this section.
Sanitary landfills and other refuse disposal sites are prohibited.
Any permitted use in the Windsor Lake Watershed District requiring a special permit under this section shall be subject to the "Land use guidelines for development within the Windsor Lake Watershed District" (as set out immediately following this paragraph). The Planning Board, however, may exempt any regulated proposed use from any or all of the provisions of the guidelines if it determines that the proposed use will not significantly affect the quality of Windsor Lake. Prior to making such a determination, the Planning Board shall consider the recommendations received from review of the special permit application under Section 9.1.5(2).
Land use guidelines for development within the Windsor Lake Watershed District.
For all uses within the district:
Erosion control for earth-disturbing activities on steep slopes: Construction activities on steep slopes should be minimized. However, if such construction is necessary, erosion control practices should be followed. Uses requiring structures, fill, dumping or excavation of earth materials on slopes of 15% or greater must comply with the erosion control requirements of guideline 9.1.3(4)(b)3 below.
Control of surface water runoff: To the extent practicable, surface water runoff from paved areas associated with the proposed use shall be kept from draining directly into Windsor Lake. Broad, shallow vegetated channels to carry stormwater runoff are encouraged, and where possible, the channel should be designed for a flow velocity of one foot per second or less.
For all uses both within 300 feet of the lake and within the district:
Building setback: No building shall be installed or constructed within 100 feet of the shore of the lake. In the case of a lot which at the time of the adoption of this section and continuously thereafter was owned separately from any adjoining lot, where it is not possible to comply with the one-hundred-foot setback requirement for buildings due to the size or shape of the lot, buildings may be allowed within 100 feet of the shore of the lake, provided that they are set back from the lake as far as is possible without encroaching on any required front, side or rear yard.
Wastewater disposal system setback: No on-lot sewage disposal system such as a septic tank, cesspool or leaching field, or the drainage system for wastewater from showers and sinks, shall be constructed within 150 feet from the shoreline of Windsor Lake. In the case of a lot which at the time of the adoption of this section and continuously thereafter was owned separately from any adjoining lot, the Board of Health may authorize construction or installation of such a disposal system at a reduced distance not less than the minimum standards of the State Environmental Code, Title 5, if the Board of Health determines that because of the size or shape of the lot, compliance with the one-hundred-fifty-foot setback is not possible, and that the proposed disposal system would provide adequate protection to the water quality of Windsor Lake.
Any earth-disturbing activity such as excavation, grading or filling shall be conducted in such a manner as to effectively reduce soil erosion and resulting sedimentation.
All earth-disturbing activities shall be designed, conducted and completed in such a manner that the disturbed land shall be exposed for the shortest possible period of time.
Permanent vegetative stabilization techniques to control soil erosion in all disturbed land area shall be implemented within two weeks after final grading or the final earth-disturbing activity has been completed. Techniques used shall generally be in accordance with measures described on pages 53 through 59 of the "Guidelines for Soil and Water Conservation in Urbanizing Areas of Massachusetts," USDA Soil Conservation Service, October 1975, although other techniques may be used if they are of equal or greater effectiveness.
When it is not possible to permanently stabilize a disturbed area, temporary soil erosion control measures shall be implemented within two weeks after significant earth-disturbing activity ceases. Where temporary erosion control is needed for a period of two months or less, techniques used shall generally be in accordance with the measures described on pages 62 and 63 of the USDA publication referenced in guideline (2)(c)(3), although other techniques may be used if they are of equal or greater effectiveness. Where temporary erosion control is needed for a period of two to 12 months, techniques used shall generally be in accordance with the measures described on pages 52, 62, and 63 of the USDA publication referenced in guideline (2)(c)(3), although other techniques may be used if they are of equal or greater effectiveness.
Restrictions: The Planning Board may issue, in accordance with the provisions of Section 9, Chapter 40A, of the General Laws of Massachusetts and Section 12.3 of this Zoning Ordinance, a special permit under this Section 9.1, if the Board determines after a public hearing that the proposed use is not an adverse use of land at the proposed location in the Windsor Lake Watershed District and not contrary to the purposes for which such district has been established and the permitted uses listed above in Section 9.1.3.
Any person desiring to establish any permitted use in the Windsor Lake Watershed District requiring a special permit under the provisions of this section shall submit an application to the Planning Board describing in detail the proposed use and the work to be performed, accompanied by plans and information as listed in Section 12.4.5 and including the following:
The location, boundaries and dimensions of the lot, and the existing and proposed structures, watercourses, easements, means of access, and water supply and sewage disposal facilities; and
Such soils, topographic, slope and other maps, in detail commensurate with the scale of the proposed undertaking and such other data and reports as are needed by the Board for determining the effect of the proposed activity on surface and groundwater hydrology, water quality, soil erosion and sedimentation, natural habitats, scenic or historic environs, and other aspects of environmental concern.
The Planning Board shall submit any application for a special permit under this section for review and recommendations to the Board of Health, City Engineer, Conservation Commission, and other City agency or official as found advisable, in accordance with Section 12.4.8 of this ordinance. An application may also be submitted to the U.S. Soil Conservation Service or to any other qualified professional consultant as found advisable.
Granting of a special permit under this section does not in any way indicate compliance with any of the provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act, Section 40, Chapter 131, of the General Laws of Massachusetts.
Purposes: The purposes of this district, in addition to those enumerated elsewhere in this Zoning Ordinance, are:
To protect human life and property from hazards of periodic flooding and to protect the public from the burden of costs resulting from unwise individual choices of land use.
To protect, preserve and maintain the water recharge areas within the City so as to preserve present and potential water supplies for the public health and safety of the City.
To assure the continuation of the natural flow pattern of the watercourses within the City, in order to provide adequate safe floodwater storage capacity to protect persons and property against the hazards of flood inundation.
The Floodway District is based on hydraulic considerations with regard to requirements of the Federal Insurance Administration.
The Floodway District includes all areas designated as "floodway" on the Floodway Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps, City of North Adams, Massachusetts, Berkshire County, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and dated July 2, 1981.
The Floodway District is established as an overlay district to all other districts. All development must be in compliance with MGL c. 131, § 40, and requirements of the Massachusetts State Building Code.
The following uses of low flood damage potential and causing no obstructions to flood flows shall be allowed as a matter of right, provided that they do not require permanent structures, fill or storage of materials or equipment:
Agricultural uses such as farming, grazing, and horticulture;
Forestry and nursery uses;
Outdoor recreational uses, including fishing, boating, play areas;
Conservation of water plants and wildlife;
Wildlife management areas, foot, bicycle, and/or horse paths;
Temporary nonresidential structures used in connection with fishing, growing, harvesting, storage or sale of crops raised on the premises; and
Maintenance, repair, reconstruction and additions of up to 50% of the square footage of structures lawfully existing prior to the adoption of these provisions.
In case of fire, natural catastrophe or total rehabilitation of structures existing in the Floodway District prior to the adoption of these provisions, said structure may be rebuilt to the original size, subject to the requirement of the new structure shall conform to the provisions for floodproofing found in the State Building Code.
The following uses are prohibited in the Floodway District:
The construction of new buildings or structures;
The removal, filling, dredging, or altering of any lake, pond, river, stream, brook, marsh, swamp, bog, or meadow, except as may be permitted in Section 9.2.3(2) and the Wetlands Protection Act;
The installation of septic tanks or leach fields;
The storage of salt, petroleum or other chemical products; and
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements to existing structures, and other development in the floodway unless certification by a registered professional engineer is provided by the applicant, demonstrating that such encroachment shall not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the one-hundred-year flood.
Purposes: The purposes of this district are the same as those noted in Section 9.2.1.
The Floodplain District delineations are established by elevations of area subject to inundation by one-hundred-year frequency floods, as delineated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Floodplain District includes the floodway fringe and the one-hundred-year flood boundary as designated on the Floodway Flood Boundary and Floodway Map City of North Adams, dated July 2, 1981, as amended, which is hereby made a part of this ordinance and which is on file at the office of the City Engineer and Building Department. The explanatory data contained in the "Flood Insurance Study, City of North Adams, Massachusetts, Berkshire County," dated January 2, 1981, as prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), shall be used in the interpretation of the said map, and for such purpose the said flood insurance study is hereby incorporated in this ordinance.
The Floodplain District also includes all that land along any named or unnamed water body or watercourse for a horizontal distance of 50 feet from the permanent or seasonal banks thereof except as otherwise defined on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).
Within the floodway fringe, where the one-hundred-year flood elevation is not provided on the floodway map, the developer/applicant shall obtain any existing flood elevation data and it shall be reviewed by the Building Inspector. If the data is sufficiently detailed and accurate, it shall be relied upon to require compliance with this ordinance and the State Building Code.
The Floodplain District is established as an overlay district to all other zoning districts. All development, including structural and nonstructural activities, whether permitted by right or by special permit, must be in compliance with MGL, Chapter 131, Section 40, and requirements of the Massachusetts State Building Code pertaining to construction in floodplains.
The following uses of low flood damage potential and causing no obstructions to flood flows shall be allowed as a matter of right, provided they are permitted in the underlying district and they do not require structures, fill or storage of materials or equipment:
Agricultural uses such as farming, grazing, and horticulture;
Forestry and nursery uses;
Outdoor recreational uses, including fishing, boating, play areas;
Conservation of water plants and wildlife;
Wildlife management areas, foot, bicycles, and/or horse paths;
Temporary nonresidential structures used in connection with fishing, growing, harvesting, storage, or sale of crops raised on the premises; and
Maintenance, repair, reconstruction and additions of up to 50% of the square footage of structures lawfully existing prior to the adoption of these provisions.
In case of fire, natural catastrophe, or total rehabilitation of structures existing in the Floodplain District prior to the adoption of these provisions, said structure may be rebuilt to the original size, subject to the requirement of the new structure shall conform to the provisions for floodproofing found in the State Building Code.
The following uses are prohibited in the floodplain:
The removal, filling, dredging, or altering of any lake, pond, river, stream, brook, marsh, swamp, bog, or meadow, except as may be permitted in Section 9.3.3(2) or 9.3.3(4) and the Wetlands Protection Act;
The installation of septic tanks or leach fields;
The storage of salt, petroleum or other chemical products; and
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements to existing structures, and other development in the floodway unless certification by a registered professional engineer is provided by the applicant, demonstrating that such encroachment shall not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the one-hundred-year flood.
The following uses may be allowed by special permit from the Planning Board, subject to the requirements of Section 9.3.4:
The construction or erection of new buildings or structures, other than mobile homes;
Municipal, county or state parks;
Wells or other structures necessary for proper functioning of municipal or private water supplies;
Construction and maintenance of dams and other water control devices; and
Roadways, driveways and walkways ancillary to uses otherwise permitted by this section.
Planning Board: The Planning Board may issue a special permit for the uses described in Section 9.3.3(4). Said Board may issue a special permit hereunder (subject to the other applicable provisions of this ordinance) only if the application complies with the following provisions:
The proposed use shall comply in all respects with the provisions of the underlying zoning district; and
The application shall be reviewed by the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Board of Health and Building Inspector. Within 10 days of the receipt of the application, the Planning Board shall transmit one copy of the development plan to each of the above-named boards. The Planning Board shall take no final action until reports have been received from the above boards or until 35 days have elapsed.
The Planning Board may specify such additional requirements and conditions it finds necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the occupants of the proposed use.
All structures will be floodproofed in accordance with the State Building Code.
All public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems, shall be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage or hazard.
Site drainage shall be provided in a manner that will result in no increase in site or downstream flood hazard.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Flexible residential development (FRD):
Purpose: In order to provide for the public interest by the preservation of open space in perpetuity, to promote variations in residential housing development patterns which allow for development more harmonious with natural features and City growth policies than traditional residential development, to promote the maximum possible protection of open space, visual quality and aquifer and other natural resource protection and to encourage the efficient provision of necessary utilities and community services, the following regulations are established for flexible residential development (FRD) within the City. In making any and all determinations under this ordinance the Planning Board shall always compare the impact of a FRD with potential conventional development, and may approve a FRD only if the proposal is equal or superior to a conventional development.
Applicability: FRD shall be allowed within rural and residential districts only, subject to the requirements of this ordinance for such district, and in accordance with the additional requirements specified herein.
Any parcel of land located within a rural and residential district containing land area at least five times the minimum lot area requirement may be considered for an FRD subject to a special permit issued by the Planning Board.
After an FRD application has been submitted, no utility installations, no ditching, no grading of land or lots, no excavation except for purposes of soil testing, no dredging or filling and no construction of buildings or structures shall be done on any part of the development site until the application has been reviewed and approved as provided by these regulations.
No FRD shall be approved within an established single-family residential neighborhood if the Planning Board determines that such land use would have a detrimental effect upon the surrounding property.
It shall be the responsibility of an applicant for an FRD special permit to demonstrate to the Planning Board that this form of land development will be as or more appropriate than conventional patterns of residential subdivision development for the particular site being considered. The conventional subdivision pattern and the FRD shall each be evidenced by the submission of a preliminary sketch plan showing the total number of lots which can be created and the road layout.
All dwellings to be built on the site shall be located at least 100 feet from any public ways in existence at the time of submission of the FRD proposal to the Planning Board.
Reduction of dimensional requirements: The Planning Board may grant a reduction in the dimensional requirements of the zoning regulations listed in Section 4.2 of these ordinances for all residential lots in a FRD, if the Planning Board finds that such reduction will result in better design and improved protection of natural and scenic resources and will otherwise comply with these regulations, provided that the percentage of the reduction allowed under this ordinance shall not be greater than 1.5 times the percentage of the total FRD which is to be set aside for common open space. (If 30% of the land area is to be set aside for common open space, the Planning Board may grant up to a forty-five-percent reduction in the minimum lot size and lot frontage requirements.) In no instance shall any dimensional requirement be reduced to a figure less than the minimum requirement noted in the table below.
Development standards: Prior to the issuance a special permit for an FRD the Planning Board shall find, and the applicant shall submit the information necessary to demonstrate, that the following standards have been met:
The development will not cause unreasonable traffic congestion or unsafe conditions both within and outside of the development and will comply with City standards for parking, access, road design and construction.
The development will provide for and maintain convenient and safe emergency vehicle access to all buildings and structures at all times.
The nature of the soils and subsoils shall be suited for the intended purposes. This determination shall focus upon, but shall not be limited to, the locations, design and construction of roadways, buildings, septic systems and surface water drainage systems. Soil borings or test pits may be made to provide information on soil texture, color, percolation rates and depth to the ground water table at its maximum elevation.
Anticipated stormwater runoff from the site shall not exceed peak runoff from the site prior to development. The applicant shall submit formal drainage calculations by a registered professional engineer for this purpose.
Proper soil erosion and sedimentation control measures shall be employed to minimize sedimentation and siltation of existing surface water bodies and wetlands. In areas where the land slopes downward towards any surface water body or freshwater wetlands, proposed filing, cutting, clearing or grading shall be minimized and all such development activities shall be carried out in such a way as to retain the natural vegetation and topography wherever possible. The Planning Board may require that an erosion and sedimentation control plan be submitted if significant erosion is anticipated in slope areas.
The site design shall preserve and, where possible, enhance the natural features of the property, including scenic views, by adapting the location and placement of structures and ways to the existing topography in order to minimize the amount of soil removal, tree cutting and general disturbance of the landscape and surrounding properties.
All streets, sewers, water lines, drainage facilities and utilities shall be designed and constructed in compliance with the Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land in effect at the time of application, insofar as they are applicable. Exceptions to the subdivision regulations may be authorized by the Planning Board in granting a special permit hereunder, provided that the Board determines such exceptions are in the public interest and are not inconsistent with the purposes of Section 10.1.1.
The development shall comply with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.00 of the State Environmental Code (Title 5) and the City of North Adams Health Regulations, with regard to on-site wastewater disposal. On-site sewage disposal systems shall be located so as to minimize the impact on surface and subsurface water resources. In evaluating this issue, the Planning Board shall take into consideration both the direction of groundwater flow and the distance between any such system and a water supply or other water resource. On-site disposal systems shall not be located within 150 feet from any wetland or surface water body. In no instance shall a variance be granted from Title 5 of the State Environmental Code or North Adams Board of Health Regulations in regard to depth to groundwater or distance to wetlands, buildings and water supply wells.
Open space use and design standards:
Within an FRD, a minimum of two acres or 30% of the total land area, whichever is less, shall be devoted to common open space. The common open space shall not include land set aside for roads and/or parking uses. No more than 50% of the common open space may contain land considered as wetland resource areas, other than "isolated lands subject to flooding," as defined in the regulations (310 CMR 10.00) promulgated pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 131, Section 40 (Wetlands Protection Act).
The common open space shall be designed and maintained in accordance with the following standards:
Naturally existing woods, fields, meadows and wetlands shall be maintained and improved in accordance with good conservation practices.
Common open space shall be planned as large, contiguous parcels whenever possible. Strips or narrow parcels of common open space shall be permitted only when necessary for access or as vegetated buffers along the site's perimeter.
Common open space may be in more than one parcel, provided that the size, shape and location of such parcels are suitable for the designated uses.
Common open space may be used for active recreation, passive recreation, conservation, forestry, agriculture, natural buffers, structures necessary to approved uses, utilities and other facilities necessary for the convenience and enjoyment of the residents, subject to approval by the Planning Board. Up to 25% of the common open space may be developed for active recreation.
There shall be a minimum of 50 feet between any common open space and all structures.
Use of common open space shall in all instances require approval by the Planning Board, and all structural improvements and impervious surfaces must be shown on the definitive FRD plan.
In cases where the open space has been environmentally damaged prior to the completion of the development as a result of soil removal, harvesting of trees or other natural features, refuse disposal or any other activity deemed inappropriate with proposed uses of the common open space, the Planning Board may require the developer to restore or improve the condition and appearance of the common open space, and may require the posting of a bond or other appropriate form of performance guaranty to ensure such restoration or improvement.
Up to 50% of the land area proposed to be set aside as common open space may be located on a different parcel of land, but only if the Planning Board determines, after consultation with, and the approval of, the Conservation Commission, that such other parcel of land is exceptionally valuable to the City and its residents for open space, recreation or natural resource protection and that such value more than offsets the presumed benefits of having such common open space adjacent to the proposed residential development. Nonadjacent common open space is to be conveyed only to the City of North Adams for park or open space use.
Common open space ownership and management.
Common open space in an FRD shall be conveyed to: (1) the City of North Adams for park or open space use; (2) a nonprofit corporation, the principal purpose of which is the conservation of open space; or (3) to a corporation or trust owned or to be owned by the owners of lots within the development. It shall be the Planning Board's decision as to which of the above ownership options shall be used. If a corporation or trust owned by the owners of lots is utilized, ownership thereof shall pass with the conveyance of the lots. In any case, where such land is not conveyed to the City, a perpetual restriction, running to and enforceable by the City, shall be recorded providing that such land shall be retained in perpetuity in an open and natural state and shall not be built upon for residential use or developed for accessory uses such as parking or roadways.
If the common open space is not to be conveyed to the City, then the applicant shall include as part of the road covenant a provision that the common open space will be deeded as approved by the Planning Board. In addition, the road covenant shall not be released until proof of transfer of ownership has been provided to the Planning Board.
If the common open space is not to be conveyed to the City, the application for an FRD special permit must include a description of how and when the common open space will be preserved in perpetuity to standards satisfactory to the Planning Board and to the City Solicitor. The applicant shall also provide as part of the common open space proposal an agreement empowering the City to perform maintenance of the common open space in the event of failure to comply with the program included in the application pursuant to the preceding sentence providing that, if the City is required to perform any maintenance work, the owners of lots within the FRD shall pay the cost thereof and that the cost shall constitute a lien upon their properties until said cost has been paid.
Review procedures: All applications for FRDs shall be submitted in conformity with the requirements and procedures for submission and review under the Subdivision Rules and Regulations of the Planning Board and the additional requirements outlined in the Planning Board's Review Procedure for Flexible Residential Developments.
As a condition of approval hereunder, the Planning Board may require changes in the proposed development plans and may impose additional conditions, limitations and safeguards as it may deem appropriate to ensure compliance with the purposes of this ordinance.
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, any special permit granted by the Planning Board for an FRD shall become void within two years from the date of issue, which two years shall not include time required to pursue or await determination of an appeal referred to in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A, Section 6, unless any construction work contemplated thereby shall have commenced and proceeded in good faith continuously to completion, except for a good cause. All open space shall be dedicated at the time the permit holder proceeds with construction under a building permit.
Accessory residential units for artists' studios:
There shall be no more than one residential use per 1,000 square feet of gross studio space.
A dedicated bathroom with water closet, sink and shower and a kitchen containing sink, refrigerator and stove shall be provided for each proposed residential use. Any new construction of studio spaces shall conform to commercial code. Adequate heat and ventilation shall be provided for each studio.
Trash and garbage removal must be provided for.
New construction for studio spaces shall conform to commercial building codes, including fire alarm, fire protection, egress, etc.
Parking shall be as determined by the Planning Board with a minimum of one parking space per studio.
There shall be a maximum of 50 studio units per building.
Restrictions as to odor, noise and deliveries shall be interpreted to commercial as opposed to residential standards.
Building owners and/or building committees shall determine the qualifications of the artists using the studio spaces for residential use and the limitations contained herein shall be included in any lease or sales contract with the resident artist.
Veterinary hospitals and/or kennels:
The following standards shall be applied by the Zoning Board of Appeals when receiving an application for a special permit for a veterinary hospital and/or kennel. For the purposes of this ordinance, veterinary hospitals and/or kennels shall be defined as a structure or parcel of land used for the harboring and/or care of more than three dogs that are more than six months old, whether commercially operated or not.
The veterinary hospital and/or kennel must be carried on in such a manner as not to substantially injure appropriate use of adjoining property or adversely affect the existing development or character of the neighborhood.
No egress or ingress with reference to such property shall be from or to a residential subdivision street.
Area: Veterinary hospitals and/or kennels shall have a minimum lot area of not less than one acre.
Setbacks: Buildings, structures or runs used in connection with such purposes shall not be within 70 feet of any street or property lines.
Lighting: Outdoor lighting shall be so shielded as to cast no light upon adjacent property or public ways.
Veterinary hospitals and/or kennels in a residential district or adjacent to a residential or institutional use shall be screened along the side and rear property lines.
Parking: A minimum of three parking spaces per doctor are required.
Special permits can only be granted in the following zoning districts:
Fraternities and sororities:
Off-street parking facilities shall be provided in accordance with Section 6 of this ordinance.
Parking and outdoor activity areas located within 40 feet from any property line shall be screened so as not to be visible from adjacent lots in residential use.
Outdoor lighting shall be so shielded as to cast no direct light upon adjacent property or public ways, and where outdoor lighting is provided for activities after normal daylight hours, such lights shall be extinguished not later than 11:00 p.m.
A sound amplification system shall not be permitted except where such system is inaudible at any property line.
The Planning Board may recommend and the Zoning Board of Appeals may impose additional requirements as it is judgment are necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare.
No permit shall be issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals, unless and until the Department of Public Health of the City of North Adams has approved those aspects of the proposed use which comes under its jurisdiction.
Unregistered or junk motor vehicles:
Definition of "unregistered motor vehicle." Any motor vehicle required to be registered by law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for operation on public ways not so registered.
Definition of "junk motor vehicle." Any motor vehicle not capable of being used as such in its existing condition by reason of being damaged or dismantled beyond repair or failing to contain parts necessary for operation.
No unregistered motor vehicle shall be parked, stored, or otherwise placed in, on or upon land in any zoned district for a period of more than six months subsequent to January 1 of any year or subsequent to the required registration date of a former nonresident, except as is hereinafter provided.
No "junk motor vehicle" shall be parked, stored or otherwise placed in, on or upon land by the owner of said vehicle; nor shall same be allowed to be so parked, stored or otherwise placed in, on or upon land by the owner, lessee or authorized agent thereof, in any zoned district for a period of more than three consecutive days except in those areas as is hereinafter provided. Upon determination by the Building Inspector that said vehicle exists, he shall place a ticket on said vehicle requiring removal within three days. Upon expiration of this three-day period, the Building Inspector is authorized to arrange to have said vehicle removed at the owner's expense.
At the expiration of the three-day period mentioned herebefore, the owner of said vehicle or the said owner, lessee or authorized agent of the owner of the land is prohibited from moving said vehicle to any area or zone except those areas as are hereinafter provided.
Section 10.5 hereof shall not be applicable to such "unregistered and/or junk motor vehicle" which is housed, garaged or so situated that same is completely hidden from public view.
Notwithstanding any provision hereinafter set forth permitting accessory uses customarily incidental to a permitted use, no unregistered and/or junk motor vehicle can be parked, stored or placed on land used in conjunction with such permitted use, except in, on or upon the lot where the permitted use has its primary function or on a lot immediately adjacent thereto if otherwise permitted by the provisions of this ordinance.
In the event that an owner of an "unregistered" and/or "junk motor vehicle" satisfies the Building Inspector that he intends to register same in the case of an unregistered motor vehicle, or intends to replace necessary parts or repair a motor vehicle for operation and use as such in the case of a junk motor vehicle, the Building Inspector may extend the six-month period mentioned in Section 10.5.3 above or may extend the three-day period mentioned in Section 10.5.4 above, upon such conditions and terms that are reasonable and proper. If any person be aggrieved by the decision of the Building Inspector he may appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Purpose: It is the purpose of this ordinance to minimize the visual and environmental impacts of personal wireless facilities on the scenic, historic, environmental, natural or man-made resources of the City while allowing for adequate personal wireless services within its boundaries.
Definition: For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
- ABOVE GROUND LEVEL (AGL)
- A measurement of height from the natural undisturbed grade of a site to the highest point of the proposed structure.
- The surface from which wireless radio signals are sent and received by a personal wireless facility.
- A personal wireless service facility that is disguised, hidden, part of an existing or proposed structure or placed within an existing or proposed structure is considered "camouflaged."
- A company which provides wireless services.
- The use of a single mount on the ground by more than one carrier (vertical collocation) and/or the placement of several mounts on an existing building or structure by more than one carrier.
- CROSS-POLARIZED ANTENNA
- A low mount that has three panels flush mounted or attached very close to the shaft.
- The measurement of length in a horizontal plane.
- An "environmental assessment" is the document required by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Environmental Policy Act when a personal wireless service facility is placed in certain designated areas.
- The measurement of height above sea level.
- EQUIPMENT SHELTER
- An enclosed structure, cabinet, shed or box at/or near the base of the mount within which are housed batteries and/or electrical equipment.
- Shall mean the Federal Aviation Administration.
- FALL ZONE
- The area on the ground within a prescribed radius from the base of a personal wireless service facility. The fall zone is the area within which there is a potential hazard from falling debris (such as ice or tooling) or collapsing material.
- Shall mean the Federal Communications Commission.
- FUNCTIONALLY EQUIVALENT SERVICES
- Cellular, personal communication services (PCS), enhanced specialized mobile radio, specialized mobile radio and paging shall all be considered functionally equivalent for the purposes of the ordinance.
- GUYED TOWER
- A monopole or lattice tower that is tied to the ground or other surface by diagonal cables.
- LATTICE TOWER
- A type of mount which is self-supporting having multiple legs and cross-bracing of structural steel.
- LICENSED CARRIER
- A company authorized by the FCC to construct and/or operate a commercial personal wireless services system.
- The type of mount that is self-supporting with a single shaft of wood, steel or concrete and a platform for panel antennas arrayed at the top.
- The structure or surface upon which antennas are mounted. These include but are not limited to:
- NONRESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE
- Any structure other than private houses or apartments.
- OMNIDIRECTIONAL ANTENNA
- Commonly known as a "whip antenna," it is a thin rod that beams and receives a signal in all directions.
- PANEL ANTENNA
- A flat surface antenna usually developed in multiples.
- PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICE FACILITY
- A facility for the provision of personal wireless services, as defined by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICES
- The types of services regulated by this ordinance.
- RADIO FREQUENCY RADIATION (RFR)
- The emissions from personal wireless service facilities.
- RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) ENGINEER
- An engineer specializing in electrical or microwave engineering, especially the study of radio frequencies.
- SECURITY BARRIER
- A locked, impenetrable wall, fence or berm that completely seals an area from unauthorized entry or trespass.
- The distance between one carrier's array of antennas and another carrier's array.
Use: A personal wireless service facility shall require a building permit in all cases and may be permitted as follows:
Existing structure: A personal wireless facility may locate on an existing guyed tower, monopole, electric utility transmission tower, fire tower or water tower, provided the installation of the new facility does not increase the height of the existing structure except as provided in Section 10.6.3(3) contained herein. Such installations shall require a building permit and site plan approval by the Planning Board.
New construction: A personal wireless facility involving construction of one or more ground or building mounts shall require a special permit. Such facilities may locate by special permit in all zoning districts within the City, provided that the proposed use complies with the height and setback requirements of Section 10.6.3(3), all of the special permit regulations set forth in Section 10.6.4 of this ordinance and a building permit is obtained.
Location: Applicants seeking approval for personal wireless service facilities will comply with the following:
If feasible, personal wireless service facilities shall be located on existing structures, included but not limited to buildings, water towers, existing telecommunications facilities, utility towers and related facilities, provided that such installations preserve the character and integrity of those structures. The applicant shall have the burden of proving that there are no feasible existing structures upon which to locate. The applicant shall provide, in writing, that they have investigated all other locations of existing structures at other possible sites and provide documentation as to why their use is not satisfactory.
If the applicant successfully demonstrates to the Planning Board that it is not feasible to locate on an existing structure, the personal wireless service facility shall be so designed as to be camouflaged to the greatest extent possible. This camouflage shall include but is not limited to the use of compatible building materials and colors, screening, landscaping, placement within tree stands or any other device directed by the Planning Board.
The applicant shall submit documentation of the legal right to install and use the proposed facility mount at the time of application for a building permit and/or special permit.
Dimensional requirements: Personal wireless service facilities shall comply with the following requirements:
Height, general: Regardless of the type of mount, personal wireless service facilities shall be no higher than 10 feet above the average height of buildings within 300 feet of the proposed facility. In addition, the height of the personal wireless service facility shall not exceed by more than 10 feet the height limits of the zoning district in which the facility is proposed to be located, unless the facility is completely camouflaged, such as within a flagpole, steeple, chimney or similar structure. Personal wireless service facilities may locate on a building that is legally nonconforming, provided that the facilities do not project above the existing building height.
Height, ground-mounted facilities: Ground-mounted personal wireless service facilities shall not project higher than 10 feet above the average building height, or, if there are no buildings within 300 feet, these facilities shall not project higher than 10 feet above the average tree canopy height measured from ground level (AGL). If there are no buildings within 300 feet of the proposed site of the facility, all ground-mounted personal wireless service facilities shall be surrounded by dense tree growth to screen views of the facility in all directions. These trees may be existing on the property or planted as required for compliance.
Height, side- and/or roof-mounted facilities:
Side- and/or roof-mounted personal wireless service facilities shall not project more than 10 feet above the height of the existing building nor project more than 10 feet above the height limit of the zoning district within which the facility is to be located.
Personal wireless service facilities may locate on a building that is legally nonconforming with respect to height, provided that the facilities do not project above the highest point of the existing building.
Height, existing structures: New antennas located on any of the following structures existing on the effective date of this ordinance shall be exempt from the height restrictions of this ordinance, provided that there is no increase in the height of the existing structure as a result of the installation of a personal wireless facility: water towers, guyed towers, lattice towers, fire towers and monopoles.
Height, existing utility structures: New antennas located on any of the following structures shall be exempt from the height restrictions of this ordinance, provided that there is no more than a twenty-foot increase in the height of the existing structure as a result of the installation of a personal wireless facility: electric transmission and distribution towers or similar existing utility structures. This exemption shall not apply in historic districts, within 300 feet of the right-of-way of any scenic roadway or in any designated scenic viewsheds.
Setbacks: All personal wireless service facilities and their equipment shelters shall comply with the building setback provisions of the zoning district in which the facility is located. In addition, the following setbacks shall be observed:
In order to ensure public safety, the minimum distance from the base of any ground-mounted personal wireless facility to any property line, road, habitable dwelling, business or institutional use or public recreational area shall be 125% of the height of the facility/mount, including any antennas or other appurtenances. This setback is considered a fall zone.
In the event that an existing structure is proposed as a mount for the personal wireless facility, a fall zone shall not be required, but the setback provisions of the zoning district shall apply. In the case of preexisting nonconforming structures, personal wireless facilities and their equipment shelters shall not increase any nonconformities, except as provided in Section 10.6.3(3)(a) contained herein.
Flexibility: In reviewing a special permit application for a personal wireless facility, the Planning Board may reduce the required fall zone and/or setback distance by as much as 25% of the required distance, if it finds that a substantially better design will result from such reduction. In making such a finding, the Planning Board shall consider both the visual and safety impacts of the proposed use.
Special permit regulations: All personal wireless service facilities shall comply with the performance standards contained in this section.
Visibility/camouflage: Personal wireless service facilities shall be camouflaged as follows:
Camouflage by existing buildings or structures:
When a personal wireless service facility extends above the roof height of the building on which it is mounted, every effort shall be made to conceal the facility within or behind existing architectural features to limit its visibility from public ways. Facilities mounted on a roof shall be stepped back from the front facade in order to limit their impact on a building's silhouette.
Personal wireless service facilities which are side mounted shall blend with the existing building's architecture and, if over five feet, shall be painted or shielded with material which is consistent with the design features and materials of the building.
Camouflage by vegetation: If personal wireless service facilities are not camouflaged from public viewing areas by existing buildings or structures, they shall be surrounded by buffers of dense tree growth and understory vegetation in all directions to create an effective year-round visual buffer. Ground-mounted personal wireless facilities shall provide a vegetated buffer of sufficient height and depth to effectively screen the facility. Trees and vegetation may be existing on the subject property or installed as part of the proposed facility or a combination of both. The Planning Board shall determine the types of trees and plant materials and depth of the needed buffer based on site conditions. The facility shall include both equipment shelter(s) and antenna.
Personal wireless service facilities which are side mounted on buildings shall be painted or constructed of materials to match the color of the building material directly behind them.
To the extent that any personal wireless service facilities extend above the height of the vegetation immediately surrounding it, they shall be painted a light gray or light blue hue which blends with the sky and clouds.
Equipment shelters: Equipment shelters for personal wireless service facilities shall be designed consistent with one of the following design standards:
Equipment shelters shall be located in underground vaults; or
Equipment shelters shall be designed consistent with traditional New England architectural styles and materials; or
Equipment shelters shall be camouflaged behind an effective year-round landscape buffer, equal to the height to the proposed building, and/or a wooden fence. The Planning Board shall determine the style of fencing and/or landscape buffer that is compatible with the neighborhood.
Lighting and signage:
Lighting of equipment structures and any other facilities on the site shall be shielded from abutting properties. There shall be a total cutoff of all light at the property lines of the parcel to be developed, and footcandle measurements at the property line shall be 30.0 initial footcandles when measured at grade.
Signs shall be limited to those needed to identify the property and the owner and to warn of any danger. All signs shall comply with the requirements of Section 7 of the City's Zoning Ordinance regarding signs.
A security barrier shall surround all ground-mounted personal wireless service facilities.
Historic buildings and districts:
Any personal wireless service facility located on or within an historic structure shall not alter the character-defining features, distinctive construction methods or original historic materials of the building.
Any alteration made to an historic structure to accommodate a personal wireless service facility shall be fully reversible. Approval of the North Adams Historical Commission shall be required prior to any alterations being performed.
Personal wireless service facilities within an historic district shall be concealed within or behind existing architectural features or shall be located so that they are not visible from public roads and viewing areas within the district.
Scenic landscapes and vistas:
In order to minimize the visual impact on scenic locations, any personal wireless service facility that is located within 300 feet of a scenic vista, scenic landscape or scenic road as designated by the City shall not exceed the height of the vegetation at the proposed location.
Personal wireless service facilities shall not be located in wetlands, floodplains or Floodplain Districts, and disturbance to wetland buffer areas shall be minimized.
No hazardous waste shall be discharged on the site of any personal wireless service facility. If any hazardous materials are to be stored on site, there shall be provisions for the full containment of such materials. An enclosed containment area shall be provided with a sealed floor, designed to contain at least 110% of the volume of the hazardous materials used at the site.
Ground-mounted equipment for personal wireless service facilities shall not generate noise in excess 65 dB at the property line.
Roof-mounted or side-mounted equipment for personal wireless service facilities shall not generate noise in excess 65 dB at ground level at the base of the building closest to the antenna.
Special permit granting authority: The Planning Board shall be the special permit granting authority for purposes of this section.
Preapplication conference: Prior to the submission of an application for a special permit to the Planning Board under this regulation, the applicant is required to meet with the Building Inspector and Community Development Office to discuss the proposed personal wireless service facility in general terms and to clarify the filing requirements.
Preapplication filing requirements: The purpose of the conference is to inform the Planning Board as to the preliminary nature of the proposed personal wireless service facility. As such, no formal filings are required for the preapplication conference. However, the applicant is encouraged to prepare sufficient preliminary architectural and/or engineering drawings to inform the Planning Board of the location of the proposed facility, as well as its scale and overall design.
Application filing requirements: In addition to the requirements of Section 12.4 of the Zoning Ordinances for the City of North Adams, the following shall be included as part of the site plan approval for personal wireless service facilities.
General filing requirements: The following shall be included with the application for a special permit for all personal wireless service facilities:
Name, address and telephone number of applicant and any coapplicants as well as any agents for the applicants or coapplicants.
Coapplicants may include the landowner of the subject property, licensed carriers and tenants for the personal wireless service facility.
A licensed carrier shall be an applicant or a coapplicant.
Original signatures for the applicant and all coapplicants applying for the special permit. If the applicant or coapplicants will be represented by an agent, original signatures authorizing the agent to represent the applicant and/or coapplicants. Photo-reproductions of signatures will not be accepted.
A certificate of insurability of the applicant, covering destruction from a tower failure, at the time of filing.
Location filing requirements: The applicant shall meet with the Building Inspector and the Office of Community Development to finalize all required information prior to applying to appear before the Planning Board for a public hearing. The following shall be included with the application for a special permit for all personal wireless service facilities:
Identify the subject property by including the name of the locality, name of the street or nearest streets and street address, if any.
Tax Map and parcel number of the subject property.
Zoning district designation for the subject property. A copy of the City Zoning Map with the parcel identified will meet this requirement.
A line map to scale showing the lot lines of the subject property and all properties within 300 feet.
A City-wide map showing the location of any other existing personal wireless service facilities.
A City-wide map showing the locations of all existing and future personal wireless service facilities for this carrier.
Site filing requirements: The following shall be included with the application for a site plan approval special permit for all personal wireless service facilities:
A one inch equals 40 feet Key Map showing the following:
Property lines for the subject property.
Property lines of all properties adjacent to the subject property within 300 feet.
Tree cover on the subject property and adjacent properties within 300 feet, by dominant species and average height, as measured by or available from a verifiable source.
Outline of all existing buildings, including purpose (e.g., residences, garages, accessory structures, etc.) on subject property and all adjacent properties within 300 feet.
Proposed location of antenna, mount and equipment shelter or shelters.
Proposed security barrier, indicating type and extent as well as point of controlled entry.
Location of all roads, public and private, on the subject property and on all adjacent properties within 300 feet, including driveways proposed to serve the personal wireless service facility.
Distances, at grade, from the proposed personal wireless service facility to each building on the Key Map.
Contours at each two feet above mean sea level for the subject property and adjacent properties with 300 feet.
All proposed changes to the existing property, including grading, vegetation removal and temporary or permanent roads and driveways.
Representations, dimensioned and to scale, of the proposed mount, antennas, equipment shelters, cable runs, parking areas and any other construction or development attendant to the personal wireless service facility.
Lines representing the sight line showing viewpoint (point from which view is taken) and visible point (point being viewed) as required by Section 10.6.5(4)(c)(2) of this ordinance.
Sight lines and photographs as follows:
Sight line representation. A sight line representation shall be drawn from any public road within 300 feet and the closest facade of each residential building (viewpoint) within 300 feet to the highest point (visible point) of the personal wireless service facility. Each sight line shall be depicted in profile, drawn one inch equals 40 feet. The profiles shall show all intervening trees and buildings. In the event that there is only one residential building within the 300 feet, there shall be at least two sight lines from the closest habitable structure or public roads, if any.
Existing (preconstruction) photographs. Each sight line shall be illustrated by a color photograph of what can currently be seen from any public road within 300 feet.
Proposed (postconstruction). Each of the existing condition photographs shall have the proposed personal wireless service facility superimposed on it to show what will be seen from public roads if the proposed personal wireless service facility is built.
Site elevations or views at grade from the north, east, south and west for a fifty-foot radius around the proposed personal wireless service facility plus from all existing public and private roads that serve the subject property. Elevations shall be at either 1/4 inch equals one-foot or 1/8 inch equals one-foot scale and show the following:
Antennas, mounts and equipment shelter(s), with total elevation dimensions and AGL of the highest point.
Security barrier. If a security barrier will block views of the personal wireless service facility, the barrier drawing shall be cut away to show the view behind the barrier.
Any and all structures on the property.
Existing trees and shrubs at current height and proposed trees and shrubs at proposed height at the time of installation, with appropriate elevations dimensioned.
Grade changes, or cuts and fills, to be shown as original grade and new grade line, with two-foot contours above mean sea level.
Design filing requirements:
Equipment brochures for the proposed personal wireless service facility such as manufacturer's specifications or trade journal reprints shall be provided for the antenna, mounts, equipment shelter(s), cables, cable runs and security barrier(s), if any.
Materials of the proposed personal wireless service facility specified by generic type and specific treatment (e.g., anodized aluminum, stained wood, painted fiberglass, etc.). These shall be provided for the antennas, mounts, equipment shelter(s), cables, cable runs and security barrier(s), if any.
Colors of the proposed personal wireless service facility represented by a color board showing the actual colors proposed. Colors shall be provided for the antenna, mounts, equipment shelter(s), cables, cable runs and security barrier(s), if any.
Dimensions of the personal wireless service facility specified for all three directions: height, width and breadth. These shall be provided for the antennas, mounts, equipment shelter(s), cables, cable runs and security barrier(s), if any.
Appearance shown by at least two photographic superimpositions of the personal wireless service facility within the subject property. The photographic superimpositions shall be provided for the antennas, mounts, equipment shelter(s), cables, cable runs and security barrier(s), if any, for the total height, width and breadth.
Landscape plan, including trees and shrubs and those proposed to be added, identified by size of specimen at installation and species.
Within 30 days of the preapplication conference or within 21 days of filing an application for a special permit, the applicant shall arrange for a balloon or crane test at the proposed site to illustrate the height of the proposed facility. The date, time and location of such test shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the City at least seven days but not more than 14 days prior to the test. Notification shall be provided to all abutters of record indicating the date and time of the test. The balloon shall be flown at the maximum height of the proposed structure for a period of no less than four hours between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The balloon shall be a minimum of three feet in diameter and shall be brightly colored.
If lighting of the site is proposed, the applicant shall submit a manufacturer's computer-generated point-to-point printout, indicating the horizontal footcandles at grade within the property to be developed and 25 feet beyond the property lines. The printout shall indicate the locations and types of luminaries proposed.
Noise filing requirements: The applicant shall provide a statement listing the existing and maximum future projected measurements of noise from the proposed personal wireless service facilities, measured in decibels Ldn (logarithmic scale, accounting for greater sensitivity at night) for the following:
Existing, or ambient: the measurement of existing noise.
Existing plus proposed personal wireless service facilities: maximum estimate of the noise from the proposed personal wireless service facility plus the existing noise.
Such statements shall be certified and signed by an acoustical engineer, having a record of service to municipalities, stating that the noise measurements and estimates are accurate and will meet the noise standards of this ordinance.
Radiofrequency radiation (RFR) filing requirements: The applicant shall provide a statement listing the existing and maximum future projected measurements of RFR from the proposed personal wireless service facility for the following situations:
Existing, or ambient: the measurement of existing RFR.
Existing plus proposed personal wireless service facilities: maximum estimate of RFR from the proposed personal wireless service facility plus the existing RFR.
Such statements shall be certified and signed by an RF engineer, having a record of service to municipalities, stating that the RFR measurements and estimates are accurate and meet FCC guidelines as specified in this ordinance.
Federal environmental filing requirements:
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) applies to all applications for personal wireless service facilities. NEPA is administered by the FCC via procedures adopted as Subpart 1, Section 1.1301 et seq. (47 CRF Ch. 1). The FCC requires that an environmental assessment (EA) be filed with the FCC prior to beginning operations for any personal wireless service facility proposed in or involving any of the following:
At the time of application filing, an EA that meets FCC requirements shall be submitted to the City for each personal wireless service facility site that requires such an EA to be submitted to the FCC.
The applicant shall list location, type and amount of any materials proposed for use within the personal wireless service facility that are considered hazardous by federal, state or local governments.
Structural filing requirements: The applicant shall provide a statement from a certified structural engineer, with a record of service to municipalities, stating that the service facility is of sound structural design for the intended use and locality.
Waiver of filing requirements: The Planning Board may waive one or more of the application filing requirements of this section if it finds that such information is not needed for a thorough review of a proposed personal wireless service facility.
Licensed carriers shall share personal wireless service facilities and sites where feasible and appropriate, thereby reducing the number of personal wireless service facilities that are stand-alone facilities. All applicants for a special permit for a personal wireless service facility shall demonstrate a good faith effort to collocate with other carriers. Such good faith effort includes:
A survey of all existing structures that may be feasible sites for collocating personal wireless service facilities;
Contact with all the other licensed carriers for commercial and commercial mobile radio services in the county; and
Sharing information necessary to determine if collocation is feasible under the design configuration most accommodating to collocation.
In the event that collocation is found not to be feasible, a written statement of the reasons for the unfeasibility shall be submitted to the City via the Planning Board. The City may retain a technical expert in the field of RF engineering to verify if collocation at the site is not feasible or is feasible given the design configuration most accommodating to collocation. The cost for such a technical expert will be at the expense of the applicant. The City may deny a special permit to an applicant that has not demonstrated a good faith effort to provide for collocation.
If the applicant does intend to collocate or to permit collocation, the City shall request drawings and studies that show the ultimate appearance and operation of the personal wireless service facility at full build-out.
If the Planning Board approves collocation for a personal wireless service facility, the special permit shall indicate how many facilities of what type shall be permitted on that site. Facilities specified in the special permit approval shall require no further zoning approval. However, the addition of any facilities not specified in the approved special permit shall require a new special permit. Estimates of RFR emissions will be required for all facilities, including currently proposed and future facilities.
Modifications: A modification of a personal wireless service facility may be considered equivalent to an application for a new personal wireless service facility and will require a special permit when the following apply:
The applicant and/or coapplicant wants to alter the terms of the special permit by changing the personal wireless service facility in one or more of the following ways:
The applicant and/or coapplicant wants to add any equipment or additional height not specified in the original design filing.
Monitoring and maintenance:
After the personal wireless service facility is operational, the applicant shall submit, to the Building Inspector, within 90 days of beginning operations, existing measurements of RFR from the personal wireless service facility. Such measurements shall be signed by an RF engineer, stating that the RFR measurements are accurate and meet FCC guidelines as specified in the radio frequency standards contained in this ordinance. The operator shall submit a letter to the Building Inspector certifying that the carrier or licensee meets FCC guidelines for RFR emissions every two years or whenever there is a change in fee standards.
After the personal wireless service facility is operational, the applicant shall submit, to the Building Inspector, within 90 days of beginning operations, existing measurements of noise from the personal wireless service facility. Such measurements shall be signed by an acoustical engineer, stating that the noise measurements are accurate and meet noise levels established in Section 14-4.1 of the Ordinances of the City of North Adams.
The applicant and/or coapplicant shall maintain the personal wireless service facility in good condition. Such maintenance shall include but not be limited to painting, structural integrity of the mount and security barrier and maintenance of the buffer areas and landscaping and shall be performed under the guidelines of the FCC and FAA rules and requirements. Additionally, on a five-year basis, an engineering evaluation of the structural soundness of the wireless service facility shall be performed and a copy of the evaluation forwarded to the Building Inspector.
Abandonment or discontinuation of use.
At such time that a licensed carrier plans to abandon or discontinue operation of a personal wireless service facility, such carrier will notify the City by certified United States mail of the proposed date of abandonment or discontinuation of use. Such notice shall be given no less than 30 days prior to the abandonment or discontinuation of operations. In the event that the licensed carrier fails to give such notice, the personal wireless service facility shall be considered abandoned upon such discontinuation of operations.
Upon abandonment or discontinuation of use, the carrier shall physically remove the personal wireless service facility within 90 days from the date of abandonment or discontinuation of use. "Physically remove" shall include but not be limited to:
Removal of antennas, mount, equipment shelters and security barriers from the subject property.
Proper disposal of the waste materials from the site in accordance with local, state and federal solid waste disposal regulations.
Restoring the location of the personal wireless service facility to its natural condition, except that any landscaping and grading shall remain in the after-condition.
If a carrier fails to remove a personal wireless service facility in accordance with this section of this ordinance, the City shall have the authority to enter the subject property and physically remove the facility. The Planning Board may require the applicant to post a bond at the time of construction to cover costs for the removal of the personal wireless service facility in the event that the City must remove the facility.
Reconstruction or replacement of existing towers and monopoles: Guyed towers, lattice towers, utility towers and monopoles in existence at the time of adoption of this ordinance may be reconstructed, altered, extended or replaced on the same site by special permit, provided that the Planning Board finds that such reconstruction, alteration, extension or replacement will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood and/or the City than the existing structure. In making such a determination, the Planning Board shall consider whether the proposed reconstruction, alteration, extension or replacement will create public benefits, such as the opportunity for collocation, improvements in public safety and/or reduction in visual and environmental impacts. No reconstruction, alteration, extension or replacement shall exceed the height of the existing facility.
Term of special permit. A special permit issued for any personal wireless service facility over 50 feet in height shall be valid for 15 years. At the end of that time, the personal wireless service facility shall be removed by the carrier or a new special permit shall be required.
Removal of topsoil and gravel:
Removal restricted: Unless otherwise provided in this section, there shall be no removal from the premises in any district of earth, sand, gravel, clay or quarrystone, except as surplus material resulting from a bona fide construction, landscape or agricultural operation being executed on the premises, and provided that no permanent damage is done to the landscape.
Removal of topsoil: The Zoning Board of Appeals may grant a special permit in any district for the removal of topsoil or loam from any area, provided that no less than four inches of topsoil or loam remains and provided further that the entire area disturbed is seeded with a suitable cover crop or is put to cultivation.
Removal of sand, gravel, clay: The Zoning Board of Appeals, after public hearing, may issue a special permit for the removal of sand, gravel or clay in any district under the following conditions:
The applicant shall submit a plan showing existing grades in the area from which the above material is to be removed, together with finished grades at the conclusion of the operation.
The plan shall provide for proper drainage of the area of the operation during and after completion, and no bank shall exceed a slope of one foot of vertical rise in 1 1/2 feet of horizontal distance except in ledge rock. No removal shall take place within 20 feet of a property line except that where the grade from a property line rises towards the lot where removal is to take place, material lying above the grade at the property line may be removed.
At the conclusion of the operation or of any substantial portion thereof, the whole area where removal takes place shall be covered with not less than four inches of topsoil and seeded with a suitable cover crop, except where ledge rock is exposed.
Before a permit is granted under this section, the applicant shall post a bond with the Treasurer of the City of North Adams in an amount approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals as sufficient to guarantee conformity with the provisions of the permit issued hereunder.
Public garages and service stations:
The Zoning Board of Appeals, after a public hearing and under appropriate conditions and safeguards, and within the proper use districts, may issue a special permit for the erection of a public garage or auto service station. Under no circumstances shall a permit be issued for the erection of or enlargement of a public garage for more than five motor vehicles, or a motor vehicle service station or gas filling station, or for the conversion of any premises not so used to be used for such purposes, if any part of the lot or plot in question is situated within a two-hundred-foot radius of any part of a lot used or to be used for:
No gasoline filling appliance shall be located within 20 feet of a street line or within 20 feet of an adjacent property line.
Access: At any public garage, gasoline selling station or service station where the nature of the services rendered requires automobiles to drive over the sidewalk for entrance to or exit from the premises so used, definite driveways of reasonable width shall be delineated and suitable curbings shall be erected along the street line, between and on either side of driveways.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall find that the proposed use will not tend to depreciate the value of adjoining property or uses, impair the integrity of this regulation, endanger the appropriate use of land in the immediate neighborhood, or be inconsistent with the public welfare.
No existing garage for more than five motor vehicles, group of garages for more than five motor vehicles, or motor vehicle service station or gas filling station shall be deemed to become a nonconforming use through the subsequent erection of such a school, hospital, church, library or playground as defined above, within the aforesaid prescribed area.
Mobile homes and mobile home parks:
Mobile home: A mobile home is any vehicle or object on wheels and having no motor power of its own but which is drawn by or may be used in connection with a motor vehicle, and which is so designed and constructed, or reconstructed or added to by means of accessories, as to permit the use of occupancy thereof for human habitation whether resting on wheels, jacks or other foundation. Only independent mobile homes, with completely trapped and vented sewage systems, shall be permitted in a mobile park.
Mobile home park: A mobile home park is any lot or tract of land upon which three or more trailer coaches or mobile homes are occupied for dwelling purposes, including any buildings, structures or equipment located thereon in connection therewith.
Future descriptions: Future descriptions of domiciles intended for use as mobile homes and which basically suit the intent and description or specifications of a mobile home shall be subject to this ordinance.
Restricted use: No mobile home may be permitted to be used in the City of North Adams unless same is so used in a mobile home park.
Mobile home park district: The two districts in the City of North Adams wherein a mobile home park may be permitted to be used shall be in a rural or affordable housing district.
Boundary lines: No mobile home park established in a rural or affordable housing district shall be within 300 feet of any presently zoned residential area or within 100 feet of any other zoned area within the City limits.
Size of mobile homes: No mobile home shall be allowed in any mobile home park the area of which including appendages and/or accessory buildings exceeds 33 1/3% of the lot size. The size of any mobile home, excluding appendages, must exceed nine feet and six inches in width and 40 feet in length.
Size of mobile home spaces and setback:
Each mobile home shall be provided with an area of land not less than 5,000 square feet and such area of land shall not be less than 50 feet in width.
A mobile home including appendages placed thereon shall be at least 20 feet from the front line of the area provided for the mobile home, which front line shall border the mobile home park street or way, and same shall be at least 20 feet from the mobile home or appendage on any adjoining lot at the side and rear.
A corner lot in a mobile home park is that area of land which is bounded by two intersecting streets or ways. Mobile homes placed on corner lots shall be at least 20 feet from both streets or way lines.
An accessory building placed on a mobile home lot may not exceed 100 square feet in area or eight feet in height and shall be located at the extreme rear of the lot at a point farthest from the streets or way lines.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, no mobile home shall be allowed within 40 feet of a preexisting street or way to which the public has a right of access.
Requirements of mobile home park:
Each mobile home park shall, in addition to the minimum lot size of each mobile home, as set forth in Section 10.9.8 above, provide additional areas for correct parking, roads, grass-plot bordering and a general provision for recreation park and such accessory buildings that are incidental to the management of the park. This area shall be a minimum of 40% of the entire area of the park. No buildings other than those used incidental to and in connection with the use of said park shall be permitted therein or thereon. Said recreation park shall be designed to provide for active and passive recreation of the residents of the mobile home park. Swimming facilities, when provided, shall be completely fenced.
Mobile home sales are permitted in a mobile home park, on condition that an area in said park of not more than 30,000 square feet or 40% of total area of the park be provided therefor; which area shall be in addition to the 40% area mentioned in Section 10.9.9(1) and which shall not be within any required minimum front, side or rear yard area. The mobile home sales area shall be limited to a maximum of 15 units therein where said units may be kept for display and sale on the premises. This shall not restrict or limit any sale or sales of mobile homes therein situate being used or adopted for immediate use for human habitation in accordance with all the provisions of the existing ordinance.
Mobile home park application; plans and specifications: Each applicant for a license to operate a mobile home park shall file a written application with the Building Inspector who shall review same to determine that the area complies with provisions of this ordinance, as amended. The Building Inspector shall note his determination on said application and forward same to the Board of Health. The application shall contain:
Name of mobile home park, boundaries, North point, date and scale.
Name and address of record owner, and engineer or surveyor.
Names of all abutters as they appear in the most recent tax list.
Sufficient data to determine the location, direction and length of every street and way line, lot line and boundary line, mobile home lots, and to establish these lines on the ground. Streets shall be constructed with a hard surface, consisting of 1 1/2 inches minimum bituminous asphalt or concrete on a twelve-inch minimum gravel base, within two years of occupancy in any mobile home located on the street.
Proposed layout of drainage, water supply, sewage disposal systems, recreation area, and all other proposed facilities.
Streets; location and alignment:
All streets in a mobile home park shall be designed so that they will provide safe vehicular travel. Due consideration shall be given by the park operator or owner to the attractiveness of the street layout in order to obtain the maximum livable amenity of the mobile home park.
Provision shall be made for the proper projection of streets.
The minimum width of street rights-of-way shall be 40 feet.
Watercourse, drainageway, channel or stream: Where a mobile home park is traversed by a watercourse, drainageway, channel or stream, the Building Inspector may require that there be provided a drainage right-of-way of adequate width to conform substantially to the lines of such watercourse, drainageway, channel or stream, and that adequate distance be provided between any mobile home and the drainage right-of-way.
Water supply: An adequate supply of pure water for drinking and domestic purposes shall be supplied by pipes to all buildings and mobile home spaces within the park to meet the requirements of the park. Each mobile home space shall be provided with a cold water tap at least four inches above the ground. An adequate supply of hot water shall be provided at all times in the service buildings for all bathing, washing, cleaning, and laundry facilities.
Service buildings housing sanitation and laundry facilities, or any such facilities, shall be permanent structures complying with all applicable ordinances and statutes regulating buildings, electrical installations and plumbing and sanitation systems.
The service buildings shall be well lighted at all times of the day and night, shall be well ventilated with screened openings, shall be constructed of such moistureproof material, including painted woodwork, as shall permit repeated cleaning and washing, and shall be maintained at a temperature of at least 68° F., 20° C., during the period from October 1, to May 1. The floors of the service buildings shall be of water impervious material.
All service buildings and the grounds of the park shall be maintained in a clean, sightly condition and kept free of any condition that will menace the health of any occupant or the public or constitute a nuisance.
Sewage and refuse disposal:
Waste from showers, bathtubs, flush toilets, urinals, lavatories, slop sinks, and laundries in service and other buildings within the park shall be discharged into a public sewer system in compliance with applicable ordinances or into a private sewer and disposal plant or septic tank system of such construction and in such manner as will present no health hazard.
The sewer in each space shall be connected to discharge the mobile home waste into a public sewer system in compliance with applicable ordinances or into a private sewer disposal plant or septic tank system of such construction and in such manner as will present no health hazard.
Central garbage and rubbish receptacles: Metal garbage receptacles with tight-fitting covers shall be provided in quantities adequate to permit disposal of all garbage and rubbish. The receptacles shall be kept in sanitary condition at all times. Garbage and rubbish shall be collected and disposed of as frequently as may be necessary to insure that the garbage receptacles shall not overflow.
Fire protection: Every park shall be equipped at all times with fire extinguishing equipment in good working order, of such type, size and number and so located within the park as to satisfy applicable reasonable regulations of the fire department. No open fires shall be permitted at any place which may endanger life or property. No fires shall be left untended at any time.
Register of occupants:
It shall be the duty of each licensee and permittee to keep a register containing a record of all mobile home owners and occupants located within the park. The register shall contain the following information:
The park shall keep the register available for inspection at all times by law enforcement officers, public health officials, and other officials whose duties necessitate acquisition of the information contained in the register. The register record for each occupant registered shall not be destroyed for a period of three years following the date of departure of the registrant from the park.
Licenses and fees: A mobile home park owner or operator must fully comply with General Laws, Chapter 140, Sections 32A to 32L, inclusive, as applicable, and obtain necessary licenses from the Board of Health of the City of North Adams.
Board of Health:
The Board of Health shall not grant any license for a mobile home park unless it receives written notification from the Building Inspector that the applicant has complied with all local zoning ordinances;
That, upon the granting of a license, the Board of Health shall forthwith give notification thereof to the Building Inspector, Board of Assessors and the Collector of Taxes.
Permitting and regulating campgrounds:
Purpose: The purpose of this ordinance is to provide regulations for areas developed, licensed and operated for recreational camping for overnight or longer periods under Article VIII of the State Sanitary Code, in order to promote public health, safety and general welfare, as authorized in Chapter 40A of the General Laws, as amended.
Permitted uses: Campgrounds established under this ordinance may accommodate tents, mobile camping units, expandable trailer units, Adirondack shelters, and such other devices as may be developed and marketed for the camping trade, on rented campsites, developed in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance, and may contain temporary or permanent buildings and facilities for common usage or group activity purposes, and one dwelling for resident manager or operator. The term "campground" as used in this ordinance does not include "mobile home parks" which are subject to the provisions of Section 10.9 of this ordinance.
Zoning districts: A campground may be established under this ordinance by a special permit from the Planning Board as provided in Section 12.3 herein, in any residence or rural zoning district established under the Zoning Ordinance and as shown on the Zoning Map of the City.
Special requirements: Any proposed campground shall comply with the development standards and operating criteria contained herein unless otherwise authorized by special permit from the Planning Board with regard to a specific requirement if the Board finds, after a public hearing, that the compliance with such specific requirement will cause unnecessary hardship and that the proposed alternative is in harmony with the intent and purpose of this ordinance and will provide equal protection to campsites and the neighborhood. These development standards and operating criteria are in addition to or in modification of other applicable provisions or requirements pertaining to the establishment and maintenance of such use contained in the State Building and Sanitary Codes, and any other applicable laws and regulations.
Development standards and operating criteria:
The minimum lot area for a campground development shall be 20 acres.
The number of campsites in any one campground shall not exceed 150 sites.
There shall be a minimum of 20% of the total land area in a campground development left in its natural state.
Within the development, usable land areas shall be provided for recreational uses, suitably graded and landscaped, to serve the needs of the proposed development in accordance with reasonable site planning standards.
Off-street parking shall be provided for the cars of all patrons and employees together with the necessary access driveways to public ways. Such parking areas and access driveways shall be adequate in the judgment of the Planning Board depending on the number of campsites and terrain factors, and shall be treated to inhibit dust.
Parking and recreational areas shall be so designated and located as to be safely and conveniently accessible from campsites which they are intended to serve.
Within the development, vehicular and pedestrian circulation facilities shall be provided for safe and convenient use in accordance with reasonable site planning standards.
No driveway providing access from the street for such use shall be located within 50 feet of any side lot lines. Campsites, off-street parking areas and unenclosed recreational facilities shall be located not less than 100 feet from any property line and shall be screened in such a manner as to be not visible from adjacent lots in residential or institutional use.
Where outdoor lighting is provided for activities after normal daylight hours, such lights shall be extinguished not later than 11:00 p.m. Outdoor lighting shall be so shielded as to cast no direct light upon adjacent property or public ways.
No public address system shall be permitted except where such system is inaudible at any property line.
Each campsite shall contain not less than 2,500 square feet of area for the exclusive use of each site occupant, provided that there shall be not more than 10 campsites per gross acre devoted to such sites, and exclusive of all public open spaces.
Each campsite shall not have less than 50 feet frontage on an access driveway or way connected ultimately to a public street, and an average width of not less than 50 feet, and a minimum depth of 50 feet. This requirement shall not apply to so-called primitive areas where motor vehicles are excluded from the site.
Each campsite shall have an open unoccupied yard, five feet wide, along each campsite boundary line to serve as a buffer area between campsites.
Campsites shall be arranged so that:
There shall be not more than 10 contiguous campsites on each side of the same way without separation by a way or a landscaped buffer strip not less than five feet wide.
The landscaped buffer strips shall continue five feet wide along side or rear campsite lot lines, so as to separate the campsites into groups of not more than 20 surrounded by either landscaped or public spaces.
Special permit from Planning Board:
A campground may be established under this ordinance only upon the issuance of a special permit from the Planning Board in accordance with the provisions of Section 9, Chapter 40A, of the General Laws, and in compliance with the requirements of this ordinance.
Authority: The Planning Board is hereby designated as the special permit granting authority under this ordinance as authorized in Section 1A, Chapter 40A, of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 808 of the Acts of 1975.
Application: Any application to the Planning Board for a special permit under this ordinance shall be accompanied by a site plan which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
The boundaries of the property and all roads and buildings within 500 feet of the property;
Proposed and existing roads, parking areas, required drainage and sanitary facilities, proposed grading, existing and proposed topography, proposed location of proposed buildings and the limits of proposed activities, proposed lighting and other utility installations, access and egress ways, together with a specific list of the proposed use or uses, including daytime and nighttime activities;
The location and size of all proposed campsites;
Names and mailing addresses of all abutting property owners as they appear on the most recent tax list.
Compliance with Section 12.3 required: Any special permit issued by the Planning Board under this section shall be in compliance with and subject to all the applicable provisions of Section 12.3 of this ordinance.
Compliance with state and City regulations: No special permit shall be issued by the Planning Board under this section unless the Board finds that the proposed facility is in compliance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of North Adams public health regulations and any other laws and regulations pertaining to the establishment and maintenance of such use, and unless and until the Board of Health of North Adams has approved water supply, waste and refuse disposal methods and other aspects of the development which come under its jurisdiction.
Subject to a policy approved by the Planning Board and City Council.
Licensed marijuana establishments.
[Ord. of 3-27-2018]
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide for the placement of licensed marijuana establishments in suitable locations in the City of North Adams in recognition of and in accordance with "The Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed," MGL c. 94G, and "Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana," Session Laws, Acts of 2012, C. 369. The specific purpose of this section is to safeguard the built environment by permitting compliance with state law in a manner consistent with community and neighborhood concerns, while also ensuring that those entities permitted to operate a licensed marijuana establishment, as defined herein, comply with all of the provisions of Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016, Chapter 351 of the Acts of 2016, Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017, and the regulations promulgated by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) found at 935 CMR 500.00 et seq.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
- CRAFT MARIJUANA COOPERATIVE
- A marijuana cultivator comprised of residents of the commonwealth organized as a limited-liability company or limited-liability partnership under the laws of the commonwealth, or an appropriate business structure as determined by the Cannabis Control Commission, and that is licensed to cultivate, obtain, manufacture, process, package and brand marijuana and marijuana products to deliver marijuana or marijuana establishments but not to consumers.
- INDEPENDENT TESTING LABORATORY
- A laboratory that is licensed by the Commission and is: (i) accredited to the most current International Organization for Standardization 17025 by a third-party accrediting body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Accrediting Cooperation mutual recognition arrangement or that is otherwise approved by the Commission; (ii) independent financially from any medical marijuana treatment center or any licensee or marijuana establishment for which it conducts a test; and (iii) qualified to test marijuana in compliance with 935 CMR 500.160 and MGL c. 94C, § 34.
- LICENSED MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENT (LME)
- A marijuana cultivator, testing laboratory, research facility, marijuana product manufacturer, marijuana retailer, micro-business, craft cooperative, or any other type of licensed marijuana-related business.
- MARIJUANA CULTIVATOR
- An entity licensed to cultivate, process, and package marijuana; to deliver marijuana to marijuana establishments; and to transfer marijuana to other marijuana establishments but not consumers.
- MARIJUANA MICRO-BUSINESS
- A marijuana establishment that is licensed to act as a: licensed marijuana cultivator in an area less than 5,000 square feet; licensed marijuana product manufacturer, and licensed marijuana delivery service in compliance with the operating procedures for each such license.
- MARIJUANA PRODUCT MANUFACTURER
- An entity licensed to obtain, manufacture, process, and package marijuana and marijuana products; to deliver marijuana and marijuana products to marijuana establishments, and to transfer marijuana and marijuana products to other marijuana establishments but not consumers.
- MARIJUANA PRODUCTS
- Products that have been manufactured and contain marijuana or an extract from marijuana, including concentrated forms of marijuana and products composed of marijuana and other ingredients that are intended for use or consumption, including edible products, beverages, topical products, ointments, oils and tinctures.
- MARIJUANA RESEARCH FACILITY
- An entity licensed to engage in research projects by the Cannabis Control Commission.
- MARIJUANA RETAILER
- An entity licensed to purchase and deliver marijuana and marijuana products from marijuana establishments and to deliver, sell, or otherwise transfer marijuana and marijuana products to marijuana establishments and to consumers.
- MEDICAL MARIJUANA TREATMENT CENTER
- A not-for-profit entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses,
processes (including development of related products such as food,
tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells,
distributes, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana,
related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients
or their personal caregivers.[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Designated locations for marijuana establishments. The locations designated by the City of North Adams where an LME may be sited are delineated in Appendix A (Use Regulation Schedule): Retail, Service and Commercial Uses; Wholesale, Utilities, Transportation and Industrial Uses;
All LMEs must be set back at least 500 feet from any school, day-care center or similar facility where organized youth activities occur. Distances shall be measured by a straight line between the nearest structure of the said facility and the LME building. Outdoor facilities or structures, such as playgrounds, shall be considered part of the facility. The special permit granting authority may modify or waive this requirement.
Any type of LME not specified in Appendix A may be located in the I-1, I-2 or I-P Zone Districts.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
Designated number of marijuana establishments.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
The total number of marijuana retail establishments shall not exceed 20% of the number of licenses issued within the City for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages not to be drunk on the premises. Fractions of establishments shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number.
The total number of all non-retail LMEs, not including medical marijuana treatment centers, may not exceed 50% of the number of licenses issued within the City for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages not to be drunk on the premises. Fractions of establishments shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number.
The total number of medical marijuana treatment centers shall not exceed one.
There shall be no restrictions on the number of any particular type of LME permitted within the City, other than as regulated in Subsection (1)(a) and (c).
Special permit required. No LME shall be operated or expanded without first obtaining a special permit from the City of North Adams special permit granting authority in accordance with Sections 10.12 and 12.3 of the Zoning Ordinance.
The special permit granting authority for any LME shall be the Planning Board except in the Urban Renewal District, where the permit granting authority is the North Adams Redevelopment Authority.
A special permit shall only be valid for use by the applicant and will become null and void upon the sale or transfer of the license of an LME or change in the location of the business.
In the event that the commonwealth's licensing authority suspends the license or registration of a marijuana establishment, the special permit shall be so suspended by the City until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of said licensing authority.
The special permit shall be considered null and void if meaningful construction has not begun on the project within two years of obtaining said permit, as determined by the Building Inspector or their designee(s).
Site plan review. Applications to operate or expand an LME shall be subject to Section 12.4 of the Zoning Ordinance. The site plan shall be submitted in conjunction with the special permit application and joined to the final approval for the special permit.
Outside storage. No outside storage of marijuana, marijuana products, related supplies, or educational materials is permitted, except for outdoor, open air cultivation operations.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Visibility of activities. All activities of any LME shall be conducted indoors, except for outdoor, open air cultivation operations.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Paraphernalia. Devices, contrivances, instruments and paraphernalia for inhaling or otherwise consuming marijuana, including, but not limited to, rolling papers and related tools, water pipes, and vaporizers may be lawfully sold at a marijuana retailer. No retail marijuana, marijuana products, or paraphernalia shall be displayed or kept in a retail marijuana store so as to be visible from outside of the licensed premises.
Hours of operation. Operating hours of a marijuana retailer shall be consistent with the regulations for "Alcoholic Liquors," MGL c. 138, unless determined otherwise by the special permit granting authority. There shall be no hourly restrictions on any other type of LME, unless imposed by the special permit granting authority as part of site plan approval.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
On-site consumption of marijuana. The use, consumption, ingestion or inhalation of marijuana or marijuana products shall only be permitted at licensed research facilities, as per 935 CMR 500.050(6)(c), within the confines of the building. On-site consumption is prohibited on or within the premises of any other LME.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Sale of alcohol. LMEs are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages.
Design requirements. The following are required for all proposed operations of an LME.
[Ord. of 6-12-2018]
Permanent location. Each LME and any part of its operation, including but not limited to, cultivation, processing, packaging, and sales, shall be operated from a fixed location within a fully enclosed building. No marijuana establishment shall be permitted to operate from a moveable, mobile, or transitory location, except for outdoor, open air cultivation operations.
Signage. All signage must comply with the regulations set forth in Section 7, Sign Regulations.
Lighting. Outdoor light levels shall not exceed one footcandle along property lines, nor 10 footcandles for any location on the property. Any light poles, new or existing, may not exceed 18 feet in overall height. All outdoor light fixtures must be shielded and aimed down in order to prevent light trespass onto adjacent properties. The special permit granting authority may modify this requirement if, upon recommendation by the Police Director, it is required for adequate safety and security.
Landscaping. The proposed site shall provide landscaping to harmonize the LME with surrounding uses. Landscaping shall be provided as per the requirements listed in Section 6.7.3, Parking lot landscaping. Trees and shrubs may be clustered. Landscaping must consist of native, non-invasive plant species. The special permit granting authority may modify or waive this requirement.
Parking. Off-street parking must be provided for any LME as specified in Section 6.4, Off-street parking requirements.
Drive-through facilities. LMEs are prohibited from installing an on-site drive-through facility.
Fencing. Fencing may be required if determined necessary by the Police Director or the Planning Board. The location, height and type of fencing may be determined by the Planning Board as a condition of the special permit approval. In no instance shall barbed-wire fencing be permitted.
Waste disposal. There shall be no outdoor storage of waste, including dumpsters, for any marijuana retailer. All waste generated shall be secured indoors, to be serviced by a professional janitorial company or medical waste company.
Filing requirements. Applications to permit an LME must be submitted to the Building Inspector, or their designee(s). Such applications for LMEs shall include the following:
Site plan. A site plan shall be submitted that includes all information required per Section 12.4.5, Site plan, and must also include the following:
Security plan. A security plan shall be submitted, to ensure the safety of employees, patrons, and the public to protect the premises from theft or other criminal activity. The security plan shall be reviewed and approved by the local Police Director, or their designee. The security plan shall include the following:
Traffic study. The Planning Board may require a traffic study that includes an analysis of traffic generation, circulation, and off-street parking demand to determine sufficient parking and optimum configuration for site ingress and egress.
State license. A copy of the license or registration as an LME from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission or documentation that demonstrates that said facility and its owner/operators qualify and are eligible to receive a certification of registration and meet all of the requirements of an LME in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Commission, as amended.
Proof of site control. Evidence that the applicant has site control and the right to use the site for an LME in the form of a deed, valid lease, or purchase and sale agreement or a notarized statement from the property owner certifying the applicant has firm site control.
Discontinuance of use. Any LME under this section shall be required to remove all material, plants, equipment, and other paraphernalia in compliance with regulations established by the Cannabis Control Commission within 30 days after the expiration or voiding of its license.
No City liability; indemnification.
The applicant and all licensees waive and release the City, its elected officials, employees, and agents from any liability for injuries, damages, or liabilities of any kind that result from any arrest or prosecution of the LME owners, operators, employees, clients, or customers for a violation of state or federal laws, rules, or regulations.
The applicant, in receiving approvals issued pursuant to this chapter, and all licensees, jointly and severally, if more than one, agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the City, its elected officials, employees, attorneys, agents, insurers and self-insurance pool against all liability, claims and demands on account of any injury, loss or damage, including, without limitation, claims arising from bodily injury, personal injury, sickness, disease, death, property loss or damage or any other loss of any kind whatsoever, arising out of or in any manner connected with the operation of the LME that is subject of the approval/license.
Any operating LME within the City shall be inspected annually by the Building Inspector, or their designee(s), to ensure compliance with this Section 10.12 and with any conditions imposed by the Planning Board as a condition of the special permit approval.
The first annual inspection shall be more than one year after beginning operation, but before two years of beginning operation.
Other laws remain applicable.
Business license required. At all times while a permit is in effect the licensee shall possess a valid license.
To the extent that the state has adopted or adopts in the future any additional or stricter law or regulation governing the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, research or retail of marijuana or marijuana products, the additional or stricter regulation shall control the LME in the City. Compliance with any applicable state law or regulation shall be deemed an additional requirement for issuance or denial of any license under this chapter, and noncompliance with any applicable state law or regulation shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of any license issued hereunder.
Any LME may be required to demonstrate, upon demand by law enforcement officers of the City of North Adams and/or the local licensing authority, the source and quantity of any marijuana found upon the licensed premises are in full compliance with any applicable state law or regulation.
The issuance of any license pursuant to this chapter shall not be deemed to create an exception, defense or immunity to any person in regard to any potential criminal liability the person may have for the cultivation, possession, sale, distribution, or use of marijuana.
Prior to the issuance of a special permit, the LME must have entered into a host community agreement (HCA) with the City. If, upon review by the City Council, the LME is found to not be fully in compliance with the HCA, the special permit and/or the local license may be suspended or rescinded.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
The use of land, buildings and other structures shall be conducted in accordance with the following performance standards:
Dust, dirt, fly ash and smoke: No offensive dust, dirt, fly ash or smoke shall be emitted into the air. In no case shall material be exhausted or wasted into the air in excess of one cubic centimeter of settled matter per cubic meter of air. Smoke or other air contaminant shall not be discharged into the atmosphere from any single source of emission, for a period or periods aggregating more than three minutes in any one hour, which is as dark or darker in shade as that designated as No. 2 on the Ringelmann Chart as published by the United States Bureau of Mines, or which is of such opacity as to obscure an observer's view to a degree equal to or greater than does smoke designated as No. 2 on the Ringelmann Chart.
Odors, gases and fumes: No offensive odors shall be emitted which are perceptible from any property line of the lot on which the operation is located and shall emit no noxious, toxic or corrosive fumes or gases. Offensive odors noticeable off the premises where the use is located shall not exceed the standards established by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
Noise: No noise which is objectionable due to volume, intermittence, beat frequency or shrillness shall be transmitted outside the property where it originates, and in no case shall exceed 80 decibels at any property line.
Wastes: No offensive wastes shall be discarded into any stream, watercourse or storm sewer.
Vibration: No vibration greater than an energy ratio of 1.0 shall be transmitted outside the property where it originates.
Light: No light which is objectionable due to brightness shall be transmitted outside the property where it originates.
No material which is dangerous due to explosion, extreme fire hazard or radioactivity shall be used, stored or manufactured except in accordance with applicable codes and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
No land within the City of North Adams may be used for the collection, treatment, storage, burial, incineration, or disposal of radioactive waste, or toxic waste including but not limited to wastes classified as low-level radioactive waste, unless the site has been approved by a special permit issued by the City Council in accordance with the provisions of Section 12.3 of the Zoning Ordinances.
Such special permit may impose such conditions and limitations on the proposed use as the City Council may determine are necessary for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.
Environmental and community impact analysis:
Applicability. Any application for a special permit to be allowed to conduct a use listed below shall be required to submit, as part of the special permit application submission, an environmental and community impact analysis:
Uses requiring an environmental and community impact analysis:
Multifamily dwellings or developments of more than 12 units.
Nursing home with more than 50 beds.
Hotel, motels, tourist cabin establishments with more than 50 sleeping accommodations.
Shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet of gross floor area.
Research and development facilities with more than 20,000 square feet of gross floor area.
Theaters for indoor motion picture projection with more than 2,000 seats.
Any other use which will be utilizing more than 100,000 square feet of gross floor area or which can be expected to generate peak traffic volumes of more than 1,000 "vehicle trip ends" at the "peak hour of generation," as defined and determined from the Institute of Transportation Engineers' publication "Trip Generation."
Campgrounds establishing or adding 50 or more sites.
Industrial uses with more than 25,000 square feet of gross floor area.
Private and public utilities and power plants.
The environmental and community impact analysis shall clearly and methodically assess the relationship of the proposed use and/or development to the natural and man-made environment of North Adams. This report shall be prepared by an interdisciplinary team of professionals qualified, experienced, and, where applicable, licensed, in their fields. Such team may consist of registered professional engineers, traffic engineers, architects, landscape architects, land use planners, hydrogeologists, hydrologists, biologists and other environmental professionals.
Purpose. It is intended that the report be a guide to the Planning Board in its deliberations and will build into the Board's decision-making process an appropriate and careful consideration of the environmental and community impacts of the proposed use and/or development.
Analysis. For each of the components of the environmental and community impact analysis listed under 15.8.4 below, each of the following concerns must be separately addressed:
The environmental and community impacts of the proposed use and/or development: All primary and secondary environmental and community impacts, both beneficial and adverse, anticipated as a result of the proposed use and/or development. This section shall include all impacts resulting from the construction phase as well as those resulting from the project's completion.
Adverse impacts which cannot be avoided should the proposed use and/or development be implemented: The report shall describe the kinds and magnitudes of adverse impacts which cannot be reduced in severity or which can be reduced in severity, but not eliminated.
Alternatives to the proposed use and/or development: The report shall develop, describe, and objectively weigh alternatives to the proposed use and/or development which are allowed by the Zoning Ordinance.
Measures to be used to minimize adverse environmental and community impacts: Corrective and protective measures which will be taken, as part of the project, to minimize adverse impacts shall be described in detail.
Editor's Note: See Section 11.1.8(4).
Scope. The environmental and community impact analysis shall evaluate all of the following topics:
Air and noise pollution: The impact of local air quality and noise from the proposed development (including traffic generated from the development), both during and after construction, shall be evaluated. The Planning Board may require detailed technical reports of such impacts.
Water pollution: The impact of storm water runoff on adjacent and downstream surface water bodies and subsurface groundwater shall be evaluated. Dangers of flooding as a result of increased downstream runoff, especially peak runoff. The impact of the proposed project on water table levels shall also be analyzed.
Land: Compatibility of the proposed development with existing soils; the impact of any soils or other materials to be removed from the site; and the potential dangers and impacts of erosion and sedimentation caused by the proposed development.
Plants and wildlife: The impact that the proposed project may have on wildlife habitat and on any rare or endangered plant or animal species known to exist in the area.
Water supply: The average and peak daily demand and the impact of such demands on groundwater aquifers.
Sewage disposal: The average and peak daily disposal and the impact of such disposal on groundwater aquifers.
Existing neighborhood land use: Compatibility with adjacent or nearby existing land uses, or approved private development plans, if known, for adjacent or nearby land use changes to occur during the life of the proposed development. If not compatible, reasons therefor shall be detailed. Consultation with the Planning Board is strongly recommended.
Zoning: Compatibility of proposed development with the purposes of the Zoning Ordinance and the zoning district.
Architecture: The style of architecture of the buildings shall be described; its relation to prevailing types of architecture for similar buildings; and its compatibility with the function of the building and to the architecture of adjacent buildings. Sketches, photos, elevations and renderings are encouraged to illustrate architectural appropriateness as well as innovation.
Schools: The expected impact on the school system both elementary and secondary levels, the number of students; projected school bus routing changes and projections of future school building needs resulting from the proposed project.
Police: The expected impact on police services, time and manpower needed to protect the proposed development and service improvements necessitated by the proposed development.
Fire: Expected fire protection needs; on-site firefighting capabilities; on-site alarm or other warning devices; fire-flow water needs, source and delivery system and other needs shall be presented. Fire Department service improvements necessitated as a result of the proposed project shall also be discussed.
Recreation: On-site recreation provisions shall be detailed and off-site recreation demands shall be estimated. Provision for public open space, either dedicated to the City or available to its residents, shall be described. Open space available primarily or exclusively for residents or employees shall also be described.
Solid waste disposal: Analysis of the projected volume and type of solid waste to be generated by the proposed development and methods of removal.
Traffic: The expected impact of traffic generated by the proposed development on area roadways. Discussion shall include existing average and peak traffic volumes and composition, projected average and peak traffic generation and composition, intersection impacts and analysis of area roadway and intersection capacities. Methodologies used to make projection shall be described in detail.
Highway: Projected need, responsibility and costs to the City of roadway maintenance shall be analyzed. Impacts of construction equipment on area roadways shall also be discussed.
Sewage disposal: Analysis of the project average and peak sewage discharge and the impact of such discharges on the North Adams sewerage system.
Lighting: The type, design, location, function and intensity of all exterior lighting facilities shall be described. Attention given to safety, privacy, security and daytime and nighttime appearance shall be detailed.
Landscaping: Provisions for landscaping shall be described, including type, location and function of all plantings and materials.
Visual: Attention given to views into the site and from the site shall be described. Included shall be long-distance views as well as views to and from adjacent properties.
This municipal benefit/cost analysis should follow standard and usual procedures for measuring both the benefits to be derived and costs to be incurred by the City of North Adams as a result of the proposed development. This element should also estimate net benefits of costs of nonquantifiable environmental impacts.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
Administration and enforcement by Building Inspector:
This ordinance shall be interpreted, administered and enforced by the Building Inspector. No building permit shall be issued, except in compliance with the provisions of this ordinance or a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals or the courts.
Withhold permits: The Building Inspector shall withhold a permit for the construction, alteration or moving of any building or structure if the building or structure as constructed, altered or moved would be in violation of this ordinance or any amendment thereof. No permit or certificate of occupancy shall be granted for a new use of a building, structure or land use which would be in violation of this ordinance. No permit shall be granted for a new use of a building, structure or land which requires site plan approval unless such approval has been secured from the Planning Board in accordance with Section 12.4, Site plan approval.
Building permit applications: All applications for building permits shall be accompanied by such plan or plans drawn to scale and showing the locations and dimensions of the lot to be built upon and such other information as may be deemed necessary by the Building Inspector to determine compliance with the provisions of this ordinance.
Construction: Construction or operators under a building permit shall conform to any subsequent amendment(s) of this ordinance unless the use or construction is commenced within a period of not more than six months after the issuance of the building permit and unless such construction is continued through to completion as continuously and expeditiously as is reasonable.
Violations of ordinance:
If the Building Inspector shall be informed or have reason to believe that any provisions of this ordinance or any permit issued thereunder has been, is being or is likely to be violated, he shall make or cause an investigation to be made of the facts, including an inspection of the property where the violation may exist. If he finds any violations, he shall give immediate notice in writing to the owner or his duly authorized agent and to the occupants of the premises and order that such violation immediately cease. Where it becomes necessary to effectively enforce this ordinance, he may institute such legal process as deemed advisable.
Request to enforce: If the Building Inspector is requested in writing to enforce a Zoning Ordinance against any person allegedly in violation of the same and the Building Inspector declines to act, he shall notify, in writing, the party requesting such enforcement of any action or refusal to act, and the reasons thereof, within 14 days of receipt of such request. Any such request not acted upon within 14 days shall be deemed denied.
Penalty for violation of Zoning Ordinance: Any person violating any provisions of this ordinance or amendments thereof, or any of the conditions under which a special permit or variance is issued, may be fined not more than $300 for each offense. Each day that such a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Any home occupation which represents a significant change or disruption to a residential area, as determined by the Building Inspector, shall be penalized by a fine of not more than $100. After two such fines, the permit may be revoked by the Building Inspector, with the right to a final hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Special permit granting authority: Any board designated as special permit granting authority in this ordinance may hear and decide applications for special permits upon which such board is specifically authorized to act under this ordinance in accordance with the provisions of Section 9, Chapter 40A, of the General Laws. Such special permit granting authority shall adopt and from time to time amend rules relative to the issuance of such permits and shall file a copy of these rules with the City Clerk. Said rules shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of the revised ordinance or Chapter 40A of the General Laws.
Required hearing and notice: Special permits may only be issued following public hearings held within 65 days after filing of an application with the Building Inspector for the special permit granting authority. Notice of public hearing shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 days before the day of the hearing and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in the City Hall for a period of not less than 14 days before the day of such hearing, and by mailing it to "parties in interest" as provided in Section 11, Chapter 40A (General Laws), which include the petitioner, abutters, owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way and owners of land within 300 feet of the property line, all as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list, the Planning Board and the Planning Board of every abutting City and town.
Review by other boards and agencies: The special permit granting authority shall, within 10 days following its next regularly scheduled meeting after receipt of an application for a special permit, transmit a copy thereof for review to the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, City Engineer, Commissioner of Public Services and Commissioner of Public Safety and any other municipal board or agency at the discretion of the special permit granting authority. Any board or agency to which such application is referred for review shall make such recommendations as it deems appropriate in writing; provided, however, that failure to make recommendations within 35 days of receipt by such board or agency of the application for review shall be deemed lack of opposition thereto.
Findings required: Before granting a special permit for any use requiring such permit under the provisions of this ordinance, the special permit granting authority shall find that the proposed use:
Will be in harmony with the general intent and purpose of this ordinance; and
Will not be detrimental to adjacent uses or to the established or future character of the neighborhood;
Will not have vehicular and pedestrian traffic of a type and quantity so as to cause significant adverse effect to the neighborhood;
Will not have a number of residents, employees, customers or visitors so as to cause significant adverse effect to the neighborhood;
Will not be dangerous to the immediate neighborhood or the premises through fire, explosion, emission of wastes or other causes;
Will not create such noise, vibration, dust, heat, smoke, fumes, odor, glare, adverse visual effects or other nuisance or serious hazard so as to adversely affect the immediate neighborhood;
Will not cause degradation of the environment;
Will not impose an excessive financial burden to the City.
Conditions, safeguards and limitations:
Special permits may be issued subject to such conditions, safeguards or limitations as the special permit granting authority may impose for the protection of neighboring uses or otherwise serving the purposes of this ordinance. Such conditions, safeguards or limitations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Front, side and rear yards greater than the minimum required by this ordinance; screening buffers or planting strips, fences or walls as specified by the authority;
Limitations upon the size, number of occupants, method and time of operation, time duration of the permit or extent of facilities;
Regulation of number and location of driveways or other traffic features, and off-street parking or loading, or other special features beyond the minimum required by this ordinance.
Any conditions, safeguards or limitations shall be imposed in writing and shall be made a part of the building permit.
Site plan required: For any special permit which does not require a formal site plan review under the provisions of Section 12.4 of this ordinance, an application for a special permit shall be accompanied by an accurate site plan indicating the dimensions of the lot and the location, size and height of existing and proposed buildings and site improvements, and containing such other information as may be needed by the special permit granting authority for proper consideration and action on the application.
Decisions and vote requirements:
The special permit granting authority shall act within 90 days following the date of public hearing. Failure to take final action upon an application for special permit within said 90 days shall be deemed to be a grant of the permit applied for.
A special permit issued by a special permit granting authority shall require a two-thirds vote of boards with more than five members, a vote of at least four members of a five-member board and a unanimous vote of a three-member board.
Expiration of special permit: A special permit shall lapse in two years if substantial use or construction has not begun under the permit by such date except for good cause.
Site plan approval:
Purpose. For the purpose of assuring proper drainage, safety, administering provisions of this ordinance in regard to parking and loading areas, signs, screening and to assure adequate consideration for abutting landowners and to assure sensitive and appropriate treatment of historic properties and areas, a site plan shall be submitted for the following:
All new construction, except for single- or two-family homes.
All additions, exceeding 200 square feet of gross floor area, except for single- or two-family homes.
Changes in use, as defined "changes of use" in Section 13.
All changes in land use, as defined "changes of use" in Section 13.
Special permit granting authority. The Planning Board shall be the special permit granting authority for purposes of this section. No person shall commence development of any uses for which a site plan is required without first obtaining a special permit from the Planning Board under the provisions of this section.
Special permit. Special permits issued under this section shall contain reasonable orders, conditions and requirements concerning the siting and design of buildings and landscaping, major topographic changes, provisions for surface and ground water, drainage, protection against flooding and inundation, prevention of water pollution and environmental damage, erosion control, locations of driveways or signage and to further the purposes and objectives of the Zoning Ordinances and the Zoning Acts and to avoid detriment to the neighborhood in which the use is to occur including the historic aspect of the neighborhood.
Application for special permit. Applications for a site plan approval special permit shall contain an application form, a site plan and a determination of applicability from the conservation commission that the proposed project is an area subject to the Wetlands Protection Act and therefore requires an order of conditions or that an order of conditions is not necessary. If an order of conditions is necessary, the order should be submitted as part of the application.
Site plan. A site plan may be prepared on one or more sheets to show clearly the information required herein and to facilitate the review and approval of the plan.
The site plan, or any portion thereof, involving engineering, architecture or land surveying, shall be prepared by a duly authorized engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor. Any site plan prepared by a registered engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor shall bear on each sheet the seal of registration and actual signature of the preparer, as well as the date of preparation. All plans, whether or not prepared by a registered professional, shall bear on each sheet, the actual signature of the preparer and the date of preparation. The Planning Board may waive the need for a registered professional by a majority vote based on the scope of the project.
Said site plan shall show the following drawn to a scale adequate to represent the required information:
A key map showing the relationship of the subject property to adjoining properties, existing streets, road and railroad rights-of-way within 1,000 feet of any part of the property.
All property boundaries and the use and ownership of abutting land within 200 feet of the proposed site and the location and use of any building thereon of the subject property. The North Adams Assessor's Maps, as amended to the date of filing said site plan, shall be acceptable to show the information required by this paragraph.
All existing and proposed buildings, structures, parking spaces, driveway openings, loading areas and service areas on subject property.
Provisions for screening, surfacing, lighting, landscaping (including fences, walls, planting areas and walks) and signs.
Provisions for waste disposal, drainage, dust, erosion control and other utilities.
Interior plans, if deemed relevant by the Planning Board.
Topographic data for the property at two-foot contour intervals, showing the existing and proposed grades and the location of natural features, such as streams, swamps, rock outcrops and major trees six inches or more in diameter. The Planning Board may waive the need for topographic data by a majority vote based on the scope of the project.
The name of the development, the name and address of the record owner or developer, North arrow, scale, date, all easements or rights-of-way provided for public services or utilities.
A detailed computation of total lot area, of building floor area for each type of proposed use, and lot coverage by all buildings.
The Planning Board may require further information with respect to such elements listed above.
Procedure. The following procedure shall be implemented upon the receipt of an application for a special permit under this section:
An application for a site plan approval special permit subject to this section shall be submitted, in triplicate, to the City Clerk, who shall give the applicant a dated receipt.
The City Clerk, within two working days of receiving such application shall transmit two copies to the Planning Board.
The Planning Board shall, within five working days after receipt of the application, transmit copies of the application to the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, City Engineer, Commissioner of Public Services, and Commissioner of Public Safety. Any board or department to which such an application is transmitted for review shall make in writing such recommendations as it deems appropriate; provided, however, that failure to make recommendations within 30 calendar days of receipt by the board or department shall be deemed approval of the application.
If the Planning Board finds that the application does not show the information specified in Section 12.4.5, they shall return the plan to the applicant with a copy of their report. No special permit shall be granted on the basis of an application deemed incomplete or insufficient in accordance with the provisions of this section.
If the plan does comply the Planning Board shall conduct a public hearing within 65 calendar days of the receipt of the plan by the City Clerk.
Notice of the public hearing shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City, once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 calendar days before the date of such hearing and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in City Hall for a period of not less than 14 calendar days before the date of such hearing and by mailing notice of the hearing, postage prepaid to "parties of interest" as provided in Section 11, Chapter 40A, of the General Laws. Parties of interest shall include the applicant, owner of the property if other than the applicant, abutters, owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way and owners of land within 300 feet of the property line, as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list.
The Planning Board may, in approving such a plan, establish a time period within which the special permit so granted shall be exercised. Such time period shall not exceed two years.
The granting of a special permit under the provisions of this section shall require a two-thirds vote of the Planning Board.
The applicant shall be notified, within 90 calendar days of receipt of the application by the City Clerk, by the Planning Board of a plan meeting the requirements above and of the actions taken, or approval will be assumed.
No building permit shall be issued for any building or structure or use of land for which site plan approval is required unless approval thereof shall have been obtained in compliance with the above; nor shall any building permit be issued unless a performance bond is posted in the amount equal to the estimated cost of the completion of the work for which site plan approval is required. The Planning Board may waiver the performance bond by a majority vote.
Withdrawal of application. Any application for a special permit under this section, that has been accepted by the City Clerk, may be withdrawn without prejudice by the applicant at any time prior to the first publication of the notice for a public hearing thereon, but thereafter may be withdrawn without prejudice only with the approval of the Planning Board.
Review by other boards and departments. Any board or department may recommend and the Planning Board may impose such additional requirements and restrictions for any use as in the judgment of the reviewing boards and departments are necessary for the protection of public health, safety and welfare; the environment; historic integrity; and neighboring uses.
Criteria. In reviewing such applications, the Planning Board shall consider the following:
Protection of adjoining premises and the general neighborhood from any detrimental impact resulting from the use of the subject property, including, but not limited to, creation of a nuisance by virtue of noise, odor, unsightliness, signs or vibration.
Adequacy as to the arrangement of proposed buildings, structures, signs, screening and landscaping.
Convenience and safety of vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and in relation to adjacent streets, properties or improvements.
Adequacy of the methods of disposal for sewage, refuse and other wastes and of the methods of drainage of surface water.
Provisions for off-street loading and unloading of vehicles incidental to the servicing of the buildings and related uses on the subject property.
Adequacy, arrangement and number of off-street parking spaces in relation to proposed uses.
Protection of wetland and wildlife habitat.
Protection of significant historic, scenic and environmental features of the City.
Building design, site layout and landscaping will be in a manner which complements the attractiveness of the City and the surrounding environment.
Granting or denying special permit.
The Planning Board, after site inspection and public hearing, shall grant the requested special permit, shall deny the permit or shall grant the permit subject to special conditions.
In making its decision, the Planning Board shall give due consideration to recommendations of other boards and departments as provided in Section 12.4.8.
Before granting the special permit, the Planning Board shall make and the record of the hearing shall contain specific findings that the proposed use meets each of the criteria listed in Section 12.4.9 and all required findings under MGL c. 40A and Section 12 of this ordinance and shall state specific reasons why each is met.
Extension of time for Planning Board action. The period within which final action shall be taken may be extended to a time certain by mutual agreement of the Planning Board and the applicant.
Inadequate information. In the event that the Planning Board determines that the site plan and data presented to it at the public hearing are inadequate to permit the Board to make a finding and determination, it may, in its discretion, either deny the application without prejudice or adjourn the hearing to a later date to permit the applicant to provide additional data or revisions of the site plan or both; provided, however, that such adjournment shall not extend the period within which final action under this section must be taken by the Board, unless such period is extended to a day certain by mutual assent to the Board and the applicant.
Certificate of occupancy and conformity with site plan. No certificate of occupancy shall be issued for use of any building or structure or use of land under this section, unless the building or structure is constructed or used or the land is developed or used in conformity with an approved site plan or any amendment of such plan.
Revision and waiver of plan requirements.
A site plan may be revised by submitting a written request or revision to the Planning Board. The Planning Board will review the request and determine if the revision is considered a minor change or a major change to the overall site plan. If determined by the Board to be a minor change, the Board will vote to accept or deny the requested revision at a regularly scheduled meeting. If determined by the Board to be a major revision, a public hearing on the change will be scheduled and duly noticed.
Compliance with all of the foregoing requirements may be waived upon written request by the applicant to the Planning Board and the Board may so waive such compliance when in the judgment of the Planning Board such waiver is not contrary to the public interests and not inconsistent with the provisions, intent and purposes of this ordinance.
Zoning Board of Appeals:
Appointment, composition and term of office:
There shall be a Zoning Board of Appeals consisting of five members who shall be citizens of the City. The Mayor shall appoint the members of such Board. Their terms shall be five years in length and so arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year on the first day of January. Said Board may be the same Board created under Article XVI, Section 2-87, of these Revised Ordinances.
Associate members: The Mayor shall also appoint two associate members of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The associate members shall be citizens of the City and shall each serve for the term of five years. The Chairman of the Board may designate any such associate member to sit on the Board in case of absence, inability to act or conflict of interest on the part of any member thereof, or in the event of a vacancy on the Board until said vacancy is filled in the manner thereinafter provided.
Removal: Any member or associate member may be removed for cause by the Mayor upon written charges and after a public hearing.
Vacancies: Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms in the same manner as in the case of original appointments.
Officers and employees: The Board shall annually elect a Chairman from its own number and a Clerk and may, subject to appropriation, employ experts and clerical and other assistants.
Powers and duties: The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the powers and duties conferred by General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 14, which are:
To hear and decide petitions for variances from Chapter 40A.
To hear and decide applications for special permits upon which the Board may be empowered to act by these ordinances.
To hear and decide petitions for variances from the terms of these Revised Ordinances with respect to a particular piece of land or structure. Such variances shall be granted only in cases where the Zoning Board of Appeals finds the following:
That there are circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape or topography which especially affect the land or structure in question, but which do not affect generally the zoning district in which the land or structure is located.
That due to those circumstances especially affecting the land or structure, literal enforcement of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance would involve substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the petitioner or appellant.
That desirable relief may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning Ordinance.
That desirable relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good.
Rules: The Zoning Board of Appeals shall adopt rules, not inconsistent with the provisions of these Revised Ordinances or Chapter 40A of the General Laws, for conducting its business and shall file a copy of said rules with the City Clerk. Meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman and also when called in such other manner as may be provided for in its rules.
Appellate procedure: The appellate procedure of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be as outlined in Section 14 of said Chapter 40A.
[Ord. of 1-12-2016]
For the purpose of this ordinance, certain terms or words shall be defined as below. Words in the present tense include the future, the singular number includes the plural and vice versa. The word "person" includes a partnership, corporation or other entity. The word "lot" includes the word "plot." The word "building" includes the word "structure."
- The visible or otherwise apparent intention of an owner to discontinue a nonconforming use of a building or premises, including but not limited to the removal of characteristic equipment or furnishings, or the replacement of the nonconforming use with a conforming use.
- ACCESSORY BUILDING OR USE
- Any building or use which is subordinate to and whose use is subordinate, incidental and accessory to the principal building or use on the same lot under the same ownership.
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- Subject to a policy approved by the Planning Board and City Council.
- Any construction, reconstruction or other action resulting in a change in a structure, including but not limited to the height, the number of stories or exits, the size, the use or the location of a building or structure.
- The part of a mobile home that may be folded, collapsed, telescoped or added to the unit, and/or any cabana, carport, canopy or covered patio that exceeds 50 square feet in area.
- ARTIST STUDIO
- A place of work of one or more persons who are engaged actively, and either gainfully or as a vocation, in the fine arts, including but not limited to painting, printmaking or sculpting; the performing and visual arts, including, but not limited to dance, choreography, photography or filmmaking, ceramics or the composition of music.
- A dwelling in which the person resident therein provides eating and/or sleeping accommodations in not more than four guest rooms which are not provided with separate cooking facilities and whose guests use the cooking facility ordinarily used by the resident family. There shall be one bathroom for every two guest rooms.
- Any structure having a roof and intended for the shelter, housing or enclosure of persons, animals, machinery, equipment or materials. Any other structure more than eight feet high shall be considered as a "building," including a solid fence or wall, but excluding an electric transmission line or an electric light, telegraph or telephone pole, highway or railroad bridge or flag pole.
- BUILDING AREA
- The ground area enclosed by the walls of a building together with the area of all covered porches and other roofed portions.
- BUILDING COVERAGE
- The percentage which the aggregate building area of all buildings on the lot bears to the area of the lot.
- BUILDING HEIGHT
- The vertical distance from the average finished grade within 10 feet from the walls of the building to the highest point of flat or mansard roof, including the top of a parapet or to the mean level between the eaves and ridge for gable, hip or gambrel roof.
- BUILDING LINE
- A line parallel to a street at a distance equal to the required front yard.
- CHANGE OF USE
- A use which substantially differs from the previous use of a structure or land. Any change of use from one category of use to another (e.g., residential to commercial, etc.) or within a category of use (e.g., single-family to multifamily). A "change of use" shall also include any change of character of a business activity (e.g., retail to wholesale). A "change of use" shall also include for purposes of site plan approval pursuant to Section 12.4, a change in the occupancy/tenancy of a commercial, business, or industrial property or structure, provided that any review by the Planning Board pursuant to this paragraph shall be limited to the criteria set forth in Section 12.4.9, paragraphs (2), (6), (8) and (9).
- An open space, other than a yard, on the same lot with a building, which space is bounded on three or more sides by the walls of such building.
- DAY-CARE CENTER
- Any facility operated on a regular basis whether known as a day nursery, nursery school, child play school, progressive school, child development center or preschool or known under any other names, which receives children not of common parentage for nonresidential custody or care during part or all of the day separate from their parents, as further defined in the State Building Code.
- DAY-CARE CENTER, ADULT/ELDERLY
- Any facility operated on a regular basis which received adults/elderly not of common kindred for nonresidential custody or care during part or all of the day.
- A district established by the provisions of Section 2 of this ordinance.
- DWELLING, ONE-FAMILY
- A detached building, other than a mobile home, constituting a dwelling unit designed for or occupied by one family only.
- DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY
- A detached building, designated for or occupied by two families living independently of each other, each unit having separate or joint entrances.
- DWELLING UNIT
- An enclosure containing sleeping, kitchen and bathroom facilities designed for and used or held ready for use as a permanent residence by one family.
- Any number of individuals related by blood, marriage or adoption, living together as a single housekeeping unit, provided that a group of not more than four persons keeping house together but not necessarily related by blood or marriage may be considered a "family." This definition may not be used to prohibit the establishment of community residents for people with disabilities.
- FAMILY DAY-CARE HOME
- Any private residence which, on a regular basis, receives for temporary custody and care, during part or all of the day, children under seven years of age or children under 16 years of age if such children have special needs; provided, however, in either case that the total number of children under 16 in a "family day-care home" shall not exceed six, including participating children living in the residence.
- HOME OCCUPATION
- An accessory use of a single- or two-family residential structure, involving provision of professional services, or sale of goods or sale of handicrafts and artwork which generates an increase in traffic within the residential area and which:
- (a) Is carried on by members of the family residing on the premises plus no more than one nonresident assistant or employee;
- (b) Is clearly incidental, secondary and accessory to the use of the structure for residential purposes and comprises not more than 20% of the total floor area of the residence or 450 square feet of space, whichever is less; no interior structural alteration shall be permitted if it would make it difficult to return the premises to an exclusively residential use;
- (c) Has no advertising, display, external storage of equipment, vehicles or supplies associated with the home occupation or other indication of a home occupation on the premises; no person shall conduct or allow any operations outside a structure nor maintain or allow any storage or other unsightly condition outside a structure;
- (d) Does not involve shipments (incoming or outgoing) by vehicles having a gross vehicle weight of more than 8,000 pounds;
- (e) Does not involve the handling, use or storage of toxic chemicals or hazardous waste and produces no obnoxious odors, vibrations, glare, heat, fumes, smoke, dust, light, electric interference or other external effect not normally associated with the use of residential property, detectable to normal sensory perception outside the structure; the use shall not produce a level of noise which exceeds the level which is normally associated with the category of dwelling or the immediate neighborhood;
- (f) Does not involve the use of any accessory structures or attached garages or barns solely for the operation of the home occupation or sale of goods;
- (g) Any retail sales are limited to the sale of products or goods produced or fabricated on the premises as a result of the home occupation;
- (h) No external alteration to the structure which would change the residential character and appearance of the dwelling;
- (i) No artificial outdoor illumination of any kind for permitted home occupations on the property, including off-street parking areas, the house or any accessory structures, other than the normal and customary outdoor lighting for single-family houses (such as a customary porch light or garage light or walkway light);
- (j) Vehicular traffic generated by the home occupation does not exceed that normally expected in a residential area;
- (k) Has sufficient off-street parking spaces, located to the side or rear of the residential structure, available to provide for the parking needs generated.
- An establishment providing transient accommodations to the general public containing 12 or more rooms with no rooms having direct access to the outside without the necessity of passing through the main lobby of the building and providing additional services such as restaurants, meeting rooms and recreation facilities.
- An establishment providing transient accommodations to the general public containing fewer than 12 rooms.
- A plot or parcel of land in one ownership ascertainable by recorded deed or plan, occupied or capable of being occupied by one principal building and the accessory buildings or uses customarily incident to it, including such open spaces as are required by this ordinance. In the case of multiple dwellings and public, institutional, commercial or industrial buildings, a group of buildings under the same ownership may be considered as occupying the same lot.
- LOT, CORNER
- A lot at the intersection of and abutting on two or more streets.
- LOT COVERAGE
- The percentage of the lot covered by all buildings, parking areas and structures.
- LOT FRONTAGE
- The portion of a lot fronting upon and having access to a street measured continuously along one street line between side lot lines, or in the case of corner lots, between one side lot line and the midpoint of the corner radius, and not to include frontage within utility transmission easements. In the case of a corner lot, frontage shall be measured on only one street.
- LOT, INTERIOR
- A lot lacking frontage.
- LOT LINE
- The established line between lots or between a lot and a street.
- LOT LINE, FRONT
- All dividing lines between a street and the lot shall be considered "front lines."
- LOT LINE, SIDE
- The line or lines bounding a lot which extend from the street towards the rear in a direction approximately perpendicular to the street. In the case of corner lots, or through lots, all lines extending from streets shall be considered "side lot lines."
- LOT LINES, REAR
- The line bounding a lot at the rear and approximately parallel to and the maximum distance from the front lot line.
- LOT WIDTH
- The horizontal distance between side lot lines, measured parallel to the lot frontage at the proposed building line.
- MOBILE HOME PARK
- A mobile home park is any lot or tract of land upon which three or more trailer coaches or mobile homes are occupied for dwelling purposes, including any buildings, structures or equipment located thereon in connection therewith.
- MOBILE HOME
- Any structure, metal or wood, intended for, or so constructed that it will be primarily suited for, living or sleeping quarters, which is, has been or can be readily mounted on wheels. The removal of wheels, axle or both or fabrication of solid foundations under the structure does not change the classification for the purpose of this ordinance. (This does not include modular or industrial housing that is a preassembled unit or units and transported to the site on wheels but does not have a self-contained foundation and requires location upon a permanent foundation at the building site.)
- An establishment providing transient accommodations to the general public containing six or more rooms with at least 25% of all rooms having direct access to the outside without the necessity of passing through the main lobby of the building.
- MULTIFAMILY DWELLING
- A dwelling or group of dwellings on one lot containing separate living units for three or more families, having separate or joint entrances, services or facilities.
- NONCONFORMING BUILDING
- A building, the use or construction of which does not conform to all the applicable provisions of this ordinance.
- NONCONFORMING USE
- A lawfully existing use of land, building or premises which is not a use permitted by the provisions of this ordinance for the district in which such land, building or premises are situated.
- NURSERY SCHOOL
- School licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Education for daytime care and instruction of preschool children.
- NURSING, REST HOME, HOSPITAL, SANATORIUM
- Any institution licensed by the Department of Public Health as a nursing, rest home, hospital or sanatorium pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, Sections 51 and 71.
- OPEN SPACE
- Lot area not covered by any structure other than a swimming pool, and not used for drives, parking or storage.
- A lot as defined in this section.
- RETAIL SERVICES
- Establishments providing services or entertainment as opposed to products, to the general public, including real estate, insurance and personal services.
- SHOPPING CENTER
- A group or complex of retail establishments, including but not limited to retail sales and service stores, shops, banks, indoor theaters, restaurants and similar establishments, with immediately adjoining off-street parking facilities.
- Any object, device, display or structure, or part thereof, visible to persons not located on the lot where such object, etc., is located, which is used to advertise, identify, display, direct or attract attention to a distinct object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event or location by any means, including words, letters, figures, design, symbols, atures, colors, illumination or projected images. Any change in the name of an establishment or the use being advertised by the sign shall require a sign which conforms to this ordinance.
- SIGN, FREESTANDING
- A sign that is attached to, erected on or supported by some structure (such as a pole, mast, frame or other structure) that is not itself an integral part of or attached to a building or other structure whose principal function is something other than the support of a sign. A sign that stands without supporting elements, such as "sandwich sign," is also a freestanding sign.
- SIGN, TEMPORARY
- A sign that (a) is used in connection with a circumstance, situation, or event that is designed, intended or expected to take place or to be completed within a reasonably short or definitive period after the erection of such sign, or (b) in addition to the date(s) of the event, it is intended to remain on the location where it is erected or placed for not more than 30 days. If a sign display area is permanent, but the message displayed is subject to periodic changes, that sign shall not be regarded as "temporary."
- SLEEPING ACCOMMODATION
- Any habitable room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit, used or intended to be used for sleeping.
- A public way or a way maintained and used as a public way, attested to by the Commissioner of Public Services and certified by the City Clerk, or a way shown on a plan approved and endorsed in accordance with the Subdivision Control Law and the Planning Board's Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land in the City of North Adams, or other ways in existence when the Subdivision Control Law first became effective in the City, having, in the opinion of the Planning Board, sufficient width, suitable grades and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed use of the land abutting thereon or served thereby, and for the installation of municipal services to serve such land and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon. "Street" shall be deemed to include the entire width of the right-of-way.
- STREET LINE
- The line dividing the street and the lot.
- SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATIONS
- Any repair, reconstruction on or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the assessed value of the structure either (1) before the improvement or repair is started or (2) if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred. This includes the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of the building whether or not it affects the external dimensions of that structure.
- Synonymous with "land use." The manner in which a parcel of land or structures on the land are used by parties in possession of the land. Any use not defined or otherwise provided for within this ordinance shall be deemed not allowed except by such special permit procedures as herein provided.
- Such departure from the terms of this ordinance as the Zoning Board of Appeals is empowered to authorize. See Section 12.
- VETERINARY HOSPITALS AND/OR KENNELS
- A structure or parcel of land used for the harboring and/or care of more than three dogs that are more than six months old, whether commercially operated or not.
- Land under any water body, swamp, wet meadow or marsh, as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 131, Section 40, and the regulations promulgated thereunder (310 CMR 10.00).
- YARD, FRONT
- Any open space between the building and the front lot line, extending the full width of the lot, or in the case of a corner lot, extending along all streets.
- YARD, REAR
- Any open space between the building and the rear lot line, extending the full width of the lot.
- YARD, REQUIRED FRONT, REAR OR SIDE
- So much of the front, rear or side yard as is required by the applicable provisions of this ordinance.
- YARD, SIDE
- Any open space between the building and a side lot line, extending from the front yard to the rear yard. Any yard not a rear yard or a front yard shall be deemed a side yard.
[Ord. of 11-22-2017]
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to:
Provide a permitting process for the installation of commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems that encourages the use of distributed energy generation technology;
Integrate solar energy systems into the community in a manner that minimizes the impacts on the health, safety, and welfare of residents, the character and appearance of the City and its neighborhoods, on property values and on the scenic, historic, and environmental resources of the City;
Provide standards and requirements for regulation, placement, construction, monitoring, design, modification and removal of commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems; and
Locate solar energy systems, regardless of scale, in a manner that minimizes potential negative impacts, such as visual nuisance, noise, and hazardous conditions, on the general safety, welfare and quality of life of the City's neighborhoods and the broader community.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING-INTEGRATED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A solar energy system designed to be mounted on a building. This definition applies to solar systems or facilities of any capacity that are designed to be structurally integrated with a building for on-site consumption.
- COMMERCIAL-SCALE GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A solar energy system that has solar panels structurally mounted on the ground and where the primary use is electrical generation to be sold to the wholesale electricity markets. This includes appurtenant equipment for the collection, storage, and distribution of electricity to buildings or to the electric grid.
- ON-SITE GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A solar energy system that has its solar panels structurally mounted on the ground and is designed, as an accessory use, to generate electricity to be primarily consumed by the principal use of the property.
- SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- All equipment, machinery, and structures utilized in connection with the conversion of sunlight to electricity. This includes, but is not limited to, collection, transmission, storage, and supply equipment, substations, transformers, and access roads.
Building-integrated and on-site ground-mounted solar energy systems.
Building-integrated solar energy systems. Building-integrated solar energy systems may be located in any zoning district of the City of North Adams. Building-integrated solar energy systems shall not be erected, constructed, installed or materially modified without first obtaining a building permit from the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector may require additional structural analysis or other information as needed to complete permit review.
On-site ground-mounted solar energy systems. On-site ground-mounted solar energy systems that are designed primarily to generate electricity for on-site use may be located in any zoning district. On-site ground-mounted solar energy systems 1/8 of an acre or greater are subject to site plan approval by the Planning Board in accordance with Section 12.4 of the North Adams Zoning Ordinance. The panels for on-site ground-mounted solar energy systems shall be limited to a height of five feet, unless otherwise approved by the Planning Board.
Designated locations for commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems.
Commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems may be sited as-of-right, subject to site plan approval in accordance with Chapter Z, Section 12.4 of this chapter, in the Industrial (I-1) District. Commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems may be sited in the Industrial Park (I-P) District, Airport (AP-1) District, and the Residential (R-1A) District by special permit in accordance with Chapter Z, Section 12.3, and site plan approval in accordance with Chapter Z, Section 12.4. Commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems are prohibited in all other zoning districts within the City of North Adams.
The following general requirements are established for all proposed installations of commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems consistent with Section 14.4.
Setbacks. Setbacks from all boundary lines shall be a minimum of 100 feet for commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems. The Planning Board may reduce the minimum setback distance, as appropriate, based on site-specific considerations.
Site control. At the time of application for a special permit and/or site plan review, the applicant shall submit documentation of actual or prospective control of the project site sufficient to allow for installation and use of the proposed facility and ongoing compliance with setback requirements. Documentation shall also include proof of control over setback areas and access roads, if required.
Emergency services. The applicant shall provide a copy of the project summary, electrical schematic, and site plan to the City's emergency services entities, as designated by the Planning Board. Upon request, the applicant shall cooperate with local emergency services in developing an emergency response plan. All means of shutting down the solar energy system shall be clearly marked. The applicant or facility owner shall maintain a phone number and identify a responsible person for the public to contact with inquiries and/or complaints throughout the life of the project.
Unauthorized access. The solar energy system shall be designed to prevent unauthorized access. Electrical equipment shall be locked where possible.
Emergency response plan. If required by the Planning Board, the applicant shall prepare an emergency response plan that addresses construction and operation activities for the solar energy system, and establishes standards and practices that will minimize the risk of fire danger, and in the case of fire, provide for immediate suppression and notification.
Utility notification. No commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system shall be constructed until evidence, satisfactory to the Planning Board, has been provided that the utility company has been informed of the operator's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned generator. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.
Operation and maintenance. The applicant shall submit a plan for the operation and maintenance of the commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system, which shall include measures for maintaining safe access to the installation, stormwater controls, as well as general procedures for operational maintenance of the installation.
Required documents for commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems and on-site ground-mounted solar energy systems 1/8 of an acre or greater which qualifies for site plan review. In addition to the submittal requirements under Sections 12.3 and/or 12.4 of the Zoning Ordinance (as applicable), the project proponent shall provide the following documents:
Blueprints or drawings of the solar photovoltaic installation signed by a professional engineer licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts showing the proposed layout of the system and any potential shading from nearby structures;
One- or three-line electrical diagram detailing the solar photovoltaic installation, associated components, and electrical interconnection methods, with all National Electrical Code compliant disconnects and overcurrent devices;
Documentation of the major system components to be used, including the PV panels, mounting system, and inverter;
Name, address, and contact information for proposed system installer;
Name, address, phone number and signature of the project proponent, as well as all co-proponents or property owners, if any;
The name, contact information and signature of any agents representing the project proponent;
Documentation of actual or prospective access and control of the project site;
An operation and maintenance plan;
Zoning district designation for the parcel(s) of land comprising the project site [submission of a copy of a zoning map with the parcel(s) identified is suitable for this purpose];
Proof of liability insurance; and
Description of financial surety that satisfies Section 14.11 of this ordinance;
A list of any hazardous materials proposed to be located on the site in excess of household quantities and a plan to prevent their release to the environment, as appropriate;
Documentation by an acoustical engineer of the noise levels projected to be generated by the installation;
Documentation of soil types on all land involved with the project;
Locations of wetlands and priority habitat areas defined by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP);
Locations of floodplains or inundation areas for moderate- or high-hazard dams;
Provision of water, including that needed for fire protection; and
Existing trees six inches in caliper or larger.
The Planning Board may waive documentary requirements that are not applicable to the project under consideration.
Commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems and on-site ground-mounted solar energy systems 1/8 of an acre or greater shall be located so as to minimize the potential impacts on the following:
Visual/aesthetic: Commercial-scale solar energy systems shall, when possible, be sited off ridgelines to locations where their visual impact is least detrimental to historic and scenic areas and established residential areas;
General health, safety, and welfare of residents;
Diminution of residential property values; and
Safety, as in cases of attractive nuisance.
The following siting criteria for commercial-scale solar energy systems are ranked in order of preference:
The use of business-zoned land and industrial-zoned lands, which comply with other requirements of this section and where visual impact can be minimized and mitigated, shall be encouraged.
The use of land distant from higher-density residential properties and where visual impact can be minimized and mitigated shall be encouraged.
Design standards. The following design standards are established for all proposed installations of commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems:
Lighting. No lighting of the solar energy system is permitted. Lighting of other parts of the installation, such as appurtenant structures, shall be limited to that required for safety and operational purposes and shall be reasonably shielded from abutting properties. Where feasible, lighting shall be directed downward and shall incorporate full cut-off fixtures to minimize any light pollution from the project.
Landscaping/buffer requirements. Appropriate landscaping and vegetative buffer shall be installed adequate to visually screen the solar energy system from the boundary of any abutting residential properties that would have a direct view of the proposed installation. The landscaped buffer must be sufficiently dense to block the view of the project from all dwellings abutting the property. The applicant shall submit a landscape plan as required in Section 14.9 (Application requirements) as part of the special permit and/or site plan approval application.
Fencing. The entire perimeter of the commercial-scale solar energy system shall be fenced and gated for security to a height of six feet or higher as required by the National Electrical Code. Use of razor wire is not permitted.
Signage. Signs for commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems shall comply with the sign requirements of the North Adams Zoning Ordinance, Section 7. A sign no greater than four square feet indicating the name of the facility owner(s) and a twenty-four-hour emergency telephone number shall be posted adjacent to the entry gate. In addition, "no trespassing" or other warning signs may be posted on the fence, as approved by the Planning Board during site plan review. Commercial advertising shall not be allowed on any component of the solar energy system.
Utility connections. As determined by the Planning Board, all reasonable efforts shall be made to install all cable connections underground for the commercial-scale solar energy system, depending on soil conditions, topography, and any other requirements of the utility provider. Electronic transformers for utility interconnections may be above ground if required by the utility provider.
Appurtenant structures. Equipment shelters and accessory buildings shall be designed to be architecturally similar and compatible with each other and shall be no more than 12 feet high. All equipment shelters and accessory buildings in residential zones will have a minimum setback of 50 feet, and all other zones will have a minimum setback of 100 feet. The buildings shall be used only for housing of equipment related to the particular site. Whenever possible, buildings shall be joined or clustered so as to appear as one building.
Commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy systems and on-site ground-mounted solar energy systems 1/8 of an acre or greater which requires a special permit shall include the following information:
Lease/contract. An applicant requesting a permit for a commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system shall provide a copy of the existing lease/contract with the underlying landowner.
Landscaping plan. For commercial-scale projects, the applicant shall submit a landscaping plan as part of site plan approval. The landscaping plan shall detail the following:
All proposed changes to the landscape of the site, including temporary and permanent roads and/or driveways, grading, area of vegetative clearing, all proposed vegetative planting and screening, and/or fencing;
Planting design shall include details of the types and size of plant materials. Landscaping shall be designed in an environmentally sensitive manner with noninvasive drought-tolerant native plants, so as to reduce irrigation needs; and
All landscaping and required buffer areas shall be properly maintained. Landscape plants shall be monitored for at least two growing seasons. All plantings that fail to survive shall be replaced.
Control of vegetation. Herbicides shall not be used to control vegetation at the solar electric installation. Mowing and grazing may be used to control vegetation. After the first growing season, mowing may not be used between May 1 and August 1, in order to protect pollinator forage and ground-nesting birds.
Technical documentation. The applicant shall, at a minimum, submit the following technical documentation regarding the proposed solar energy system:
Solar energy system technical specifications, including documentation in the form of shop drawings or catalogue cuts of the major system components to be used, including the PV panels, mounting system, and inverter;
Drawings of the proposed solar energy system stamped by a professional engineer licensed in Massachusetts showing the proposed layout of the system, proposed topographic and other changes to the existing landscape, and any potential clearing of vegetation;
Electrical diagram detailing the solar energy system installation, associated components, and electrical interconnection methods, with all National Electrical Code compliant disconnects and overcurrent devices;
Visualizations for commercial-scale projects. The Planning Board may select up to three sight lines, including from the nearest building with a view of the proposed solar energy system, for pre- and post-construction view representations. View representations, if required, shall have the following characteristics:
View representations shall be in color and shall include preconstruction photographs and accurate post-construction simulations of the height and extent of the proposed solar installation;
All view representations shall include existing and proposed buildings and/or tree coverage; and
View representations shall include a description of the technical procedures followed in producing the visualization (distances, angles, lens, etc.).
Noise. Noise generated by commercial-scale ground-mounted solar electric installations and associated equipment and machinery shall conform to applicable state and local noise regulations, including the DEP's Division of Air Quality noise regulations, 310 CMR 7.10. A source of sound will be considered in violation of said regulations if the source:
Increases the broadband sound level by more than 10 db(A) above ambient; or
Produces a pure tone condition, when an octave band center frequency sound pressure level exceeds the two adjacent center frequency sound pressure levels by three decibels or more. Said criteria are measured both at the property line and at the nearest inhabited residence. "Ambient" is defined as the background, A-weighted sound level that is exceeded 90% of the time that the sound levels are measured, without the equipment in operation, unless established by other means with the consent of the DEP.
Expiration. A special permit issued pursuant to this section shall expire if: (a) The solar energy system is not installed and functioning within 24 months from the date the permit is issued; or (b) The solar energy system is abandoned. The Planning Board may extend the special permit if it deems there are unique circumstances that justify a delay in the installation and/or functioning of the solar energy system.
Upon submission of an application for a special permit or site plan approval for a commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system, the Planning Board may engage independent technical consultants, whose services shall be paid for by the applicant(s). These consultants shall each be qualified professionals with a record of service to municipalities in one of the following fields:
Applicants for any special permit under this section shall obtain permission from the owner(s) of the proposed property and/or facility site for the City's independent technical consultants to conduct any necessary site visits.
Applicants seeking to construct and operate any commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system shall provide a form of surety to cover the cost of removal and restoration of the site in the event the site is abandoned. The amount and form of surety shall be determined by the Planning Board, but in no event shall the amount exceed 125% of the cost of removal. Applicants shall submit a fully inclusive cost estimate of the costs associated with the removal of the commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system prepared by a qualified engineer. The cost estimate accounts for inflation over the life of the system. All subsequent owners/operators of the system shall continue to provide a form of surety acceptable to the City until the commercial-scale solar energy system has been removed. The surety account or bond will be managed by the City Treasurer's office.
Operation, monitoring and maintenance.
Facility conditions. The commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system's owner or operator shall maintain the facility in good condition. Maintenance shall address all elements of the project, including but not limited to structural repairs, landscaping and screening, fencing and other security measures, stormwater management, and access. The project owner and site owner shall be responsible for maintaining the solar energy system and any access road(s), and repairing any damage occurring as a result of operation and construction.
Operation and maintenance plan. The project applicant shall submit a plan for the operation and maintenance of the commercial-scale solar energy system as part of the special permit and/or site plan review application. This plan shall include measures for maintaining safe access to the installation, stormwater management control, and general procedures for operational maintenance of the facility.
Modifications. All material modifications to a solar energy facility made after issuance of the permit and/or site plan approval shall require approval by the Planning Board as provided in this section.
Removal, decommissioning, and abandonment.
Removal requirements. Any commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system which has reached the end of its useful life or has been abandoned shall be removed. When the solar energy system is scheduled to be decommissioned, the site owner and/or facility operator shall notify the City by certified mail of the proposed date of discontinued operations and plans for removal. The owner/operator shall physically remove the solar system installation no more than six months after the date of discontinued operations. At the time of removal, the solar system site shall be restored to the state it was in before the system was constructed or to any other legally authorized use, subject to all City approvals. More specifically, decommissioning shall consist of the following:
Physical removal of all solar photovoltaic installations, including structures, equipment, security barriers, and transmission lines, from the site;
Any utility connections shall be disconnected to the satisfaction of the North Adams Fire Department and the City's Wiring Inspector;
Disposal of all solid and hazardous waste in accordance with local and state waste disposal regulations and standards; and
Stabilization or revegetation of the site as necessary to minimize erosion. The Planning Board may allow the owner/operator to leave landscaping or any designated below-grade foundations in order to minimize erosion and disruption to vegetation.
Abandonment. Absent notice of a proposed date of decommissioning or written notice of extenuating circumstances, a commercial-scale ground-mounted solar energy system shall be considered abandoned when it ceases to operate for more than 12 months, without written consent of the Planning Board. "Cease to operate" is defined as not performing the normal functions associated with the commercial-scale solar energy system and its equipment on a continuous and ongoing basis for a period of one year. The Building Inspector shall confer with the Planning Board and provide written notification of abandonment to the owner/operator. If the owner/operator fails to remove the solar energy system in accordance with the requirements of this section within six months of abandonment or the proposed date of decommissioning, the City shall have the authority to enter the property, to the extent duly authorized by law, and physically remove the solar energy system. As a condition of site plan approval, the applicant and landowner shall agree to allow entry to remove an abandoned installation. The City's cost for the removal will be charged to the property owner in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 139, § 3A, as a tax lien on the property.