Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
For the purpose of promoting the health, safety, convenience, morals and welfare of its inhabitants, the Town, under the authority granted by MGL c. 40A, §§ 1 to 22 inclusive, does hereby enact this chapter, to be hereafter known and designated as the "Zoning Ordinance" of the Town. Further purposes of this chapter are to lessen congestion in the streets, to secure safety from fire, panic and other danger, to provide adequate light and air, to prevent the overcrowding of land, to avoid undue concentration of population, to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements and to increase the amenities of the Town.
[Amended 3-21-1994 by TOR-94-1; 2-20-2001 by TOR-2001-1; 5-20-2002 by TOR-2002-15; 2-6-2006 by TOR-2005-12; 11-5-2008 by TOR-2008-2; 11-7-2012 by TOR-2012-3]
For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms and words shall have the following meanings. Words used in the present tense include the future; the plural number includes the singular; the words "used" or "occupied" include the words "designed," "arranged," "intended" or "offered to be used or occupied"; the words "building," "structure," "lot," "land" or "premises" shall be construed as though followed by the words "or any portion thereof"; and the word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
Terms and words not defined herein but defined in the Building Code[1] or Subdivision Regulations[2] shall have the meanings given therein unless a contrary intention clearly appears. Words not defined in either place shall have the meanings given in the most recent edition of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 82, Building Construction.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 159, Subdivision of Land.
Definitions. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
The cessation of a nonconforming use or structure as indicated by the visible or otherwise indicated intention to discontinue a nonconforming use of a structure or a lot, or the cessation of a nonconforming use or structure by its replacement with a conforming use or structure.
A subordinate building, located on the same lot as the main, or principal building or principal use, the use of which is customarily incidental to the main or principal use permitted in the district.
A use customarily incidental to that of the main or principal building or use of the land.
Capacity is considered to be adequate if the grade of service is p. 05 or better for a worst-case day in a preceding month, based on the Erllang B Tables, prior to the date of application; or as measured using direct traffic measurement of the personal wireless service facility in question for existing facilities requesting major modification and where the call blocking is due to frequency contention at the antenna(s).
Coverage is considered to be adequate within that area surrounding a base station where the predicted or measured median field strength of the transmitted signal for at least 75% of the covered area is greater than -95 dbm. It is acceptable for there to be holes within the area of adequate coverage where the signal is less than -95 dbm, as long as the signal regains its strength to greater than -95 dbm further away from the base station. For the limited purpose of determining whether the use of a repeater is necessary or desirable, there shall be deemed not to be adequate coverage within said holes. The outer boundary of the area of adequate coverage, however, is that location past which the signal does not regain a strength of greater than -95 dbm.
A building or structure where care, protection, and supervision are provided, on a regular schedule, to adults over the age of 18.
The production, keeping or maintenance, for sale or lease, of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to: forages and sod crops; grains and seed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, swine, horses, mules, ponies, or goats or any mutations of hybrids thereof, including the breeding and grazing of any or all such animals, bees, and apiary products, for animals, trees and forest products; fruits of all kinds, including grapes, nuts and berries, vegetables, floral, nursery, ornamental and greenhouse products; or lands devoted to a soil conservation or forestry management program.
Any construction, reconstruction or other action resulting in a change in the structural parts, height, number of stories, exits, size, use or location of a building or other structure.
A commercially operated park with a predominance of outdoor games and activities for entertainment, including shows or riding devices, games of skill or chance, or any combination of shows, riding devices, water slides, miniature golf, batting cages or any combination of several enterprises, such as revolving wheels, merry-go-rounds, giant swings, panoramas, musical and theatrical entertainments, or riding devices, whether carried on, engaged in or conducted as one enterprise or by several concessionaries, and whether an admission fee is charged for admission to all such shows for entertainment, or a separate fee for admission is charged for each amusement.
A place where animals or pets are given medical or surgical treatment, and the boarding of animals is limited to short-term care incidental to the clinic or hospital use.
A device which is attached to a tower or other structure for transmitting and receiving electromagnetic waves.
A building or structure arranged, intended and designed to be occupied by two to eight families, living independently of each other, and each including its own separate kitchen and bathroom accommodations. Garden-type apartments shall be considered as an apartment house.
The unfinished space between the ceiling of the top story of a building and its roof which is not used for living, sleeping or eating quarters.
The primary sending and receiving site in a wireless telecommunications network.
A structure enclosed within exterior walls or firewalls, built, erected and framed of a combination of any materials, whether portable or fixed, having a roof, to form a structure for the shelter of persons, animals or property. For the purpose of this definition, "roof" shall include an awning or any similar covering, whether or not permanent in nature. The word "building" shall be construed, where the context requires, as though followed by words "or part or parts thereof." A porch or an attached garage, greenhouse or similar structure is to be considered as part of a building when considering the requirements of setback, side or rear yards.
The transacting or carrying on of a trade or commercial enterprise with a view to profit or for livelihood.
Land used or intended to be used for the burial of the dead and dedicated for cemetery purposes, including columbariums, crematoriums, mausoleums, and funeral establishments, when operated in conjunction with and within the boundary of such cemetery under the care and supervision of the Town or other public authority.
The segment of the radiation spectrum from an antenna which carries one signal. An antenna may radiate on many channels simultaneously.
Facilities that serve children under seven years of age, or 16 years if the children have special needs, or school-age children (under 14 years of age or 16 years if they have special needs), in programs that are held before or after school hours or during vacations. A child-care facility defined in MGL c. 28A, § 9.
Buildings, structures and premises used by a nonprofit social or civic organization or by a nonprofit organization, catering exclusively to members and their guests for social, civic, recreation, or athletic purposes which are not conducted primarily for gain and provided there are no vending stands, merchandising, or commercial activities except as may be required generally for the membership and purposes of such organization.
A structure for recreational, social or amusement purposes, which may include as an accessory use the consumption of food and drink, including all connected rooms or space with a common means of egress and entrance. Places of assembly shall include theaters, concert halls, dance halls, skating rinks, bowling alleys, health clubs, dance studios, or other commercial recreational centers conducted for or not for profit.
Driving range, bathing beach, sports club, horseback-riding stable, boathouse, marina or other commercial recreation carried on, in whole or in part, outdoors, except those activities more specifically designated in this chapter.
A structure located at a base station designed principally to enclose equipment used in connection with personal wireless service transmissions.
A retail store that sells groceries and may also sell gasoline; does not include automotive service stations or vehicle repair shops.
A building containing a furnace designed and intended to be used for cremating the dead and owned and controlled by a cemetery corporation or crematory corporation duly organized under the laws of the state.
Unit of measure of the power level of an electromagnetic signal expressed in decibels referenced to one milliwatt.
Separate from.
A building designed and occupied as the living quarters of one or more families. Single- and two-family dwellings shall be designed for and occupied by not more than one or two families, respectively. A multifamily dwelling shall be one designed for and occupied by two or more families. Hotels, lodging houses, hospitals, membership clubs, or dormitories shall not be considered dwellings.
Extraction of sand, gravel, topsoil, or other earth for sale or for use at a site removed from the place of extraction, exclusive of the grading of a lot preparatory to the construction of a building for which a building permit has been issued or the grading of streets in accordance with an approved definitive plan, and exclusive of granite operations.
Use of land or structures for education purposes on land owned or leased by the commonwealth or any of its agencies, subdivisions or bodies politic or by a religious sect or denomination or by a nonprofit education corporation. Educational facilities not exempted from regulation by MGL c. 40A, § 3.
Electromagnetic frequency radiation.
To build, construct, reconstruct, move upon, or conduct any physical development of the premises required for a building; to excavate, fill, drain, and the like preparation for building shall also be considered to erect.
Services provided by a public service corporation or by governmental agencies through erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance of gas, electrical, steam, or water transmission or distribution systems and collection, communication, supply, or disposal systems, whether underground or overhead, but not including wireless communications facilities. Facilities necessary for the provision of essential services include poles, wires, drains, sewers, pipes, conduits, cables, fire alarm boxes, police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants and other similar equipment in connection therewith.
The location within a Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District leased by one or more personal wireless service providers and upon which one or more personal wireless service facility(ies) and required landscaping are located.
A number of individuals related by blood, marriage and/or adoption or a group of unrelated individuals, not to exceed four, who are occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit. This definition, however, does not apply to nonrelated disabled persons as defined by any applicable federal and/or state law and/or regulations.
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 shall not exceed more than six, excluding participating children living in the residence.
A facility for the sale of produce, and wine and dairy products, provided that during the months of June, July, August, and September of every year, or during the harvest season of the primary crop raised on land of the owner or lessee, the majority of such products for sale, based on either gross sales dollars or volume, have been produced by the owner or lessee of land containing more than five acres on which the facility is located, used primarily for agriculture in conformance with MGL c. 40A, § 3.
Federal Communications Commission. The government agency responsible for regulating telecommunications in the United States.
FCC 96-326
A report and order which sets new national standards for emissions of radio frequency emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters.
An artificially constructed barrier of any material or combination of materials erected to enclose or screen areas of land.
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
The overflow of inland or tidal waters;
The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot.
The land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one-percent-or-greater chance of flooding in a given year that is located outside of the floodway.
A building or space used as an accessory to or a part of a main building permitted in any residential district, and providing for the storage of one or more motor vehicles and in which no business, occupation or service for profit is in any way conducted.
A garage, other than a private or storage garage, which is used for the short-term parking of vehicles.
A building or portion thereof, other than a private or storage garage, designed or used for equipping, servicing, repairing, hiring, selling, and/or storing of motor vehicles. The term "repairing" shall not include an automobile body repair shop nor the rebuilding, dismantling, or storage of wrecked or junked vehicles.
A gasoline service station shall include any business selling or offering for sale any motor fuel, such as gasoline or diesel fuel, to the public, whether or not the public is permitted or expected to operate the pump to put the fuel into a motor vehicle's fuel tank or a container, and shall include gasoline filling stations and gasoline self-service stations. For the purposes of this chapter, "gasoline service station" shall also include any site used or operated as a retail refueling site, including the fuels of gasoline, propane, electricity and hydrogen.
Gigahertz: one billion hertz.
A measure of the percentage of calls which are able to connect to the base station during the busiest hour of the day. Grade of service is expressed as a number, such as p. 05, which means that 95% of callers will connect on their first try. A lower number (p. 04) indicates a better grade of service.
The space between the ceiling of the top story of a building and the roof where the area and height are sufficient for sleeping and living quarters.
Any substance which is listed in, but not limited to, the EPA priority pollutants as described in Section 307(a) of the Clean Water Act, as amended.
The vertical distance from the average finished grade of the adjacent ground to the top of the structure of the highest roof beams of a flat roof, or the mean level of the highest gable or slope of a hip roof.
One hertz is the frequency of an electric or magnetic field which reverses polarity once each second or one cycle per second.
An occupation, business, trade, service or profession which is incidental to and conducted in a dwelling unit or in a building or other accessory structure thereto, by a resident thereof.
An institution providing primary health services and medical or surgical care to persons, primarily inpatients, suffering from illness, disease, injury, deformity and other abnormal physical or mental conditions, and including, as an integral part of the institution related facilities such as laboratories, outpatient facilities or training facilities, a sanitarium, and clinic. The term "hospital" does not include a rest home, nursing home and/or convalescent home.
See definition of "family."
A wrecked, damaged, destroyed, nonoperational, abandoned or disassembled trailer, house trailer, boat, tractor, automobile, aircraft, or other motor vehicle, or any parts thereof. A junk vehicle includes apparently inoperable, immobile, disassembled or extensively damaged vehicles. Evidence of nonoperation and damage includes, but is not limited to, a buildup of debris that obstructs use, a broken window or windshield, a missing wheel, a flat tire, a nonfunctional motor or transmission, missing bumpers, or missing plates and the like.
An establishment licensed to operate a facility housing dogs, cats, or other household pets and where grooming, breeding, boarding, training or selling of animals is conducted as a business.
Any building or land designated or arranged for the care of dogs, cats or other household pets belonging to the owner of the residential, principal use, kept for purposes of show, hunting, or as pets.
A building containing more than five lodging units for semipermanent residence (longer than one week) for compensation and which meals may also be supplied as part of the fee. This shall not include bed-and-breakfast home uses, congregate housing, motels, hotels, multifamily dwellings, or nursing homes.
Fabrication, assembly, processing, finishing work or packaging.
Space located on the same lot with a principal building, or contiguous to a group of buildings, for bulk pickups and deliveries, scaled to delivery vehicles expected to be used, and accessible to such vehicles when required off-street parking spaces are filled. It shall abut a street, alley, or other appropriate means of ingress or egress.
A continuous parcel of land with legally definable boundaries.
The horizontal area of the lot exclusive of any area in a street or recorded way open to public use.
A lot located at the intersection of two or more streets.
The mean distance from the street line of the lot to its opposite rear line measured in the general direction of the side lines of the lot.
A lot line coinciding with the sideline of a street which provides legal rights of vehicular access and actual physical vehicular access to the lot. Frontage shall be measured continuously along a street and shall be the horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at the point where the side lot lines intersect with the front setback line. Lots adjacent to paper streets may not use any portion of the paper street in calculating frontage or lot area.
A line dividing one lot from another, or from a street or any public place.
The lot line opposite the street line, except that, in the case of a corner lot, the rear lot line shall be the line opposite the street line on which the building is numbered or would be numbered.
Any change or proposed change in power input or output, number of antennas, change in antenna type or model, repositioning of antenna(s), change in number of channels per antenna above the maximum number approved under an existing special permit. Also any increase or proposed increase in dimensions of an existing and permitted tower or other structure designed to support personal wireless service transmissions, receiving and/or relaying antennas and/or equipment.
A building designed and used for the diagnosis and treatment of human patients that does not include overnight care facilities.
Megahertz: one million hertz.
A mile (5,280 feet) is to be measured from a point on an imaginary line which is perpendicular to the vertical line at that point.
The measurement, by the use of instruments in the field, of the radiation from a site as a whole or from individual personal wireless service facilities, towers or antennas.
The testing protocol, initially the Cobbs Protocol, which is to be used to monitor the emissions from existing and new personal wireless service facilities and towers upon adoption of this chapter. The SPGA may, as the technology changes, require, by written regulation, the use of other testing protocols. A copy of the monitoring protocol shall be on file with the Town Clerk.
A single self-supporting vertical pole with below-grade foundations.
The structure or surface upon which antennas are mounted, including the following four types of mounts:
Roof-mounted: mounted on the roof of a building.
Side-mounted: mounted on the side of a building.
Ground-mounted: mounted on the ground.
Structure-mounted: mounted on a structure other than a building.
A building or buildings intended and designed for transient overnight or extended occupancy, divided into separate units within the same building, with or without a public dining facility.
Any vehicle used or designed to be used for business or commercial purposes that infringes on the residential character of residential districts and includes, but is not necessarily limited to, a bus, cement truck, commercial tree-trimming equipment, construction equipment, dump truck, garbage truck, panel truck, semitractor, semitrailer, stake bed truck, step van, tank truck, tar truck, fire truck, or the like, or other commercial-type vehicle licensed by the state as a commercial vehicle or truck.
An establishment, garage or work area enclosed within a building where repairs are made or caused to be made to motor vehicles and their bodies, including fenders, bumpers and similar components of motor vehicle bodies, but does not include the storage of vehicles for the cannibalization of parts or fuel sales.
Facilities owned or operated by the Town of Agawam.
A building or structure, existing at the effective date of this chapter, or any subsequent amendment thereto, which does not conform to one or more provisions of this chapter.
A lot lawfully existing at the effective date of this chapter, or any subsequent amendment thereto, which is not in accordance with all the provisions of this chapter.
A use lawfully existing at the time of adoption of this chapter, or any subsequent amendment thereto, which does not conform to one or more provisions of this chapter.
An extended or intermediate care facility licensed or approved to provide full-time convalescent or chronic care to individuals who, by reason of advanced age, chronic illness or infirmity, are unable to care for themselves.
A registered marijuana dispensary that is located off site from the cultivation/processing facility (and controlled and operated by the same registered and approved not-for-profit entity which operates an affiliated RMD) but which serves only to dispense the processed marijuana, related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients or their personal caregivers in accordance with the provisions of 105 CMR 725.00.
[Added 5-5-2014 by TOR-2014-1]
A space of 200 square feet or more plus access and maneuvering space, whether inside or outside a structure, for exclusive use as a parking stall for one motor vehicle, and further being surfaced with durable pavement.
The space on a lot unoccupied by buildings, structures, driveways, off-street parking or loading spaces or other impervious surfaces.
The highest point on the bank of a floodway or floodplain at which the water level has been for a sufficient period of time to leave a definite mark.
Commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services and common carrier wireless exchange access services. These services include cellular services, personal communications services (PCS), specialized mobile radio services and paging services.
All equipment (excluding any repeaters) with which a personal wireless service provider broadcasts and receives the radio frequency waves which carry their services and all locations of said equipment or any part thereof. This facility may be sited on one or more towers or structures(s) owned and permitted by another owner or entity.
An entity licensed by the FCC to provide personal wireless services to individuals or institutions.
A building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located.
The main or primary purpose for which a structure or lot is designed, arranged or intended, or for which it may be used, occupied or maintained under this chapter. Any other use within the main structure or the use of any other structure or land on the same lot and incidental or supplementary to the principal use and permitted under this chapter shall be considered an accessory use.
Computer-generated estimates of the radiation emanating from antennas or repeaters sited on a specific tower or structure. The height above mean sea level, power input and output, frequency output, type of antenna, antenna gain, topography of the site and its surroundings are all taken into account to create these simulations. They are the primary tool for determining whether a site will provide adequate coverage for the personal wireless service facility proposed for that site.
The required unoccupied space or area within the rear lot line and the part of the principal building nearest such rear lot line.
A use operated by a not-for-profit entity registered and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in accordance with 105 CMR 725.000, and pursuant to all other applicable state laws and regulations, also to be known as a "medical marijuana treatment center," that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to registered qualifying patients or their personal caregivers. An RMD shall explicitly include facilities which cultivate and process medical marijuana and which may also dispense and deliver medical marijuana and related products. The cultivation and processing of medical marijuana in accordance with these regulations is considered to be a manufacturing use and is not agriculturally exempt from zoning.
[Added 5-5-2014 by TOR-2014-1]
A building, or portion thereof, which is designed, intended and used for the indoor sales and consumption of food prepared on the premises, except that food may be consumed outdoors in landscaped terraces, designed for dining purposes, which are adjuncts to the main indoor restaurant facility. The term "restaurant" shall not include "fast-food establishments."
An establishment engaged primarily in the business of preparing food and purveying it on a self-service or semi-self-service basis. Customer orders and/or service may be by means of a walk-up counter or window designed to accommodate automobile traffic. Consumption is either on or off the premises.
A restaurant which provides convenient vehicular access and may provide service to customers while in their vehicles.
A hospital used for treating chronic and usually long-term illness.
A single-family residential unit that is joined on one side to another single-family residential unit having a party wall between the units.
Establishments primarily engaged in rendering services by professional persons on a fee or contract basis, including, but not limited to, the following: accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping; medical, dental or health; planning, engineering and architectural; education and science; attorneys and notary publics; etc.
The minimum required unoccupied space or area between the street line of which the building is numbered or would be numbered and the part of the building nearest such street line, such unoccupied space or area extending the entire width or distance across the lot.
The line dividing one lot from another.
The required unoccupied space and area within the lot between the side lot line and parts of the building nearest such side lot line. In the case of a corner lot, one of the side yards shall be the unoccupied space or area between the street line of the side street and the parts of the building nearest to such street line.
Any device, surface or framework on which words, symbols or other designs are inscribed or displayed and designed to call attention thereto, including flags, banners and the like.
Any sign that advertises or indicates the person occupying the premises on which the sign is erected or maintained or the business transacted thereon or the products sold thereon.
Area of the face. The area of the face of a sign shall be considered to include all lettering, working and accompanying designs and symbols, together with the background on which they are displayed and any cutouts or extensions.
The area of a sign consisting of individual letters or symbols attached to or painted on a surface, building, wall or window shall be considered to be that of the smallest quadrangle or triangle which encompasses all the letters and symbols.
The area of a sign consisting of a three-dimensional object shall be considered to be the area of the largest vertical cross section of that object.
In computing the area of the signs, both sides of V-shaped signs, but only one side of the back-to-back signs, shall be counted.
Any nonaccessory sign greater in face area than 40 square feet.
The color concept of the sign shall be such that it does not violate the purpose of this chapter.
Signs indicating "entrance," "exit" or the like, erected on premises for the direction of persons or vehicles.
The Outdoor Advertising Board of the Commonwealth or any board or official which may hereafter succeed to its powers or functions.
A sign or other advertising device which hangs or extends over a sidewalk or a way in which the public has a right of access. Wall signs and standing signs shall not be included in this definition.
A sign advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises on which it is maintained.
A sign standing or hanging free on its own support; such support may be attached to a building or fixed in or to the ground. Standing signs may have two faces or sides showing in opposite directions.
The supports, uprights, bracing and framework of a sign. Any color applied to the "structure" shall meet the purposes of this chapter.
Any sign, including its supporting structure, intended to be maintained for a period less than 180 days for agricultural purposes and 60 days for any other purposes.
A sign fastened or affixed parallel to and within 12 inches of the wall of a building.
A sign painted or placed on the inside or outside of a window.
A structure designed exclusively for and occupied exclusively by one family.
A plan, to scale, showing uses and structures proposed for a parcel of land as required by the zoning regulations, including lot lines, streets, building sites, buildings, landscape features, traffic circulation, parking, drainage, utilities, signs, topography and lighting within the parcel.
The Board of Appeals of the Town of Agawam.
The volume of space above an area of floodplain that can be occupied by floodwater of a given stage at a given time, regardless of whether the water is moving.
The horizontal portion through a building between floor and ceiling. The word "story" shall not include the portion of the basement or cellar of a building above grade or an attic as defined in this section.
An accepted Town way, or a way established by or maintained under county, state, or federal authority, or a way established by a subdivision plan approved in accordance with the Subdivision Control Law,[3] actually constructed to specifications or for which adequate security exists to construct such a way.
The dividing line between a street and a lot and, in the case of a public way, the street line established by the public authority laying out such way upon which the lot abuts.
A street shown on a recorded plan but never built on the ground.
A general term denoting land, property or interest therein, usually a strip acquired for or devoted to a planned roadway. A street right-of-way should be sufficient to accommodate the ultimate roadway, including, but not limited to, the street pavement, shoulder, grass strip, sidewalk, public utility facilities, street trees, and snow storage.
A combination of materials assembled at a fixed location to give support or shelter, such as a building, framework, retaining wall, tent, reviewing stand, platform, bin fence, sign, flagpole, recreational tramway, and mast for radio antenna or the like. The word "structure" shall be construed, where the context allows, as though followed by the words "or part or parts thereof."
Any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the assessed value of the structure either before the improvement is started or, if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred. Substantial improvement is started when the first alteration of any structural part of the building commences.
A monopole that is designed to support personal wireless service transmission, receiving and/or relaying antennas and/or equipment.
Any so-called automobile trailer, mobile home or trailer coach, including any portable structure, means of conveyance or vehicle so designed or constructed, altered or converted in any manner as to permit occupancy thereof for dwelling or sleeping purposes.
Terminal facilities for handling freight, with or without maintenance facilities.
Any motor vehicle or trailer not registered in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, or any motor vehicle which fails to carry or display its license plate as provided in § 6 of said Chapter 90; or any motor vehicle or trailer owned by a nonresident who has failed to comply with the registration laws of the nonresident state or country.
A use which by reason of its normal operation would cause readily observable differences in patronage, service, sight, noise, employment or similar characteristics from the use to which it is being compared.
Specific area(s), determined by engineering analysis to contain sites where adequate service may be provided to the Town of Agawam, which, at the same time, have the potential of reducing or mitigating negative impacts in accordance with the overlay district as defined in this chapter.
A space open to the sky, located between a building or structure and a lot line, unoccupied except by fences, walls, poles, paving, and other customary yard accessories.
A yard extending the full width of the lot and situated between the street line and nearest point of the building.
The required unoccupied space or area within the rear lot line and the part of the principal building nearest such rear lot line.
The required unoccupied space or area within the lot between the side lot line and parts of the building nearest such side lot line. In the case of a corner lot, one of the side yards shall be the unoccupied space or area between the street line of the side street and the parts of the building nearest to such street line.
Editor's Note: See MGL c. 41, § 81K et seq.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Town shall be divided into 13 classes of districts as follows:
[Amended 4-3-2006 by TR-2006-9; 8-12-2013 by TOR-2013-6; 6-2-2014 by TOR-2014-4]
Residence A-1 Districts
Residence A-2 Districts
Residence A-3 Districts
Residence A-4 Districts
Residence A-5 Age-Restricted Housing District
Residence A-6 Low-Density Multifamily Community District
Residence B Districts
Agriculture Districts
Business A Districts
Business B Districts
Mixed-Use Business C District
Industrial District A
Industrial District B
The boundaries of each district area hereby established as shown on the building zone map entitled: “Town of Agawam, Building Zone Map” one inch equals 800 feet and dated effective 1960, revised September 7, 2006, which is hereby declared to be a part of this chapter. Such shall be hereinafter referred to as the “Building Zone Map.”[1]
[Amended 5-21-2007 by TOR-2007-4]
Editor's Note: The Building Zone Map is included as an attachment to this chapter..
Unless otherwise ordered by the Inspector of Buildings, all applications for building permits under the provisions of the Building Code[1] of the Town shall be accompanied by plans in duplicate. Such plans shall be drawn to scale, shall show the actual dimensions, radii and angles of the lot to be built upon, the exact size and location on the lot of the main building and accessory buildings to be erected and such other information as may be amended. One copy of the plans filed by the applicant shall be returned to him when approved by the Inspector of Buildings.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 82, Building Construction.
Any building permit issued prior to a notice of a hearing on the question of the enactment of this chapter shall be valid, provided that the construction work thereunder is commenced within six months after its issuance.
Hereafter no land shall be occupied or used and no building or structure which is erected or altered or in which the type of use is changed shall be occupied or used, in whole or in part, for any purpose until a certificate of occupancy is issued by the Inspector of Buildings stating that the building, structure or use complies with the provisions of this chapter. No such certificate shall be issued unless the building or structure and its uses, as well as the uses of all the premises, are in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
A certificate of occupancy shall be required for any of the following:
Any occupancy and use of a building hereinafter erected or altered.
Any change in use of an existing building or structure or premises to a different use.
Any change in use of a nonconforming use.
Upon completion or alteration of any building or structure and prior to the use of any such building, structure or premises, a certificate of occupancy shall be applied for on a form furnished by the Inspector of Buildings. Such application shall be acted upon within two days after the filing thereof.
A nonconforming use and/or building is the lawful use of a structure or land, or lawful construction of a building at the time of the enactment of this chapter or of a prior ordinance applicable thereto, but which does not conform to the requirements after the adoption of this chapter or to this chapter as amended in the district in which it is located.
[Amended 3-7-2016 by TOR-2015-9]
A building, structure, land or use which at the time of the enactment of this chapter is considered nonconforming:
[Amended 3-7-2016 by TOR-2015-9]
May be continued in that use except as provided in Subsection D of this section.
Alteration and/or enlargement of existing nonconforming one- and two-family residential structures:
The Zoning Administrator has the authority to issue permits, in writing, for alterations or enlargements thereto, if such alteration or enlargement, of and by itself, does not create any new nonconformities.
In all other circumstances a permit must be applied for and granted by the ZBA.
May be changed to a more restricted use, provided that, when so changed, it shall not be returned to the less restricted use.
May be rebuilt or restored and again used as previously, in case of a building destroyed or damaged by fire, explosion or other casualty, provided that not more than 75% of the building or structure exclusive of foundations has been so damaged or destroyed, except that the Board of Appeals may order a permit issued in any case of such loss. Rebuilding or restoration, when permitted, shall be commenced within six months after such catastrophe or disaster and continuously carried to completion.
When a nonconforming use is discontinued as evidenced by lack of use or vacancy for a continuous period of 12 months or by the substitution of a more restricted use or of a conforming use, such nonconforming use shall not thereafter be reestablished, and all future uses shall be in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
This section shall apply to any change of use and to any alteration of a building or structure when the same would amount to reconstruction, extension or structural change and to any alteration of a building or structure to provide for its use for a purpose or in a manner substantially different from the use to which it was put before alteration or for its use for the same purpose to a substantially greater extent.
Cornices. Cornices may extend not more than three feet over into any required front, side or rear yards.
Fences or walls. Fence heights shall not exceed four feet on the setback portion of any lot perimeter and shall not exceed 6 1/2 feet in height on the remainder of the lot perimeter. On a lot which is adjacent to a higher zone classification, the fence heights shall conform to the higher classification. Notwithstanding the foregoing, fences may be erected by special permit to a height in excess of four feet, but not to exceed 6 1/2 feet, on the setback portion of any corner lot perimeter only.
[Amended 6-15-2009 by TOR-2008-6]
Unsafe buildings. This chapter shall not be considered as preventing the strengthening or the restoration to a safe condition of any building or wall declared unsafe by the Inspector of Buildings.
Minimum open spaces. No lot shall be reduced in size or area so that any required yard, court or open space will be smaller than is prescribed by this chapter for the district in which it is located.
Location of automobile services. Public garages, automobile repair shops, greasing stations, storage battery service stations, gasoline filling stations or any of their appurtenances or accessory uses shall hereafter be erected or placed at least 25 feet from any residence or agricultural district. Driveways and parking areas shall not have entrances or exits for motor vehicles within 100 feet, measured along the street line, of property on which there is a school, library, church, playground or institution for the sick, blind or feeble or for children under 16 years of age.
[Amended 11-19-2018 by TOR 2018-14]
Vision clearance. On any corner lot vision clearance shall be provided in the following manner:
On a corner lot in any Business A and Business B District the side line shall be a minimum of 10 feet from the side street and the parking of vehicles in this side area is prohibited.
A triangular area free from obstruction shall be provided in which nothing shall be erected or maintained between a point 2 1/2 feet above the street grade and a point eight feet above the street grade and measuring at least 10 feet back from the point of intersection on each of such streets.
Removal of topsoil, sand and gravel.
Unless otherwise provided in this section, there shall be no removal from the premises in any district of any sod, loam, clay, sand, gravel or quarried stone except as surplus material resulting from the construction of a building on the premises or the installation of a structure on the premises for which a permit has been issued.
The Board of Appeals may grant a permit in any district for the removal of sod 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.
The Board of Appeals, after public hearing, may permit 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, if required by the Board of Appeals, shall post a bond with the Town Treasurer in an amount approved by the Board of Appeals as sufficient to guarantee conformity with the provisions of the permit issued hereunder.
Animal hospitals, kennels and runs. Kennel runs or accessory buildings and the raising of fur-bearing animals on land zoned as agricultural is allowed only after a hearing by the Board of Appeals. This land parcel must be five acres or more in area, with the following additional requirements:
The setback shall be 500 feet from the street line.
The side lot line shall be 200 feet.
The rear yard setback shall be 200 feet.
Measurement of setbacks. To make provision for future fifty-foot roads, in the case of lots fronting on streets less than 50 feet in width, the required front yard setback shall be measured from a point 25 feet from the existing center of the roadway.
Swimming pools in residential districts. No swimming pool shall be constructed within any required front yard, nor within 10 feet from any side or rear lot line. Below-ground swimming pools having a depth of two feet shall be surrounded by a protective fence not less than four feet high. Any opening in such fence shall be protected by a gate equipped with a secure locking device.
Keeping of horses and ponies. Notwithstanding the permitted uses contained in the individual zoning district and sections of this chapter, the keeping of horses and ponies shall be permitted only in Agricultural, Residence A-2, Industrial A and B and Business A and B Districts, subject to the following requirements and regulations:
Acreage. Three-fourths acre (32,670 square feet) shall be required for one horse or pony; 1/2 acre (21,780 square feet) shall be required for each additional equine. Foals under six months shall not be counted.
Fences must be adequate to contain the animal within the property boundary.
Barn location and setback requirements shall be as specified in the present Building Code[1] for outbuildings.[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 82, Building Construction.
Editor's Note: TOR-97-10, adopted 10-20-1997, added provisions for a moratorium on commercial wireless communications facilities to immediately follow this subsection. Said provisions were subsequently repealed 3-2-1998 by TOR-97-13. For current provisions on wireless communications facilities, see Article XIV, Personal Wireless Service Facilities and Towers.
Farm worker housing. Housing for farm workers located on land used for farming or agricultural purposes shall constitute an accessory use to farming in accordance with the Agawam Zoning Code § 180-37, and such housing is a permitted use as of right in an Agricultural District Zone and/or on parcels of land not in an agricultural zone exceeding five acres which are used for agricultural purposes. This regulation shall be applicable to all requests for site plan, building permit and all other approvals relating to farm worker housing, whether the request(s) involve the use, expansion, reconstruction of existing structures, and/or new construction of buildings or structures.
[Added 12-18-2006 by TOR-2006-10]
No appeal or petition under MGL c. 40A, § 15(3), as amended, for a variance from the terms of this chapter with respect to a particular plot of land and no application under MGL c. 40A, § 20 for a special exception to the terms of this chapter which has been unfavorably acted upon by the Board of Appeals shall be considered on its merits by such Board within two years after the date of such unfavorable action except with the consent of all the members of the Planning Board.
No proposed ordinance or amendment making a change in this chapter which has been unfavorably acted upon by the Town Council shall be considered on its merits by the Town Council within two years after the date of such unfavorable action unless adoption of such proposed ordinance or amendment is recommended in the final report of the Planning Board as required by MGL c. 40A, § 6, as amended.
[Amended 12-5-1988 by TOR-88-19; 1-19-1993 by TOR-92-17; 11-19-2018 by TOR 2018-15]
Authority and rules. The Board of Appeals by virtue of the authority vested in it by statute may, after public notice and hearing, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards grant a special permit in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter. The special permit granting authority may adopt and from time to time amend rules and regulations relative to the issuance of such permits and shall file a copy of said rules and regulations in the office of the Town Clerk.
Hearing, notice and decision.
The special permit granting authority shall hold a public hearing within 65 days after the filing of an application with the special permit granting authority, a copy of which shall forthwith be given to the Town Clerk by the applicant.
The special permit granting authority shall require notice be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 days before the hearing, and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in the Town Hall. Notice shall be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to the petitioner, abutters and owners of land within 300 feet of the property line as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list, including those in another city or Town and the Planning Boards of all abutting cities and towns. Such notice shall be prepared, published, posted and mailed by the Board of Appeals.
The special permit granting authority shall act within 90 days following the public hearing. Failure to take final action upon an application for a special permit within said 90 days shall be deemed a grant of the permit applied for.
Upon granting of a special permit, a copy shall be issued to the owner and the applicant, if other than the owner of the property, certified by the special permit granting authority. No special permit shall take effect until a copy of the decision certified by the Town Clerk that 20 days have elapsed and no appeal has been filed, or if such appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, is recorded in the Registry of Deeds wherein the land is located.
Duration. A special permit granted by the special permit granting authority shall lapse if a substantial use thereof has not commenced within three years, or in the case of construction, if construction has not begun within said three years. Exception may be made for good cause by the special permit granting authority.
Special consideration. Special permits shall be issued by the special permit granting authority for uses, whether or not on the same parcel as activities permitted as a matter of right, which are necessary in connection with scientific research or scientific development or related production where the special permit granting authority finds that the proposed accessory use does not substantially derogate from the public good.
Planning Board report. The Planning Board shall transmit a report to the special permit granting authority on each special permit application. The Planning Board shall be notified at least 35 days prior to the public hearing on such a special permit. However, the special permit granting authority may act in the absence of a report from the Planning Board after this thirty-five-day period.
Zoning Officer report. The Zoning Officer shall transmit a report to the special permit granting authority on each special permit application. The Zoning Officer shall be notified at least 35 days prior to the public hearing on such a special permit. However, the special permit granting authority may act in the absence of a report from the Zoning Officer after this thirty-five-day period.
Standards for review. The Board of Appeals shall not approve any such application for a special permit unless it finds in its judgment all of the following conditions are met:
Social, economic, or community needs which are served by the proposal;
Traffic flow and safety, including parking and loading;
Adequacy of utilities and other public services;
Neighborhood character and social structures;
Impacts on the natural environment;
Potential fiscal impact, including impact on Town services, tax base, and employment.
Conditions attached to special permit approvals. In approving a special permit, the special permit granting authority may attach such conditions and safeguards as are deemed necessary to protect the neighborhood, such as, but not limited to, the following:
Requirement of front, side or rear yards greater than the minimum required by this chapter.
Requirement of screening of parking areas or other parts of the premises from adjoining premises or from the street by walls, fences, planting or other devices.
Modification of the exterior features or appearance of the structure.
Limitation of the size, number of occupants, method or time of operation or extent of facilities.
Regulation of number, design and location of access drives or other traffic features.
Effect of denial. If the special permit granting authority after said hearing denies the use applied for, no further application for the same use will be entertained by the Board of Appeals for a period of two years from the date of said denial.
A special permit may be granted for an animal hospital, but only in Business A and Business B Districts and with the additional requirements that animal hospitals shall be separate buildings in themselves and that no animals shall be kept out of the building in cages, runs, kennels or yards. A special permit may be granted subject to any other conditions and safeguards as are prescribed by the Board of Appeals.
[Added 5-7-1990 by TOR-90-26]
Site plans prepared and approved in accordance with this section shall be required to assist the Inspector of Buildings in the review of certain applications for building permits and to assure compliance with all applicable requirements of this chapter.
A site plan shall be required and shall be submitted in each of the following situations:
Any proposed residential, business, industrial, institutional or other use of a new or renovated structure or of a parcel of land, or any change in any such use, structure or parcel, except for one-family detached dwellings and duplexes on separate lots; provided, however, that, upon application, the Inspector of Buildings may waive the site plan review and approval requirement for proposals involving a) a change in use only, b) construction or alteration of nonresidential structures not to exceed 2,000 square feet of additional gross floor area, or c) construction or alteration of structures that are accessory to a nonresidential structure. For the purposes of computing gross floor area, the Inspector of Buildings must aggregate all alterations or construction completed within the immediately preceding five years.
[Amended 9-5-2018 by TOR 2018-11]
Any nonresidential use of a one-family dwelling.
Any use requiring a special permit from the Board of Appeals. For this section, residences which are to be used solely for residential purposes are exempt.
[Amended 1-21-2003 by TOR-2002-8]
Any major change in any condition or feature which is not in conformance with any feature of a previously approved site plan. Changes to parking and/or curb cuts will always necessitate site plan review.
An applicant for site plan review under this section shall file with the Building Department 10 copies each of an application and a site plan. The site plan shall be prepared by an engineer, architect or landscape architect unless otherwise specified by the Planning Board.
The Inspector of Buildings shall, within five days of receipt, transmit to the Planning Board 10 copies of the application and site plan.
All site plans shall be prepared to scale on standard sheets of 24 inches by 36 inches to show with reasonable accuracy the following information, in addition to that required in § 180-4:
A title block, containing the street address, applicant's name and address, date, scale and the name of the preparer of the plan.
A site layout at a scale of no smaller than one inch equals 50 feet.
Topography of the site and adjacent lands.
Provision for the handling of vehicular traffic flow. All curb cuts must be clearly defined with widths and radii noted on the plan. Radii shall meet Town standards. Parking lot and site traffic flow must be clearly noted with signs or other methods if it is to be maintained as one-way.
Parking areas and loading areas.
Drainage. The plan must be submitted to the Department of Public Works for input prior to Planning Board review.
All public utilities (sewer, water, gas, electric).
Landscaping. All landscaped areas are to be designated on the plan. These areas are to specify species type and size.
Sign location only.
Exterior lighting.
Rendering or elevations, including all mechanical facility support items originating from or terminating on the building exterior, or both.
The location and characteristics of any proposed screening, fencing or other buffers.
The location of any wetlands, streams, drainage swales and areas subject to flooding.
Within 21 days of receipt, the Planning Board shall hold a public meeting. The Planning Board shall within 35 days of receipt approve the site plan, approve it with modifications or return it for changes or additional information. When changes have been made or additional information provided, the above-specified time limits will apply. The Planning Board can in certain cases extend the review period if done so in writing and for good reason; however, the review period shall not exceed 90 days. A report containing the findings of the Board shall be submitted to the Inspector of Buildings for consideration in issuing a building permit.
Any application for a building permit requiring site plan approval shall not be deemed complete until such site plan is submitted.
Any decision pursuant to a site plan review shall be subject to the right of appeal to the Board of Appeals.
No zone as indicated on the Building Zone Map which is a part of this chapter shall be changed until after the Planning Board has held a public hearing thereon after due notice given and has submitted a final report with the recommendations to the Town.
The Inspector of Buildings shall enforce the provision of this chapter or any amendment thereof. He shall refuse to grant a permit for the construction, addition, alteration or change of use of any building, structure or premises if such proposed construction, addition, alteration or change of use would be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, as amended. State and Town officers shall refuse any permit or license for a new use of a building, structure or land which would be in violation of this chapter or amendment thereof.
[Amended 5-25-1989 by TOR-89-2]
Any person, partnership, trust, association or corporation violating any provision of this chapter, any condition under which any permit is issued or any decision rendered by the Board of Appeals shall be fined not more than $100 nor less than $25 for each offense. Each day that such violation exists shall constitute a separate offense under this section.
[Added 11-21-2005 by TOR-2005-2]
Any violation of this Chapter 180 may, in the discretion of the Board of Appeals, be enforced by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, or the Inspector of Buildings, or their designee, by the noncriminal complaint method for which provision is made, and/or as set forth in MGL c. 40, § 21D, as amended from time to time, that is, non-criminal disposition. Fines issued pursuant to § 180-16.1 shall be as follows:
First offense: $25.
Second offense: $50.
Third offense and each subsequent offense: $100.
Each day on which a violation exists shall constitute and be deemed a separate offense.