What is the zoning on my property?
The Planning Board office is the best location to find that information since they have a digital map which allows them to locate the parcel by map and parcel number and determine if the property is in more than one zoning district.
The best approach is to call the Planning Board office at 413-538-5011 or email at email@example.com. The office will need to know the Assessor’s map and parcel information . Therefore, if you have your property tax bill, you can provide the property identification number. Or, provide the street address.
With the address, the Planning Board staff will need to take your phone number and look up the map and parcel information to identify the zoning and then call you with the information.
What are the building setbacks in South Hadley?
This is determined by the Zoning District in which the property is located. Therefore, if you know the zoning district, you may look at Section 6(B) of the Zoning Bylaw. These are the dimensional tables. Often, the setbacks are also determined by the proposed structure (accessory versus principal). Please note there are significant notations in some of the footnotes on the tables. Certain uses are also governed by special requirements in Section 7 of the Zoning Bylaw.
What is the process for changing the zoning classification of a piece of property?
This process is governed by Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 40A. Since South Hadley has a representative Town Meeting form of government, the process is as follows:
Owner (or authorized representative) submits a request to the Selectboard to amend the Zoning Map. This request needs to specify the existing zoning classification(s) and the proposed zoning classification(s). It must identify the parcel in question, this identification is frequently done by street address and Assessor’s map and parcel numbers.
Selectboard refers the request to the Planning Board for a Public Hearing and recommendation.
Planning Board schedules and advertises a public hearing. The practice has been, though not required by statute, to notify the abutters of the proposed hearing by certified mail. Applicants are to pay for the legal advertisement and the abutter notification.
Planning Board holds public hearing and applicant is to provide a presentation of their request.
Planning Board votes to make a recommendation to Town Meeting.
Selectboard places request on Town Meeting warrant.
Town Meeting votes to approve or deny request. Approval requires at least 2/3’s affirmative vote of Town Meeting members present and there must a quorum.
If Town Meeting approves the request, the Town Planner and Town Clerk submit amendment information to State Attorney General’s Office for approval.
Within 90 days of receipt of complete information from the Town, the Attorney General will approve or deny the Town Meeting action.
How many unregistered vehicles can my neighbor have on their property?
Unregistered vehicles are governed by Section 8(I) of the Town’s Zoning Bylaw which states:
“The keeping of more than one unregistered vehicle, assembled or disassembled, except by a person licensed under Mass. General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 59, on any premises shall not be permitted unless said motor vehicle is stored in an enclosed building or otherwise out of sight of all abutters and public ways.
Whoever violates any provisions of this article shall be liable to a penalty for each day of violation, commencing ten days following date of receipt of written notice from the Board of Selectmen. This article shall not apply to motor
vehicles which are designated and used for farming purposes.”
Can commercial vehicles be parked in a residential district?
Parking of commercial vehicles in a residential district is governed by Section 8(G)6 of the Zoning Bylaw which states:
“In Residence or Agricultural Districts, not more than one commercial vehicle weighing not over one and one-half (1 ½) tons gross weight may be parked on any lot, except in the case of a farm operated on a full-time basis by a resident thereon.”
What are the Zoning restrictions for installing a fence on my property?
A permit from the Building Commissioner/Inspector is required to install a fence. Therefore, you should contact the Building Commissioner/Inspector (413-538-5010) when you first begin considering installation of a fence.
Generally, installation of fences on residential property is governed by Section 7(K) of the Zoning Bylaw which states:
“Fences or walls in residential districts, which are more than four (4) feet high and more than one-quarter (1/4) solid, except retaining walls, shall be erected not less than three (3) feet from any lot line.
Fences, including hedges, may not be higher than three (3) feet for a distance extending twenty (20) feet off the street right-of-way line.
Fences, except living fences, higher than six (6) feet shall require a Special Permit from the Planning Board.
Fences shall be of a safe, non-hazardous construction, not likely to endanger the health or safety to the public.”
The above-restrictions apply to most fences, but may be subject to greater restrictions for swimming pools, agricultural uses, and other special uses.
Fences on property included in one or more of the business or industrial zoning districts are not subject to Section 7(K). However, they may be restricted by conditions imposed as part of the Site Plan Review process or a Special Permit process. Further, no fence can be installed which would create a traffic or sight distance hazard.
How can I obtain a copy of the Town’s Zoning Bylaw, Subdivision Regulations, or other Town requirements?
The following regulations are included on this website under “Bylaws and Regulations”:
Stormwater Management Bylaw
If you want an official copy of any of these regulations, you may do so by contacting the Planning Board Office @ 413-538-5011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the Zoning Bylaw and Subdivision Regulations are available for purchase at the Planning Board office for $20 each. You may request a copy by mail; however, include an additional $5 to cover postage and handling. The check or money order must be made payable to “Town of South Hadley” and sent to the following:
South Hadley Planning Board
116 Main Street – Room 204
South Hadley, MA 01075
How do I file a complaint about a zoning violation?
The Building Commissioner/Inspector is the Zoning Enforcement Officer. You should contact him at 413-538-5010 and detail the alleged violation. He can tell you if in fact what you describe is a violation, in his opinion. You should follow up with a written complaint if you believe the violation is continuing.
How do I find out if a development is planned for a particular area or neighborhood?
The Town Planner provides a Development Status Report on a monthly basis. This report lists projects approved by the Planning Board and under development, projects which have been so approved but have not begun development, projects pending Planning Board review, and a list of projects which are anticipated to be submitted. Clicking on the Development Activity button will provide you with access to a copy of the current Development Status Report.
How do I obtain a variance or file an Administrative Appeal?
Variances are subject to very specific hardship criteria in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A and are difficult to obtain.
Variances and Administrative Appeals are under the authority of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Planning Board Office merely acts as the “processing agent” for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The steps for applying for a variance or an administrative appeal are:
Obtain and complete application forms (these can be viewed and downloaded from this website by clicking on the Zoning Board of Appeals button).
Submit required copies of application forms, plans and documents, and application fees to the Planning Board Office. (With an administrative appeal, the written denial which is being appealed must be included in the submitted materials.)
The Planning Board Office will schedule a public hearing in consultation with the Zoning Board of Appeals Chair.
The Planning Board Office will prepare and have published and posted a Notice of Public Hearing (the Town Reminder will bill the applicant directly).
The Planning Board Office obtains from the Board of Assessors a certified list of abutters and sends a notice of the public hearing to each of the abutters via certified mail.
The Zoning Board of Appeals conducts the public hearing.
Upon conclusion of the public hearing, either at that meeting or a subsequent posted public meeting, the Zoning Board of Appeals votes on the application.
Shortly after the Zoning Board of Appeals votes on the application, a notice of the decision is filed with the Town Clerk.
Does the Town allow “Use” Variances?
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A permits “use” variances only when authorized by a municipal Zoning Bylaw. South Hadley’s Zoning Bylaw does not make provisions for any form of “use” variances. The South Hadley Zoning Bylaw allows for some uses by Special Permit, however, this is not the same as a “use” variance. Therefore, the Town does not allow “use” variances, only dimensional variances.