Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
It is the intent and purpose of this article to stipulate provisions for off-street parking and loading requirements.
General requirement. In order that all structures and land uses eventually shall be provided with sufficient off-street parking and loading to meet the needs of persons employed at or making use of such structures or land uses, no land shall be used and no building shall be erected, enlarged or used unless off-street parking area, conforming in amount and type to the requirements of this article, is provided.
Exceptions for existing nonconforming uses and buildings. The addition of off-street parking for an existing nonconforming use or building shall be required only in the following instances:
Change of use. Where a nonconforming use is increased in area or changed to a use requiring more parking or loading than the present use according to the tables below, additional spaces shall be provided in the amount necessary so that said expansion or change in use will not result in any increased violation of the requirements of this article.
Change to building or lot. Any spaces lost by exterior alteration of a nonconforming building shall be replaced by the same number or by enough to make up the total number required by the tables below for the use, whichever is less.
Parking exemption for small establishment. Off-street parking space shall not be required for nonresidential uses when the computed requirement results in four spaces or fewer for all the nonresidential uses on the lot.
Exceptions for Business District. When the literal application of the standards for off-street parking and loading required herein proves to be infeasible in the Business District or the Municipal District, the Board of Appeals may reduce the requirements by issuance of a special permit. Any such reductions shall be supported by evidence of infeasibility due to lack of suitable land, design considerations or other similar factors. The Board of Appeals must also find that the granting of such special permit will not adversely affect the health, safety, convenience, character or welfare of the neighborhood or district or of the Town.
[Amended 4-13-2000 ATM by Art. 26]
Sidewalk cafes with less than 10 seats are exempt from off-street parking requirements.
[Added 5-14-2012 ATM by Art. 25]
On the same lot or off-lot by special permit. Required off-street parking areas shall be provided on the same lot they serve, except that the Board of Appeals may permit off-street parking areas to be provided on another lot in the same ownership as the principal use, but in no event shall the access to such areas be more than 200 feet distant from the lot line of the lot they are designed to serve.
Construction. Off-street parking areas may be open or enclosed in a structure, provided that, if open, such areas shall be graded, drained and surfaced in conformance with currently applicable engineering standards as determined and promulgated by the Director of Public Works. In no instance shall surface drainage be permitted to drain onto land of adjacent property owners or the Town right-of-way. The Director of Public Works may require a permeable surfacing in areas designated as high-runoff areas.
Size of parking spaces. Each required off-street parking space shall be marked and shall not be less than nine feet in width and 18 feet in length for angle parking or 22 feet in length for parallel parking, exclusive of drives, walks and maneuvering space.
Aisles. Each required off-street parking space shall have direct access to an aisle or driveway having a minimum width of 24 feet in the case of two-way traffic (22 feet for aisles providing access primarily for overnight parking) or the following widths in the case of one-way traffic only:
Angle of Parking
Minimum Aisle Width
Landscaping of parking lot.
Required setbacks. The surfaced areas of off-street parking areas shall be set back a minimum of 7.5 feet from all buildings, except as may be approved by the Planning Board where specifically authorized in acting under § 190-93, Open space development, or comparable provisions of other zoning provisions, upon its determination that the required amounts of open space will be provided, and that locating that open space as proposed better serves the objectives of the Zoning Bylaw. Open parking areas shall be separated from the street line by a landscaped strip not less than 15 feet in width, except at entrances and exits, at which locations the provisions of § 190-31F, Traffic visibility, shall be observed.
[Amended 11-8-2004 RTM by Arts. 30, 33, 34]
Interior of parking lot. At least 5% of the interior of any parking lot with 40 or more parking spaces shall be landscaped (i.e., off-street parking areas, with the exception of parking structures, shall be planted with shade trees of a species and size approved by the Town Arborist. There shall be a minimum of one tree for each 2,000 square feet of parking area and located as approved by the Town Arborist. Any trees surrounded on three or more sides by pavement shall be planted with a raised island bound by a curb a minimum of six inches high, covered with a porous material for water drainage to the tree roots, and have a surface drainage area immediately around the tree a minimum of 30 square feet in area.), but planting or screening along the perimeter shall not be counted as part of this 5%.
Screening in business, industrial and multiple residence districts next to residence. Any yard in a business, industrial or multiple residence district which adjoins a lot in a residential district and which is used for accessory parking or loading shall be screened as described in § 190-31G before construction commences.
Parking for handicapped persons. Parking for handicapped persons in accordance with the published standards of the Massachusetts Architectural Barriers Board shall be provided.
Wheel blocks. Wheel blocks (bumper logs) made of cement concrete or other suitable material shall be provided to prevent motor vehicles from being parked beyond the boundaries of the lot or within the required setback or buffer areas.
[Amended 11-8-2004 RTM by Arts. 30, 33, 34]
Unless authorized by special permit, which may permit a driveway of no more than 40 feet, driveways serving parking facilities shall not exceed 30 feet in width at the street line and shall not be spaced closer than 100 feet to another driveway serving the same lot.
[Amended 11-8-2007 RTM by Art. 4]
No driveway shall have an average gradient of more than 10% over the 40 feet thereof adjacent to the point where such driveway meets the street. See § 190-37I(3)(d) below for common driveways.
Common driveways. Driveways serving required parking on more than one lot ("common driveway") are allowed only where specifically authorized in this section, such as for development under the provisions of § 190-93, Open space development. Where allowed, they shall be subject to the following, except as may be approved in unusual circumstances by the Planning Board in acting under § 190-93 or comparable provisions of other authorizing zoning sections:
Common driveways shall provide access to not more than four lots.
Common driveways shall be not less than 16 feet in width, with center line and curb radii adequate for fire and other emergency vehicles.
The maximum length of a common driveway shall be 400 feet (measured along its center line from its intersection with the side line of a street to the most distant point on its turnaround).
The grade of any common driveway shall not exceed 10% and shall not exceed 5% within 40 feet of its street intersection. With the approval of the Planning Board as specified above, short sections may exceed 10% but in no event shall any section exceed 13%.
Street addresses for all premises on a common driveway shall be posted in a manner sufficient for public safety purposes both at the intersection of the common driveway and the street and at the intersection of the common driveway and each individual driveway.
An agreement providing access over the common driveway to all lots and making all lots served by the common driveway jointly responsible for its maintenance and repair, including snowplowing, shall be recorded at the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds. Evidence of the recording shall be submitted to the Building Inspector prior to the issuance of a building permit for any lot served by the common driveway.
The Planning Board shall require engineered plans for the driveways and related drainage and also security for their completion unless it deems plans or security to be unnecessary in an unusual case. Design and construction shall be consistent with the requirements of the Subdivision Regulations of the Wakefield Planning Board, except as may otherwise be authorized by the Planning Board.
Size and location of space. Each required loading space shall be no less than 12 feet in width, 14 feet in height and 30 feet in length in a business district and 50 feet in length in an industrial district, exclusive of drives and maneuvering space, and such space, including necessary maneuvering areas, shall be entirely on the lot being served.
General design. Spaces, maneuvering areas and access drives shall be designed so that they do not constitute a nuisance or a hazard or unreasonable impediment to traffic on public ways or in parking lots open to the public.
Enclosure. Loading spaces may be enclosed in a structure and shall be so enclosed if located within 50 feet of a residence district where the use involves regular night operation.
Construction. All driveways, entranceways and loading areas shall be graded, surfaced and drained to the satisfaction of the Director of Public Works and to the extent necessary to prevent nuisances of dust, erosion or excessive water flow across public ways.
Interpretation. Off-street loading bays shall be provided for new structures and new additions in accordance with the following table.
Table of Required Off-Street Loading Bays.
Type of Use
Number of Loading Bays Required by
Gross Floor Area of Structure
(in thousands of square feet)
Each additional 150
Retail trade, wholesale, storage, industry, communications and utilities
Office building, hotel, dormitory, institution, recreation and education
Except for parking accessory to dwellings, all parking and loading, including outdoor storage, sale or service to automobiles or to their occupants, shall meet the following requirements:
Access. All such parking or loading areas shall have access either directly from a public way or through a business or industrial district and not through a residential district.
Screening. All such parking or loading areas in any district shall be screened in accordance with § 190-31G.
Illumination. All illumination of such parking and loading areas shall be continuous light installed and shielded in such a manner that will prevent direct light from shining upon any other property in a residence district.
Fractions. Where the computation of required spaces results in a fractional number, the next larger whole number shall be used.
Joint parking lot. The aggregate number of spaces required for each of several uses separately may be provided on a common parking lot serving all of these uses, and, where it can be demonstrated that the combined peak parking needs of all the uses sharing the lot will, because of differences in peak hours or days, be less than the aggregate normally required for each use separately, the number of parking spaces to be provided may be reduced accordingly.
Table of Required Off-Street Parking. Off-street parking shall be provided for new structures and new additions or for changes in use in accordance with the following table.
Table 3
Table of Required Off-Street Parking
Principal Use
Number of Spaces Required
1- or 2-family houses
2.0 per dwelling unit
Housing for the elderly (publicly assisted)
0.5 per dwelling unit
Multifamily dwellings or attached dwellings
2 bedrooms or fewer
1.5 per dwelling unit
3 bedrooms or more
2.0 per dwelling unit
1.0 per 2 employees in maximum working shift, plus 1.0 per guest room, plus 1.0 per 3 seats in a restaurant, plus 1.0 per 200 square feet of space in function rooms not designed for eating
Accessory lodgings or lodging
1.0 per room offered for rent
Places of public assembly, such as churches, theaters, assembly halls, stadiums, clubhouses and function halls
1.0 per 5 seats or 10 linear feet of bench space or 50 square feet of floor area open to public assembly where no seats or benches are provided, plus 1.0 per 2 employees in the maximum working shift
Eating places serving food or beverages
1.0 per 3 employees in the maximum working shift, plus 1.0 per 4 seats, plus 1.0 per 100 square feet of function rooms not designed for eating
Funeral homes; undertakers
1.0 per 4 seats or 1 per 50 square feet in parlors, whichever is greater
Bowling alleys
2.0 per bowling alley
Hospitals, chronic or convalescent sanatoriums and nursing or convalescent homes
1.0 per 2 employees in the maximum working shift, plus 1.0 per attending doctor, plus 1.0 per 2 patient beds
Schools and museums
2.0 per 3 staff members, plus 1.0 per 3 students of driving age (unless car usage is prohibited) or 1.0 per 6 seats in largest place of assembly (whichever is greater)
Retail and service establishments
1.0 per 250 square feet of gross floor area1
Business offices
1.0 per 250 square feet of gross floor area1
Medical and dental offices
1.0 per 200 square feet of gross floor area1
Research and development
1.0 per 450 square feet of gross floor area1 or 1.0 per 2 employees in the maximum working shift (whichever is greater)
Industrial, including printing and publishing
1.0 per 600 square feet of gross floor area1 or 1.0 per 2 employees in the maximum working shift (whichever is greater)
Gasoline stations or repair garages
1.0 per 300 square feet of gross floor area1
Warehouses, wholesale establishments and public utility stations
1.0 per 1,200 square feet of gross floor area1
Auto sales and display (new and used)
1.0 per each 7 autos licensed for sale
1Square feet of gross floor area is defined as follows: the sum of the floor areas of all parts of the building(s) measured from the outer faces of the walls, excluding basement areas whose interior height is more than 50% below average finished grade and excluding enclosed parking garages.