Town of Harvard, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 4-30-1994 ATM by Art. 40]
The constraints on use and intensity of use enumerated below are not exclusive. Other sections of the Bylaw also apply.
[Amended 11-12-1974 STM by Art. 5; 3-28-1987 ATM by Art. 66]
The intent is that the bulk of buildings be of a scale and form consistent with their surroundings and consistent with controlling the spread of fire given the capabilities of the personnel, equipment, and water supplies customarily available for rural fire fighting in accordance with Sections 3 and 5 of Standard 1231, 1984 Edition, of the National Fire Protection Association ("Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting") and Sections 3-6.2 through 3-6.3 of Standard 1141, 1985 Edition, of the National Fire Protection Association ("Fire Protection in Planned Building Groups").
A. 
Size.
[Amended 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 25; 11-30-1999 STM by Art. 12]
(1) 
A nonresidential building proposed with a length of greater than 150 feet or greater than 10,000 square feet of gross floor area may be erected only by special permit (see § 125-46, Special permits) issued by the Planning Board. For proposed commercial buildings and uses, the building area within any roofs or any gables and dormers not containing usable floor area, shall not count toward the maximum gross floor area specified herein.
[Amended 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 34]
(2) 
Exceptions to these provisions are:
(a) 
No such special permit is required for an institutional use by the Town of Harvard on land located within 2,500 feet of the Town center intersection of Routes 110 and 111 and served by the Town water system; and
(b) 
Buildings used exclusively for agriculture are exempt from the provisions of this subsection.
B. 
Design. Except for one- and two-family dwellings, in considering such a permit, the Board shall consider harmony of the character of the premises with the character of the vicinity and of the community and may require siting, screening and/or other design to minimize visual bulk from off premises; however, use or nonuse of a particular architectural style shall not be required. The special permit shall not be authorized unless it contains findings that the proposed structures and uses are in accordance with the intent and provisions of this subsection, and further findings that during all phases of construction and after completion there will be adequate fire lanes to all parts of structures and adequate supply of water for fire fighting, including provisions therefor recommended by the Fire Department and provisions of the Planning Board's Rules and Regulations Relative to Subdivision Control.[1] Town-owned public education buildings equipped with sprinkler systems and fire and smoke alarms in accordance with the applicable State Building Code and buildings used exclusively for agriculture are exempt from this provision.
[Amended 6-27-1988 STM by Art. 10; 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 25]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 130, Subdivision Control.
[Amended 3-7-1964 ATM by Art. 30; 3-4-1967 ATM by Art. 20; 3-7-1970 ATM by Art. 46; 3-4-1972 ATM by Art. 47; 3-30-1974 ATM by Art. 35; 3-25-1978 ATM by Art. 23; 3-28-1987 ATM by Art. 61; 3-26-1988 ATM by Art. 31; 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 26]
Site plans are required for certain uses and administrative procedures under this Bylaw to assist in assuring compliance with the Bylaw and other provisions of law.
A. 
For the purposes of the Bylaw:
(1) 
A site plan is a plan or bound collection of plans (including explanatory text) which show what is to be done in sufficient detail to allow a reviewing or approving authority to determine (using its own judgment) the extent to which the proposed use and/or construction complies with the Bylaw and related provisions of law.
(2) 
Site plan approval is a process by which an authority designated by the Bylaw determines that the project as shown on the site plan may proceed as being in compliance with the Bylaw and related provisions of law. Site plan approval may have conditions attached.
(3) 
Site plan review is a process by which a board advises that the site plan is (or is not) adequate in showing compliance with applicable provisions of the Bylaw. The provisions of the Bylaw that are applicable to educational, religious and child care facility uses that are exempt from regulation by special permit and site plan approval under Section 3 of the Zoning Act are those provisions concerning the bulk and height of structures and determining yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, open space, parking and building coverage requirements, except to the extent that the applicant shows that such provision(s) is (are) unreasonable and unrelated to a legitimate municipal concern, and that such provision(s) substantially detract(s) or diminish(es) the applicant's ability to conduct the exempt use.
[Amended 3-30-1996 ATM by Art. 30; 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
(4) 
Commercial uses and business uses described in § 125-12, § 125-13 and § 125-14 shall be subject to site plan review and approval by the Planning Board, except for such uses which are exempt from site plan review and approval.
[Added 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
B. 
Applicability. Site plan approval is required for uses subject to § 125-39, Site standards, and for other uses as may be indicated in this Bylaw. Any use subject to site plan approval shall be established or expanded in impervious ground area and any building for such use shall be erected or externally enlarged only in conformity with a site plan approved by the Planning Board. Where site plan approval is required, the Building Commissioner shall issue a building permit only on receipt of an approved site plan. The Planning Board and the Building Commissioner shall maintain permanent files of approved site plans.[1]
[Amended 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 27; 4-5-1997 ATM by Art. 47; 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38; 4-2-2005 ATM by Art. 36]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 7.2.2, Formal site plan review, which immediately followed this subsection and was added 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 27, was deleted 4-5-1997 ATM by Art. 47.
C. 
Approval or review process.
(1) 
Site plans shall be filed with the Town Clerk with the petition or application. When the authorizing board receives a site plan in its review and/or approval, it shall deliver a copy promptly to other interested boards, officials and departments for advice and recommendations.
[Amended 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
(2) 
Site plan review or approval shall not require a public hearing, although in any particular instance the approving or reviewing authority may choose to solicit public comment. Site plan approval or formal site plan review may take place at any public meeting of the approving or reviewing authority whose posted business includes the specific approval. Informal site plan review may take place at any public meeting of the reviewing body. Site plan approval or review does not require separate posting if it occurs as part of the public hearing or deliberation on a variance or special permit.
[Amended 3-25-1995 ATM by Art. 27]
(3) 
Final action on a site plan shall occur within 90 days of filing with the Town Clerk, unless such time period is extended by mutual written agreement of the reviewing authority and applicant. To ensure an effective and efficient process, review and/or approval of a site plan and special permit application relative to the same property may be conducted concurrently.
[Added 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
D. 
Content. Site plans shall show information as needed to determine compliance with the Bylaw and any applicable rules and regulations that have been adopted pursuant to this section and shall be prepared by a professional engineer, land surveyor, architect, and/or landscape architect. At a minimum, the site plan(s) shall show existing and proposed:
[Amended 3-30-1996 ATM by Art. 28; 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
(1) 
Lot boundaries and buildings and other structures (including signs) within the lot or side setback area abutting the lot, including elevation views as well as plan views to show conformance to the Bylaw; and
(2) 
Parking, loading, maneuvering, storage and service areas or uses, walkways, driveways, lighting, green areas and visual screening; and
(3) 
Provisions for water supply and reservoirs, surface water drainage, and treatment and disposal of sewage and any other wastes;
(4) 
Levels and grades where substantial excavation or fill is involved.
(5) 
Clearing limits used to calculate both the volume and rate of surface water runoff.
E. 
Revisions. Where a site plan as submitted requires revision, deficiencies shall be indicated to the applicant clearly in writing, but site plan approval shall not be granted until all required changes have been incorporated on a resubmitted plan; any resubmission shall be reviewed by the Planning Board as hereinbefore provided. Driveways, parking, and other traffic areas, visibility, screening, water supply for fire protection, drainage, and waste disposal provisions required by an approved site plan shall be provided concurrently with any associated building permit, and a certificate of occupancy shall not be issued until said improvements have been provided. Site plan approval shall expire if any work thereunder is not begun within two years after approval of the plan and diligently carried through to completion. Any site plan approval shall also expire if the plans no longer demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Bylaw as subsequently amended.
F. 
Design review; applicability, procedure, and purpose.
[Added 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
(1) 
Site plan applications for proposed development in the Commercial "C" District shall include renderings of the proposed building(s) or addition showing the front, sides, and rear view elevations.
(a) 
Renderings shall be in color, and shall include narrative descriptions of the building facade materials; roof materials; window dimensions, materials, and details; height and slope of all roof lines; location of HVAC equipment, generators, coolers, and other utility appurtenances; and balconies, exterior stairs, steeples, chimneys, porches, porticos, or other building extensions. While not required, the applicant is encouraged, where practicable, to submit samples or swatches of facade materials and colors.
(2) 
The purpose of the review conducted pursuant to this section is to assist the Planning Board to review the proposed design of buildings and its relationship to overall site layout. It is not the intent of this section to prescribe or proscribe use of materials or methods of construction regulated by the State Building Code, but rather to enhance the appearance of buildings and structures within the C District. A further purpose of design review is to help meet the objectives of the Commercial C District, including:
(a) 
Use of creative building placement and site design that promotes pedestrian activity, bicycle use, and minimizes new driveway curb cuts, sharing vehicular access, wherever possible.
(b) 
Promotion of articulated buildings that avoid excessive massing and unbroken facade treatments.
(c) 
Use of a variety of building heights and roofline articulation (as opposed to flat commercial roofs).
(d) 
Use of building style and materials compatible with the local vernacular and built form of Harvard, and avoidance of generic designs.
(e) 
Subordination of parking, on-site utilities, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment (HVAC), utility lines, and solid waste dumpsters to building form.
(f) 
Use of pedestrian-scale lighting and signage.
(3) 
To accomplish the purposes of this section, the Planning Board may adopt design guidelines for applicants submitting applications requiring design review and/or approval.
G. 
Landscape plan. A landscape plan, prepared at the same scale as the site plan by a landscape architect, shall be included with the site plan submission, reflecting existing, natural features to be preserved and proposed landscape features and details. Areas intended to provide screening or buffering of the proposed development from abutting property shall be included in the landscape plan.
[Added 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 38]
[Amended 4-13-1968 ATM by Art. 37; 3-22-1969 ATM by Art. 40; 3-7-1970 ATM by Art. 46; 3-6-1971 ATM by Arts. 33 and 34; 3-4-1972 ATM by Art. 47; 3-3-1973 ATM by Arts. 36 and 37; 3-30-1974 ATM by Art. 36; 11-12-1974 STM by Art. 6; 3-27-1976 ATM by Art. 29; 3-26-1977 ATM by Art. 29; 3-25-1978 ATM by Art. 23]
Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Bylaw, a site for any business use, use subject to special permit (see § 125-46, Special permits), use subject to site plan approval, or other use as may be indicated in this Bylaw shall be developed in accordance with the following site standards and § 125-38, Site plans:
A. 
Parking and loading.
(1) 
All turnaround, parking, loading, and other traffic areas may be shared between lots, to provide alternative parking configurations and minimize the creation of impervious areas.
[Amended 4-2-2005 ATM by Art. 35]
(2) 
Any driveway for traffic access to and from the street shall be designed and maintained for safe, rapid access. Except for driveways that serve primarily residential uses of the type permitted in the AR District, such driveways shall not be used as normal walkways to and from parking areas or as normal loading areas or associated maneuvering space. For a corner lot the side line of an access driveway shall be at least 100 feet from the side line of the intersecting street.
[Amended 3-31-1984 ATM by Art. 28; 4-2-2005 ATM by Art. 35]
(3) 
Parking areas shall be subdivided so that such areas shall extend no more than 160 feet along a parking access aisle or other driveway without a green area of width at least 20 feet. Alternatively, such extent shall be no more than 80 feet without a green area of width at least 10 feet.
[Amended 4-2-2005 ATM by Art. 35]
(a) 
To help further to provide safe parking areas, automobile parking area design shall be based on:
[1] 
Parking stalls at least nine by 19 feet;
[Amended 3-25-2006 ATM by Art. 18]
[2] 
Slant parking only if the aisle is one-way;
[3] 
Parking aisle width of at least 24 feet reducing at 0.2 foot per degree of reduction of angle of parking from 90° to 45° to a minimum aisle width of 15 feet.
(b) 
Car stops shall be provided:
[1] 
Where intermeshing stalls provide for cars parked end to side; or
[2] 
Where needed to prevent unauthorized vehicular intrusion into green areas.
(4) 
Loading docks and outdoor areas for storage or for overnight parking of trucks or other equipment shall be at the side or rear of any main building.
(5) 
Where, however, delivery vehicles will use parking areas, access driveways, turnarounds, and access ramps to loading docks, such facilities shall be designed to accommodate a truck which is eight feet wide with two-foot clearance. Access to streets shall be such that a vehicle with an outer turning radius of 45 feet can make right-hand turns into, and out of, the roadway without encroaching on lanes intended for street traffic moving in the opposite direction.
[Added 3-27-1982 ATM by Art. 40]
B. 
Standards for driveways. The intent is to make available site standards for driveways which are appropriate to the intensity of actual use. For a driveway which serves only one- or two-family residences the use of this site standard is required only if it is specifically so stated in § 125-31, Driveways, of this bylaw.
[Amended 3-27-1982 ATM by Art. 40; 3-31-1984 ATM by Art. 28; 3-29-2003 ATM by Art. 37; 3-22-2006 ATM by Art. 18; 3-31-2001 ATM by Art. 29; 3-22-2006 ATM by Art. 18; 3-21-2007 ATM by Art. 21; 5-2-2009 ATM by Art. 35; 4-1-2014 ATM by Art. 43]
(1) 
Driveway locations shall meet the line of sight criteria based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (see Table 1 below) or, where driveways are located on very-low-volume local roads (average daily traffic volume of 400 vehicles per day or less), locations shall meet the guidelines of local roads (average daily traffic less than or equal to 400). Exceptions to these guidelines may be considered by the Planning Board where it can be shown that less restrictive criteria would not impact safety or that more restrictive criteria would be required for safety.
Table 1
Driveway Sight Distance
Design Speed
(mph)
Stopping Sight Distance
(feet)
25
155
30
200
35
250
40
305
45
360
50
425
Source: based on guidelines established in A Policy on the Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials [AASHTO], 2004.
(2) 
Residential driveways. Each dwelling is entitled to two driveways, one of which may be a U-shaped driveway. The Planning Board may permit an additional driveway for lots with more than 400 feet of frontage. Driveways shall not encroach on the buffer strip [see § 125-39C(1)] except to intersect with the street, and to reach said intersection directly from within the interior of the lot.
(3) 
Lane width. Driveways installed to serve residential uses of the type permitted in the AR District (but not more than four dwelling units) may be constructed with a single lane, provided that it widens to at least a twenty-five-foot length of dual lane every 300 feet along its length, with one such dual lane section at the street and its intersection with another driveway. Driveways for residential uses shall comply with the standards in Tables 1 and 2.
(4) 
Radius of curvature. The minimum center-line radius of curvature of a driveway may not be less than 40 feet. However, specific design standards for intersections and turnarounds shall take precedence over these general curvature requirements.
Table 2 Residential Driveway Standards
Use
Number of Lanes
Turnouts
Lane Width
Shoulder Width
Turnaround
Maximum Grade
Driveway for single or two-family home and shared (common) driveway for up to 4 lots or 4 dwelling units
1
1 every 300 feet,
width = 8 feet
length = 25 feet
12 feet
2 feet per side
Required for each branch of a common driveway
8%
Driveway for more than 4 lots or 4 dwelling units
2
Not required
10 feet
2 feet per side
Required for each branch
8%
Note: Article II, § 140-10 of the Harvard Code, Driveway Construction and Connection Permits, applies to all proposed driveway connections to a Town way. Jurisdiction of § 140-10 applies for a distance of 25 feet from the near side or 50 feet from the far side of the roadway, whichever is greater.
(5) 
Nonresidential driveway standards.
(a) 
Driveways that serve commercial, industrial, or other non-residential uses shall be limited to one entrance and one exit per street. One combined entrance/exit is preferable to facilitate traffic movement; the entrance/exit shall be separated by a traffic island. Where frontage exceeds 400 feet, the Planning Board may approve an additional access.
[1] 
Traffic islands shall contain bricks, stone, or ornamental pavers, and islands may contain other design treatments such as landscaping, fences or low stone walls reflective of Harvard's cultural landscape. The islands shall not impede safe pedestrian crossing and shall meet accessibility standards.
[2] 
Applicants proposing developments that will generate 400 or more trips per day (average daily traffic) based on the most recent Trip Generation Manual of the Institute of Transportation Engineers shall prepare a traffic impact study. A registered professional transportation engineer shall prepare the study, which shall document:
[Amended 3-28-2015 ATM by Art. 45]
[a] 
Total and peak hour trip generation;
[b] 
Existing and proposed levels of service of the roadway providing access to the site;
[c] 
Projected conditions at the access points to the development; and
[d] 
Mitigation measures that could be taken to reduce the impacts of the proposed project and their estimated cost. These should include capacity enhancements such as added turn lanes, signalization, and improvements to intersections and medians. The traffic study shall make specific proposals for mitigation measures to be implemented by the applicant; said mitigation measures shall be the financial responsibility of the applicant. The potential for driveway connections to neighboring lots must be explored. The study should take into account those improvements that are planned and/or currently implemented by the Town or the state.
(b) 
The development shall preserve the buffer strip [see § 125-39C(1)] except for the width necessary to access the parking areas.
(c) 
To reduce turning movements onto main thoroughfares, applicants are encouraged to connect internal roadways with adjacent developments. When adjacent lots have contiguous frontage, the Planning Board may require such lots to share a single driveway, or that the lots be accessed by an internal service road. Where such sharing cannot be achieved in the short run, the means and location for future long term inter-parcel connections may be required through right-of-way reservation and/or dedication.
(d) 
Where it is proposed to re-develop property, the Planning Board will evaluate existing access and work with the applicant to re-design curb cuts to improve safety and traffic flow. Where appropriate, the Board may require a reconfiguration to the existing access or the removal of unnecessary driveway openings in favor of fewer access points with a greater level of traffic control.
(e) 
The angle of intersection of the driveway center line with the roadway center line is at least 60° and the transition from driveway to roadway is flared so that vehicles, including an SU30, may make the required turns without leaving the surface of either, or, if lanes are marked, without leaving marked lanes.
[1] 
For the purpose of designing flares, a passenger car has the turning radii of an American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) passenger car, P20, and a "fire truck" or "moving van" [see § 125-29F(1)(f)] has the turning radii of an AASHO single-unit truck, SU30, with minimum turning radii as follows:
Vehicle
Inside Radius
(feet)
Outside Radius
(feet)
Car
20
30
Truck
30
45
[2] 
The flare at an intersection of a branch of the driveway is designed so that vehicles may make the required turn. If there is no additional turnaround, the intersection must be constructed so that it can serve as a turnaround for vehicles. Exception: If the lot frontage and the roadway are too narrow to permit an AASHO SU truck to make both turns in a single pass, the driveway layout shall favor the turn from the direction of the fire station, by the most likely route.
[3] 
Plans showing special requirements for driveways connecting with state-maintained ways are available at the district or state offices of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works.
(6) 
Construction. Driveways and parking areas shall be constructed with crowns and drainage so as to be serviceable in all weather. There shall be a permeable gravel base of which at least eight inches is two feet or more above the level of saturation established by high water table or by drainage. [The need to engineer for water table within one foot of the surface should be anticipated on even apparently high ground in soils described and shown in the 1970 Master Plan (Comprehensive Plan of Development for Harvard) as "Paxton-Woodbridge Association," on account of perched water table.] There shall be in addition a surface layer at least four inches thick of gravel or two inches thick if bituminous paving; greater depths should be used if customary for the purpose for which the driveway or parking lot is intended.
(a) 
A driveway which serves as access to parking or garaging for trucks shall be constructed to be at least two lanes wide for its entire length, and shall meet the following materials and construction standards, which materials and construction standards shall be shown on the driveway design plans. (Also refer to the accompanying sketch labeled "Typical Driveway Cross-Section" for visual reference.)
[1] 
Ordinary borrow material shall be used as subbase material in areas where fill is required to bring the site up to subgrade. The ordinary borrow material shall meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Highway Department's Standard Specifications for Highways and Bridges (SSHB) Section 150, Embankment, and M1.01.0, Ordinary Borrow.
[2] 
All organic and compressible subgrade materials shall be removed prior to the placement of borrow material.
[3] 
Gravel base material having a minimum depth of 12 inches shall be placed on the subbase or existing subgrade. The gravel base material shall meet the requirements of SSHB Section 405, Gravel Base Course, and M1.03.0, Type b, Gravel Borrow.
[4] 
The finish surface shall be a bituminous concrete pavement surface (minimum two-inch compacted binder course and minimum one-and-one-half-inch compacted finish course) meeting the requirements of SSHB Section 460, Class I Bituminous Concrete Pavement Type I-1, and M3.11.00, Class I Bituminous Concrete.
[5] 
All materials listed in Subsection B(6)(a)[1] through [4] shall be compacted as specified in SSHB.
[6] 
Driveway construction standards shall be in accordance with the Massachusetts Highway Department's Standard Specifications for Highways and Bridges.
[7] 
If such a driveway, which serves as access to parking or garaging for trucks, is more than 150 feet long it shall be constructed as a roadway serving the same intensity of use as specified in the Rules and Regulations of the Harvard Planning Board Relative to Subdivision Control as amended through March 26, 2001; this sentence applies to new driveway construction or extension undertaken after March 26, 2001.
(b) 
The construction of a shared driveway which is over 150 feet long and which includes grades of 7% or more shall include paving from the road to the height or trough of the land so as to include said grade and the means for disposing of runoff from it in the paved section. This provision applies to new construction or extension of driveway undertaken after March 31, 1984.
(c) 
Except as otherwise provided, driveways regulated under this subsection shall meet the following materials and construction standards, which materials and construction standards shall be shown on the driveway design plans. (Also refer to the accompanying sketch labeled "Typical Driveway Cross-Section" for visual reference.)
[1] 
Ordinary borrow material shall be used as subbase material in areas where fill is required to bring the site up to subgrade. The ordinary borrow material shall meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Highway Department's Standard Specifications for Highways and Bridges (SSHB) Section 150, Embankment, and M1.01.0, Ordinary Borrow.
[2] 
All organic and compressible subgrade materials shall be removed prior to the placement of borrow material.
[3] 
Gravel base material having a minimum depth of 12 inches shall be placed on the subbase or existing subgrade. The gravel base material shall meet the requirements of SSHB Section 405, Gravel Base Course, and M1.03.0, Type b, Gravel Borrow.
[4] 
The finish surface shall be one of the following, however, in any particular situation the use of a paving material other than bituminous concrete is subject to approval by the permitting or approving board:
[a] 
A bituminous concrete pavement surface (minimum two-inch compacted binder course and minimum one-and-one-half-inch compacted finish course) meeting the requirements of SSHB Section 460, Class I Bituminous Concrete Pavement Type I-1, and M3.11.00, Class I Bituminous Concrete; or
[b] 
A minimum four-inch compacted depth of a dense graded crushed stone material, e.g. "Star-Pac," so called, or equivalent as determined by the Planning Board; or
[c] 
A three-fourths-inch to one-and-one-half-inch sized crushed stone material to a minimum four-inch compacted depth.
[5] 
All materials listed in Subsection B(6)(c)[1] through [4] shall be compacted as specified in SSHB.
[6] 
Driveway construction standards shall be in accordance with the Massachusetts Highway Department's Standard Specification for Highways and Bridges.
(d) 
Driveway or parking lot which is used only for overflow parking or orchard access during apple picking season need not be constructed to the standards of this Subsection B(6).
(7) 
Turnarounds. The inside radius of curvature for the surface of a circular driveway or turnaround for use by cars only shall not be less than 20 feet; if for use by trucks as well as cars, 30 feet.
(8) 
Runout. Except at intersections of its various parts, and at the street, a change in driveway width shall not be more abrupt than one foot in width for each eight feet of length.
C. 
Open areas.
[Amended 3-31-1984 ATM by Art. 28]
(1) 
A buffer strip around the lot perimeter, of width at least 10% of standard lot width or of actual (maximum) lot width, whichever is lesser, shall be left as green area, except to allow for shared parking areas pursuant to § 125-39A(1).
[Amended 4-2-2005 ATM by Art. 35]
(a) 
Where the access to a lot is too narrow to accommodate the width of the buffer strips along the side lines, said access may be used only for access (including access for utilities), drainage, green area, and a sign near the road.
(b) 
Where lawful preexisting site development without said buffer strip has provided a parking or other traffic area between a building and the street, then along said area the buffer strip width may be reduced to not less than five feet to preserve a traffic area depth of up to 75 feet.
(2) 
All lots developed under the provisions of the commercial uses sections (§§ 125-12, 125-13, and 125-14) shall provide a green area consisting of at least 50% of total lot area, plus 25% of lot land area in excess of three acres. Further, all required setbacks shall be landscaped, planted as green space, or, where feasible, retained in a natural vegetative state.
[Added 4-5-1986 ATM by Art. 39; amended 3-28-1987 ATM by Art. 67; 4-5-2016 ATM by Art. 53]
D. 
Screening.
(1) 
Any lighting shall be arranged to deflect light away from neighboring properties and streets (see § 125-40, Lighting).
(2) 
Any outdoor area for storage or for utilities shall be screened from view from neighboring properties and streets.
(3) 
Any business use shall be screened from view from any neighboring residence in a residential (AR or MR) District, church, school, park, or playground or other public grounds. However, such screening is not required:
(a) 
In a primary (C) business district, parallel to and facing an arterial street; or
[Amended 12-3-2002 STM by Art. 19]
(b) 
Where the business building has a lawful existing nonconforming setback from the street or roadway, along the lot frontage.
(4) 
Where equivalent screening is not already existing, screening shall be by substantially sight-impervious, dense, hardy evergreen plantings or by suitable earthworks, wall, or tight fence, complemented by evergreen plantings. Screening shall be maintained and replaced as needed. Said evergreen plantings may be of less than full height and density initially provided plantings are of suitable character, spacing, and size to give full screening to at least eight feet in height within seven years of site plan approval.
(5) 
Preferred plantings are Eastern White Pine, Austrian Pine, Canada Hemlock, or Douglas Fir, double row, staggered, four feet or more in initial height, and spaced eight feet or less within each row. Alternates are Spruce (Norway, Black Hills, or Serbian) where limited spread is needed, American Arbor Vitae where soil is wet, and Eastern Red Cedar where soil is dry, all with closer spacing, and a single row of double density where space does not permit a double row. Other plantings may be approved with the advice of a registered landscape architect.
E. 
Fire protection. Where the site abuts area in a W District, development shall provide water supply for fire protection, with suitable access, except where a water hole, pond, hydrant, or other suitable supply already exists within 1,000 feet of each building on the site.
F. 
Drainage. Any and all surface water runoff resulting from the development shall be retained within the lot in which it originates or shall be discharged into existing identifiable watercourses without material impact on abutting properties. Additionally, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DE P) Stormwater Best Management Practices and other measures to minimize surface water runoff and improve water quality must be implemented and reflected in documents submitted for site plan approval.
[Added 3-30-1996 ATM by Art. 28; amended 3-27-2004 ATM by Art. 36]
G. 
Sidewalks.
[Added 10-24-2016 STM by Art. 4]
(1) 
Uses subject to site standards in the Commercial District shall provide curbs and sidewalks at least six feet in width along all sides of the lot which abut a public street. Sidewalks shall be constructed of cement concrete unless an alternative surface is approved by the Planning Board. Sidewalks shall connect to existing sidewalks on adjacent property, if possible, to create a continuous path network. Sidewalks shall be separated from the edge of the road by a buffer strip at least four feet in width.
(2) 
Internal pedestrian walkways at least six feet in width shall be provided from the public sidewalk or right-of-way to the principal customer entrance of all principal buildings on the site. Such walkways shall be constructed with brick, decorative pavers, or other materials, and may be bordered with shrubbery to clearly separate pedestrians from automobile traffic. Car stops shall be provided to prevent parked cars from damaging trees and shrubs or disrupting pedestrian walkways.
(3) 
Sidewalks and walkways shall conform to requirements of the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB) and ADA regulations, whichever is the more stringent.
(4) 
The Board may waive the above requirements if the configuration of the site is such that public safety concerns and pedestrian circulation needs are better met in a proposed alternative manner.
[Added 3-27-1976 ATM by Art. 28; amended 3-26-1983 ATM by Art. 27; 4-5-1997 ATM by Art. 43; 3-29-2008 ATM by Art. 26]
A. 
It is the purpose and intent of this section to reduce light pollution, light trespass, unnecessary sky glow and other glare in order to preserve and enhance the natural, scenic and aesthetic character and historical environment, and to preserve the night sky as a natural resource to enhance nighttime enjoyment of property within the Town of Harvard. Any outdoor lighting fixture shall be shielded from above in such a manner that:
(1) 
The edge of the shield is below the light source, all outdoor lighting fixtures shall be full cutoff fixtures; and
(2) 
Except for streetlights, direct rays from the light source are confined to the property boundaries.
B. 
The following light sources are prohibited:
(1) 
Neon lights.
(2) 
Metal halide, mercury vapor and quartz lamps.
C. 
Residential lighting, customary holiday lighting, and lamps of low luminosity and low intensity serving primarily as markers or as low-level illumination for entrances and exits or similar use need not be shielded. Requirements for shielding, filtering, and type of light need not be met for emergency lighting required by a public agency in the performance of its duties.
D. 
Outdoor lighting shall not be illuminated between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. with the following exceptions:
(1) 
If the use is being operated, such as a business open to customers, or where employees are working or where an institution or place of public assembly is conducting activity, normal illumination shall be allowed during the activity and for not more than 1/2 hour after the activity ceases.
(2) 
Low-level lighting sufficient for the security of persons or property on the lot may be in operation between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., provided the average illumination on the ground or on any vertical surface is not greater than 0.5 footcandles.
(3) 
Municipal streetlighting, lights that control traffic or other lighting for public safety on Town street and ways.
(4) 
Residential lighting and temporary decorative lighting such as holiday lighting.
E. 
For the purpose of these provisions, light source includes any refractor or globe.
[Added 3-4-1967 ATM by Art. 21; amended 3-3-1973 ATM by Art. 35; 3-25-1978 ATM by Art. 23; 12-3-2002 STM by Art. 19; 5-1-2010 ATM by Art. 4; 4-28-2012 ATM by Art. 43]
A. 
It is the intent to regulate and restrict signs to:
(1) 
Avoid signs which, individually or collectively, are confusing, distracting, or impair visibility in areas along ways or other public traffic areas;
(2) 
Protect areas of residential or agricultural character (AR, MR, and W Districts) from business signs;
(3) 
Protect public ways, parks, and reservations, and areas in view therefrom, from business signs;
(4) 
Encourage inclusion of signs as wall signs on buildings rather than individual standing signs;
(5) 
Encourage combination of signs rather than proliferation of individual smaller signs;
(6) 
Limit the number of signs to those which are accessory or have special public usefulness not generally characteristic of off-site signs;
(7) 
Limit the number and size of signs to that necessary for the purpose thereof, and otherwise limit the confusing, distracting, and obnoxious aspects of signs.
B. 
The following regulations shall apply to all signs:
(1) 
Indoor or outdoor signs which are visible from public and private ways shall not flash, rotate, be animated, be motorized or move or be designed to move by any means, in whole or in part, except for portions indicating time or temperature only. Further, signs that contain or consist of pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other moving devices, strings of lights or similar devices or which emit any noises or loud sounds, or are inflatable are prohibited.
(2) 
Outdoor signs may only be illuminated only by steady white light shielded and directed downward solely at the sign, and shall be adequately maintained. No messages or graphics on permanent signs shall be formed by lights of any kind, with the exception of time and temperature. Backlit or internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
(3) 
Signs are subject to applicable setback by height, visibility, buffer strip, and screening requirements of § 125-30, Land-structure relations, and § 125-39, Site standards.
(4) 
Signs attached to the exterior of a building shall not extend beyond said wall. A wall includes its doors and windows.
(5) 
An outdoor sign not attached to a building is a standing sign. No standing sign shall exceed 15 feet in height measured from the ground to the top of the sign or the supporting structure, whichever is taller. The area of one side of a double-faced sign shall be used to compute the area.
(6) 
The area of a sign shall be considered to include all lettering, wording and accompanying designs and symbols, together with the background on which they are displayed, any frame around the sign and any cutouts or extensions, but shall not include any supporting structure or bracing. The supporting structure shall be comprised of the structural support for the sign plus any decorative or design elements associated with the structure, such as stone pylons or pillars.
(7) 
Signs mounted on trucks or trailers or trailer chassis with or without wheels whose primary functions is as a sign and not for the transport of goods or merchandise are prohibited.
(8) 
Roof-mounted signs are prohibited.
C. 
On-site signs:
(1) 
The following regulations shall apply to properties in business use within the C District:
(a) 
A business in a C District may have one wall sign on each wall plus an additional sign at each building entrance when needed to indicate a separate department or operation or to provide a directory of occupants. The total aggregate area of such signs on any building wall shall not exceed 1/15 the area of the wall.
(b) 
A lot in business use in a C District may have one standing sign located on the lot not exceeding 20 square feet in area.
(c) 
A business in a C District may have window signs, visible from the window's exterior side, either hung or otherwise attached directly to the inside of a window, or painted or etched on either side of the window pane or glass, not including any customary window display or merchandise or other product, provided that the aggregate display area covers no more than 20% of the gross area of the window, not to exceed six square feet.
(d) 
Within a site which contains two or more businesses, either located on the same lot or two or more lots connected by interior driveways or within an Ayer Road Village Special Permit development, the following additional regulations shall apply:
[1] 
Signs which indicate direction to a business or other activity located within the development, which contain no advertising matter, and do not exceed two square feet each in area are permitted;
[2] 
The site may have one standing sign no larger than 30 square feet in area.
(2) 
A property in business use not located in the C District may have signs as in Subsection C(1)(a) through (c) except that the maximum sign area shall not exceed 1/2 of that which is allowed in Subsection C(1)(a) through (c).
(3) 
A property in business use as regulated above may have one sign, not exceeding three square feet in area, along each street on which the lot has frontage.
D. 
Off-site signs in or over Town ways: The Select Board may grant permits as provided in M.G.L. Chapter 85, Section 8, for off-site signs in or over Town ways, in accordance with the intent of this Bylaw.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 2]
E. 
Temporary signs are permitted as follows:
(1) 
Number and duration: One temporary standing sign or sandwich board sign may be displayed on a lot. A temporary sign may not be displayed more than 90 days before an event and shall be removed within five business days of the event.
(2) 
Size: A temporary sign (i.e. contractor's sign or a sign advertising the sale or rental of a premises) shall not exceed six square feet in area. For-sale signs for individual lots may be replaced by a single sign for a group of neighboring lots; such sign shall not exceed three square feet/lot up to a maximum of 20 square feet in area.
F. 
The Planning Board may approve, approve with conditions, or disapprove the following signs and the following deviations from the requirements of this section:
(1) 
A greater number of standing signs than permitted, but not more than one sign in addition to the number of signs otherwise permitted per lot.
(2) 
Signs with dimensions in excess of those permitted, subject to the following limitations:
(a) 
No standing sign larger than 40 square feet in area or more than 20 feet in height; and
(b) 
No roof signs shall be permitted.
The Board may approve the special permit if it finds that such signs will conform to the purpose and intent of this section, the sign(s) are appropriate for the location, the size of the property/premises, the building(s) thereon, and the neighborhood setting, and the signs will be informative, legible and designed to improve the quality of the streetscape. In no event shall the issuance of a special permit be construed as precedent with respect to the issuance of similar special permits in the future, as each application and site is unique.