The Building Commissioner shall institute and take all such action as may be necessary to enforce full compliance with all the provisions of this chapter and of permits, variances, and Zoning Board of Appeals decisions issued thereunder, including notification of noncompliance and request for legal action through the Mayor to the City Solicitor.
No proposed change in this chapter which has been unfavorably acted upon by the City shall be considered on its merits by the City Council within two years after the date of such unfavorable action, unless adoption of the proposed change is recommended in the final report of the Planning Board.
This chapter shall be administered by the Building Commissioner. Pursuant to the State Building Code, the Building Commissioner may require such plans and specifications as may be necessary to determine compliance with all pertinent laws of the commonwealth. Buildings, structures or signs may not be erected, substantially altered, moved, or changed in use and land may not be substantially altered or changed in principal use unless in compliance with then-applicable zoning and after all necessary permits have been received under federal, state, or local law.
The penalty for violation of any provision of this chapter, of any of the conditions under which a permit is issued, or of any decision rendered by the Zoning Board of Appeals and/or special permit granting authority shall be $300 for each offense. Each day that each violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Establishment. There is hereby established a Zoning Board of Appeals of three members to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, as provided in MGL c. 40A. Two associate members shall be appointed in like manner to serve, upon designation by the Chairperson of the Board, in case of vacancy, inability to act, or conflict of interest on the part of a member of said Board.
Powers. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have and exercise all the powers granted to it by MGL c. 40A, 40B, and 41 and by this chapter. The Board's powers are as follows:
To hear and decide applications for special permits. Unless otherwise specified herein, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall serve as the special permit granting authority.
To hear and decide appeals or petitions for variances from the terms of this chapter, with respect to particular land or structures, as set forth in MGL c. 40A, § 10. The Zoning Board of Appeals may hear and decide petitions for use variances from the terms of this chapter, with respect to certain uses, in accordance with the standards for variances as set forth in MGL c. 40A, § 10.
To hear and decide appeals taken by any person aggrieved by reason of his or her inability to obtain a permit or enforcement action from any administrative officer under the provisions of MGL c. 40A, §§ 8 and 15.
To hear and decide comprehensive permits for construction of low- or moderate-income housing by a public agency or limited dividend or nonprofit corporation, as set forth in MGL c. 40B, §§ 20 to 23.
Regulations. The Zoning Board of Appeals may adopt rules and regulations for the administration of its powers.
Fees. The Zoning Board of Appeals may adopt reasonable administrative fees and technical review fees for petitions for variances, administrative appeals, and applications for comprehensive permits.
This chapter may be amended from time to time in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 40A.
Text amendments. It is recommended that private petitions to amend the text of the Zoning Ordinance consult with the Director (Department) of Community Development and Planning relative to the placement of the proposed text amendment within the appropriate section of the Zoning Ordinance and to review technical, procedural and legal considerations.
Map amendments. It is recommended that private petitions for Zoning Map amendments be accompanied by sketch or concept plans depicting the intended use/development contemplated with the proposed map amendment. There are no specific plan content requirements; however, it is suggested the plan address areas of potential concern to address uncertainties or issues such as building location, size, height, design, parking, access, drainage, landscaping and other features that may reasonable be expected to be raised before the Planning Board and City Council as part of their respective deliberations.
Special permit granting authority (SPGA). Unless specifically designated otherwise, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall act as the SPGA. The Planning Board is the SPGA for infill development, the Smart Growth PUD, Development Overlay District 1, open space residential developments, Groundwater Protection Overlay District, Surface Water Protection Overlay District, Large-Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District, marijuana establishments, senior residential development, drive-through or drive-in businesses, and the Mill Street Corridor Development Overlay District. One associate member may be appointed to the Planning Board by the Mayor, subject to the confirmation by the City Council. The Chairperson of the Planning Board may designate the associate member to sit on the Board for the purposes of acting on a special permit application, in the case of absence, inability to act, or conflict of interest on the part of any member of the Planning Board or in the event of a vacancy on the Board.
Criteria. Special permits shall be granted by the SPGA, unless otherwise specified herein, only upon its written determination that the adverse effects of the proposed use will not outweigh its beneficial impacts to the City or the neighborhood, in view of the particular characteristics of the site and of the proposal in relation to that site. In addition to any specific factors that may be set forth in this chapter, the determination shall include consideration of each of the following:
The proposal shall be suitably located in the neighborhood in which it is proposed and/or the entire City and shall be compatible with neighborhood character, existing uses and other uses permitted by right in the same district;
The proposal shall provide convenient and safe vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and in relation to adjacent streets, property and improvements;
The proposal shall provide adequate space for off-street parking, loading and unloading of vehicles, and goods, products, materials and equipment incidental to the normal operation of the establishment or use;
The proposal shall provide adequate and appropriate facilities and utilities for the proper operation of the proposed use and disposal of sewage, refuse or other waste products and methods of drainage of surface water;
The proposal shall not constitute a nuisance due to air and water pollution, erosion, flood, noise, odor, dust, vibrations, lights or visually offensive structures or site features;
The proposal shall not be a substantial inconvenience or hazard to abutters, vehicles or pedestrians, as determined by the SPGA;
The proposal shall be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter;
The proposal shall not have a significant detrimental impact on City services, tax base, and employment opportunities; and
The proposal is consistent with the City's Community Development Plan or Master Plan.
Procedures. An application for a special permit shall be filed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SPGA.
Conditions. Special permits may be granted with such reasonable conditions, safeguards, or limitations on time or use, including performance guarantees, as the SPGA may deem necessary to serve the purposes of this chapter.
Regulations. The SPGA may adopt rules and regulations for the administration of this section.
Fees. The SPGA may adopt reasonable administrative fees and technical review fees for applications for special permits.
Lapse. Special permits shall lapse if a substantial use thereof or construction thereunder has not begun, except for good cause, within 12 months following the filing of the special permit approval (plus such time required to pursue or await the determination of an appeal referred to in MGL c. 40A, § 17, from the grant thereof) with the City Clerk.