Lowell Zoning Ordinance and Map
The Lowell Zoning Ordinance is designed to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Lowell, by controlling and managing the location, type, dimensions, and characteristics of land uses within the city limits. The Zoning Ordinance divides the City into districts and establishes what types of land use activities are allowed to occur in each district and which are prohibited. The Zoning Ordinance also provides dimensional requirements for buildings, and establishes requirements for parking, lighting, landscaping, open space, loading, signage, and refuse containers, among other aspects of site development. These requirements are applied to new construction and significant renovations of properties in the City. Existing buildings and properties that do not meet these requirements are “grandfathered” from the requirements. As a result zoning is most effective at influencing new construction and area-wide development patterns over long periods of time. It is a less effective tool to address short-term problems with existing properties.
Because of its value as a tool for influencing long-term development patterns, it is important that the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Map reflect the vision of the community as outlined in the goals and recommendations of the Comprehensive Master Plan. Following adoption of the Master Plan in 2003, the Lowell City Council, the Lowell Planning Board, and the Division of Planning and Development have completed a comprehensive project to revise and improve the Lowell Zoning Ordinance.
- Phase I of this process was completed in December 2003 when the City Council adopted a new Zoning Ordinance, which provided an updated structure and addressed many inconsistencies and conflicts in the prior version. At that time, the City Council also adopted a number of new procedures and regulations aimed at promoting and protecting neighborhood character in accordance with the Master Plan.
- Phase II of this process was completed in December 2004. It includes revisions to the Zoning Map to guide development over the next twenty years toward appropriate locations as designated in the Master Plan. The new map rezones the entire City using a new set of zoning districts that are described in section 3.1 of the new Zoning Code. The new districts are designed to reflect the existing character of the City's neighborhoods on a block-by-block basis and regulate new development to respect and complement the existing neighborhood character.
Adam Baacke, Director
Department of Planning and Development