Development Guide

Projects in the City of Lowell may require a number of approvals before development can begin. Small projects that meet all zoning requirements can be brought directly to the Division of Development Services, 978-674-4144. If the project does not need a special permit, variance, or site plan review, the developer can proceed and secure a building permit from Development Services.

Other Projects

Other types of projects such as the following may require a number of review steps:
  • Subdivisions (PDF) of land or divisions of lots will require approval of the Planning Board.
  • Projects over a certain threshold require a Site Plan Review hearing before the Planning Board.
  • Projects that do not meet the Zoning Regulations (PDF) may be able to apply for a variance before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Follow the link to the Zoning Map (PDF) to reference zoning district locations.
  • Projects in the Downtown and Acre districts will require a review by the Lowell Historic Board.
  • Projects that require a Special Permit under the zoning ordinance will require a hearing before either the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Planning Board.

Applications for Boards

Applications for the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Planning Board, and Conservation Commission are processed by the Division of Development Services located in City Hall. Please note that an applicant must receive a decision from the Planning Board before the hearing before the ZBA can be closed for projects requiring both a ZBA variance or special permit and Site Plan Review before the Planning Board.

Information on development projects that require Planning Board, ZBA, or the Conservation Commission is available for review Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Information on development projects currently under review are also available.