Zoning Ordinance Variance

About Zoning Ordinance Controls

The Zoning Ordinance controls the uses of land, size, height, bulk, location and use of structures, including the following.
  • Accessory Facilities and Uses Such as:
    • Landscaping
    • Open Space
    • Vehicle Parking and Loading
  • Areas and Dimensions of Land to Be Occupied or Unoccupied by Uses and Structures
  • The Density of Population and Intensity of Use
  • Noxious Uses
  • Buildings and Signs


In order to build closer to my lot line than permitted, a variance is required from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The applicant is expected to show that a variance from the Zoning Ordinance will not be a substantial detriment to the public good and will not nullify or substantially deviate from the intent or purpose of the ordinance.

If a variance is approved, applications for building permits may be accepted only after the expiration of a 20 day appeal period and submission of proof that the variance has been filed with the Registry of Deeds. The appeal period begins when the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals is filed with the City Clerk.


Comments, questions, or concerns related to zoning relief should be directed to the City Development Services Office at 978-674-4144, where every attempt to return your call in a timely manner will be made as appropriate - please note, however, that due to the volume of calls received, there may be delays in responding.