ZONING BY-LAWS
Devens Regional Enterprise Zone

November 18, 1994

The Joint Boards of Selectmen:
    Town of Ayer
    Town of Harvard
    Town of Lancaster
    Town of Shirley
The Massachusetts Government Land Bank

Chapter II: ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEVENS

  1. Composition of Commission. Meetings. Notice of Meetings and Public Hearings. Quorum. Minutes of Meetings. Decisions of Commission. and Subcommittees

    1. The Commission shall be comprised of twelve commissioners who shall be appointed and serve in accordance with the provisions of section 9 of the Act.

    2. A quorum for the Commission shall consist of seven (7) members. Except as provided in the Act or herein, any action of the Commission shall be taken by majority vote of the quorum then present at a meeting, provided, however, that a majority of the full membership of the Commission (seven [7] votes), shall be required to approve a variance under Article IV A, a request for reconsideration under Article IV C - E, or delegation of powers to the Land Use Administrator, as provided herein. Approval of the Regulations shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Commission or eight (8) votes.

    3. The Commission shall establish a regular meeting schedule for purposes of reviewing, evaluating, and acting upon matters within the scope of its authority, as set forth in the By-Laws.

    4. The meetings of the Commission shall be governed by the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 3OA sections llA and llAŻ. Whenever feasible, the agenda for each Commission meeting shall be available in advance of the meeting.

    5. The Commission shall provide written notice to the clerks of each of the Towns for immediate posting, and to the board of selectmen and the planning board of each of the Towns, at least seven (7) days prior to the date on which a meeting of the Commission is scheduled to take place. Meetings shall be held within the boundaries of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, unless otherwise agreed to by the Commission for a particular meeting.

    6. Wherever the By-Laws require the Commission to hold a public hearing, the Commission shall provide notice of the time, place, and a brief statement of the subject matter of such hearing to the clerks of each of the Towns for immediate posting and to the board of selectmen and the planning board of each of the Towns, at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date on which the public hearing is scheduled to take place. Such notice shall also be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Towns once a week for two (2) successive weeks, with the first publication being not less than fourteen (14) days prior to the date of such public hearing. Where notice to individuals, including abutters, is required, notice shall be sent by mail, postage prepaid. Documents related to such hearing shall be made available for inspection in the offices of the Commission or at another designated location. The Commission may accept a waiver of notice from or an affidavit of actual notice to any person entitled to notice hereunder.

    7. Minutes shall be kept of all Commission meetings.

    8. The Commission's records, where defined as Public Records pursuant to G.L. c. 4 section 7, shall be subject to disclosure, as provided in G.L. c. 66 section 10.

    9. The chairman of the Commission may appoint from among its members, one (1) or more subcommittees to assist the Commission in carrying out any of its purposes. Efforts shall be made to assure that subcommittees reflect representation from the three (3) member Towns, wherever feasible and appropriate.

    10. Upon receipt of a Level Two Development Permit application, the Commission shall send one (1) copy each of such application and completed plan submission package to the boards of selectmen and planning boards of each of the Towns. The selectmen and planning boards shall be invited to attend and offer testimony at any public hearings scheduled by the Commission to consider a Level Two Development Permit application. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of a Level Two Development Permit application, the selectmen and the planning boards may submit to the Commission their written comments concerning the proposed project, accompanied by a listing of their concerns and issues regarding the application.

    11. The Commission shall notify all abutters to a proposed development project as to the time and place of any Commission meeting or public hearing scheduled to consider a Level Two Development Permit application. Abutters shall be defined as all real property owners whose property lies within three hundred (300) feet of any property line of the development site.

    12. Town officials other than the boards of selectmen and planning boards may also attend, offer testimony, and provide the Commission with correspondence regarding any Level Two Development Permit application. Similarly, any private citizen may submit written or oral testimony to the Commission regarding a Level Two Development Permit application.

    13. The Commission shall not terminate the public hearing on either an application for a Level Two Development Permit or an application for a variance until thirty (30) days have expired since the receipt of either such completed application. The Commission, with the consent of the applicant, may agree to an extension of the public hearing period of up to thirty (30) additional days. The Commission shall render its decision on an application for a Level Two Development Permit or an application for a variance within thirty (30) days after the termination of the public hearing.

    14. The Commission, the Land Bank and the boards of selectmen of the towns of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, with the advice of the planning boards of said towns, on or about July 1, 2000, and every five (5) years thereafter (or prior thereto, with the consent of all parties named above, upon the occurrence of special circumstances), shall conduct progress reviews of the status of the redevelopment effort at Devens, which reviews shall include, without limitation, assessments of employment base, employment income, land resources expended, land costs, infrastructure implementation and investment, including an assessment of future investments needed and the timing thereof, other costs, tax base, superfund clean-up issues, traffic and other impacts both internal and external to Devens. These progress reviews shall be summarized in a written report, and are intended to offer to all participating parties a long term overview and perspective for assessing progress to date, lessons learned and adjustments that may be needed.

  2. Powers and Responsibilities of the Commission

    1. As provided in the Act, the Commission shall develop and adopt the Regulations by July 14, 1995, provided, however, that the Commission shall adopt the portion of the Regulations establishing reasonable performance standards for lighting, noise, odors, vibration, electrical disturbance, emissions, buffers and similar environmental considerations, hereinafter the "performance standards," by the earlier of May 1, 1995, or the date of the issuance by the Department of the Army of the Record of Decision for the Fort Devens Environmental Impact Statement. The portion of the performance standards relating to the effects of lighting, noise, odors, vibration, electrical disturbance on areas outside of the boundaries of Devens shall be prepared by the Commission, with the assistance of Land Bank staff, and shall be submitted to the Joint Boards of Selectmen of the Towns and the Board of Directors of the Land Bank for review and approval, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. Approval by the Joint Boards of Selectmen shall be by unanimous vote. This portion of the performance standards shall not be effective until such time as they are approved by the Joint Boards of Selectmen and the Land Bank, as provided above.

    2. The Commission shall ensure that development and use of land at Devens is carried out in compliance with the Act, the Reuse Plan, the By-Laws, and the Regulations.

    3. The Commission shall administer and enforce the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, and Regulations within the boundaries of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone. Areas outside these boundaries shall remain entirely within the jurisdiction of the Towns and shall continue to be administered by officials of the Towns in accordance with the municipal laws and regulations applicable to the Towns.

    4. The Commission shall have the powers conferred upon it by section 11 of the Act and the By-Laws.

  3. Commission's Enforcement Powers

    1. In accordance with section 11 of the Act, the Commission is obligated to administer and enforce the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, and Regulations.

    2. The Commission shall enforce the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, and Regulations by exercising the enforcement powers granted to the Commission pursuant to section 11 of the Act:

        a. the power to withhold building and occupancy permits;

        b. the power to assess penalties for violation of the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or Regulations in amounts no more than three hundred dollars ($300.00) per day, per violation, provided that each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense;

        c. the power to institute actions in Court to compel the removal, alteration, or relocation of any structure that violates the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or Regulations;

        d. the other enforcement powers available to the Commission, pursuant to G.L. c. 40 A section 7;

        e. the enforcement powers available to a zoning board of appeals, pursuant to G.L. c. 40 A section 14;

        f. the power to require security for the construction of ways and municipal services to a subdivision, as provided in G.L. c. 41 section 81 U;

        g. the powers available to enforce the subdivision-control sections of the By-Laws and Regulations, as provided in G.L. c. 41 sections 81 K-81GG;

        h. the powers available to the Commission to enforce the Historic District Acts, as provided in G.L. c. 40 C;

        i. the powers provided to the Commission to make and enforce reasonable public health regulations, as provided in G.L. c. 111 sections 31 through 31 F, including, but not limited to, the issuance of permits and the assessment of fines related to the violation of the By-Laws and Regulations, including the removal and transport of garbage or other offensive substances, atmospheric pollution, disposal of cesspool and septic-tank waste, and the construction, maintenance, and alteration of certain sewage disposal systems; and

        j. the other powers expressly and impliedly conferred upon the Commission pursuant to the Act, provided, however, that nothing in the By-Laws shall purport to limit the right of a state agency to exercise its statutory right to review the action of the Commission, whether in the areas of wetlands protection, preservation of historic buildings, or in other areas required by law.

    3. Except as otherwise provided to the contrary in the Act, the Commission shall establish in the Regulations specific procedures and controls necessary to regulate the municipal powers enumerated in G.L. c. 40 section 21, and such Regulations shall include enforcement provisions, including the assessment of fines and penalties, for breach of such Regulations, provided that such fines shall be recovered by criminal or noncriminal dispositions, as provided in G.L. c. 40 section 21 D.

    4. The Commission shall enforce the provisions of the "Wetlands Protection Act," G.L. c. 131 section 40 and regulations promulgated thereunder, in the same manner and to the same extent as a local conservation commission, and in so doing may issue orders directing compliance with said section 40 and may undertake other enforcement actions authorized by law.

    5. The Commission or the Land Use Administrator shall withhold issuing a building, occupancy, or Development Permit for the construction, alteration, or moving of any building or structure if the building or structure, as constructed, altered, or moved, would be in violation of the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or Regulations.

    6. No permit shall be granted by the Commission or the Land Use Administrator for a new use of a building, structure, or land which use would be in violation of the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or the Regulations.

    7. If the Commission is requested in writing to enforce the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or the Regulations against any person allegedly in violation of same and the Commission declines to act on such request, the Commission shall notify the party requesting such enforcement of any refusal to act and the reasons therefor, in writing, within fourteen (14) days of receipt of such request.

    8. The Commission may commence an action in Superior Court to compel enforcement of its actions or orders relating to matters within the Commission's jurisdiction, pursuant to the Act, the Reuse Plan, By-Laws, or the Regulations.

  4. Commission's Public Safety and Public Health Obligations

    1. The Commission shall establish in the Regulations the standards and procedures through which it will carry out its obligations under section 22 of the Act to conduct inspections and enforce the provisions of the state building code, wire code, plumbing and gas code, sanitary code, fire code, and the code regulating the operation of elevators.

    2. The Commission shall likewise establish in the Regulations the standards and procedures through which it will carry out its obligations under section 22 of the Act to conduct inspections and protect the public health in Devens.

    3. The Commission shall establish in the Regulations reasonable fees for permitting and carrying out inspections related to enforcing its obligations under the foregoing paragraphs 1 and 2, and shall assess fines for the violation of the public safety and public health standards described in the Regulations.

    4. In order to carry out its obligations to administer and enforce the public safety and public health standards contained in the General Laws and the Regulations, the Commission may adopt any one or a combination of the following administrative options:

        a. establishment of a department of inspections under the direct control of the Commission;

        b. contracting for inspection services, provided that the Commission will retain the responsibility for the contractor's actions; or

        c. designation of the division of public safety as the public agency that will oversee the issuance of permits related to public safety issues and perform related inspections, and designation of the department of public health as the public agency that will oversee the issuance of permits related to public health issues and perform related inspections.

  5. Land Use Administrator, Staff, Consultants

    1. The Commission shall appoint a Land Use Administrator to promote the efficient administration of the Act, the Reuse Plan, the By-Laws, and the Regulations. Such Administrator shall have substantial professional experience involving planning, land use control, and development issues. The Administrator may assist the Commission in the review and evaluation of applications for development permits and licenses authorized under the By-Laws and Regulations and may have other obligations as provided herein. The Commission may employ other staff, including a full or part-time environmental compliance officer with substantial credentials in environmental science or related subjects, and consultants to assist in carrying out its duties.

    2. The Commission may, by regulation and with such conditions as it deems appropriate, delegate to the Land Use Administrator the Commission's responsibilities for administering and enforcing the By-Laws, including the power to issue building, occupancy, and other permits and licenses.

    3. The Commission may, by regulation and with such conditions as it deems appropriate, delegate to the Land Use Administrator the power to execute any documents on behalf of the Commission, for the purposes of acknowledging or endorsing on such documents the Commission's prior approval of the information contained on such documents.

    4. Any person, Town official, or Town board may appeal any determination of the Land Use Administrator to the full Commission, as set forth in Article IV sections C, D, or E.


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