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

IV. VARIANCES, INTERPRETATIONS, RECONSIDERATION, APPEALS

  1. Variances

    1. Upon application, the Commission may grant, with respect to a particular parcel of land or to an existing building thereon, a variance from the terms of the By-Laws or Regulations where, owing to conditions especially affecting such parcel or such building but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located, a literal enforcement of the By-Laws or Regulations would: involve substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the applicant and where desirable relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent and purpose of such zoning byŚlaw or regulation, but not otherwise. A variance may not authorize a use of land or buildings which is not a permitted use in the particular zoning district.

    2. Within seven (7) days of receipt of an application for a variance, the Commission shall send one (1) copy each of such application to the boards of selectmen and planning boards of each Town and to the abutters of the parcel in question. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of an application for a variance, the selectmen, the planning boards, and the abutters may submit their written comments concerning the application to the Commission.

    3. After a public hearing and notice, as provided in Article II A of the By-Laws, the Commission may grant a request for a variance within forty (40) days after the termination of the public hearing.

    4. In granting a variance, the Commission may impose such reasonable conditions as will ensure that the use of the property to which the variance applies will be compatible with the uses of the surrounding properties.

    5. The award of a variance and any conditions attached to it shall be entered on the face of the Development Permit for the project.

    6. If the rights authorized by a variance are not exercised within one (1) year of the date of the grant of such variance, such rights shall lapse, provided, however, that the Commission may, in its discretion, extend the time for exercise of such rights. For purposes of this paragraph, a person shall be considered to have exercised his or her rights upon submission to the Commission of an application for a Development Permit reflecting such variance.

  2. Interpretations

    The Commission is authorized to interpret the provisions of the Reuse Plan, ByŚLaws, and Regulations. In land use matters where the Act and ByŚLaws do not provide guidance for the Commission's interpretations, the Commission should be guided by decisional law and statutes. Such interpretations shall be considered final unless an aggrieved person complies with the appeal provisions of sections E and F of this Article.

  3. Request for Reconsideration by an Applicant or an Aggrieved Person

    An applicant for a Development Permit or a variance, or an aggrieved person who is not an applicant, may submit to the Commission a request for reconsideration of any determination made by the Commission, in accordance with the procedures set forth in section E below.

  4. Request for Reconsideration by Town

    The board of selectmen of each Town shall designate a Town official who shall act as the designee for the Town for the purposes of coordinating and submitting on behalf of the Town to the Commission a request for reconsideration of any determination made by the Commission. Such request may be generated by any Town official, agency, or board, provided, that all such requests shall first be submitted to the Town designee for submission to the Commission. A request for reconsideration from a Town shall be submitted by the Town's designee in accordance with the following section E.

  5. Procedure for Reconsideration

    1. The Commission shall establish in its Regulations the procedures that shall govern the submission and review of a request for reconsideration. Such procedures shall, at a minimum, provide that a request for reconsideration shall be made in writing, within thirty (30) days of the determination made by the Commission, and shall include the following:

        a. a precise statement of the issue or matter on which reconsideration has been requested; and

        b. a narrative statement and technical information, where appropriate, supporting the request for reconsideration.

    2. Upon the filing of a request for reconsideration, the time period for filing a judicial appeal of the Commission's action, pursuant to section F of this Article and section 11(3) of the Act, shall be stayed until such time as the Commission's written action on the request for reconsideration has been recorded, as provided in subsection 4 of this section E.

    3. The Commission shall cause a notice of any request for reconsideration to be sent to persons in interest, which shall mean the (i) applicant, (ii) an aggrieved person requesting reconsideration, (iii) abutters, and (iv) each board of selectmen, or its designee, as provided under section D of this Article.

    4. The Commission shall review and act upon a request for reconsideration within forty-five (45) days of receipt of such request, unless the requesting party agrees to a written extension of the time in which the Commission should complete its review. The Commission's written action upon a request for reconsideration shall be sent to the person filing such request, any other person in interest, and to the three Towns' clerks' offices. Upon the recording of such action in the three Towns' clerks' offices, the twenty (20) day appeal period provided under the following section F shall commence.

  6. Appeal of the Commission's Actions

    Any action or determination of the Commission may be appealed in accordance with Section 11 of the Act.


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