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


  1. General Land Use Categories

    1. Purpose

      The purpose of this Article is to classify the various types of uses that will be permitted within the various zoning districts established by Article V of the By-Laws, on the basis of common functional, product, or compatibility characteristics. This Article also establishes provisions covering all land uses, such as permitted, accessory, prohibited, exempt, and interim uses at Devens.

      For those areas of Devens over which the federal government has retained control as of the effective date of the By-Laws, the land-use controls established herein shall be considered to establish the underlying zoning for such areas. Upon the relinquishment by the federal government over control of these areas, the provisions of the By-Laws shall take full force and effect in such areas.

    2. Authority and Responsibility

      The Commission shall classify proposed uses of land within Devens according to the use types described hereafter, provided that if the Commission determines that a proposed use does not fit under any use type, it shall not be permitted. The Commission's classification of a use may be the subject of a Request for Reconsideration by an applicant or a Town under Article IV C or D or a judicial appeal under Article IV F.

    3. Use Categories

      The following use categories are hereby established for Devens and shall apply in the zoning districts in accordance with the Table of permitted Uses attached as Exhibit E

        a. Environmental Business

        The Environmental Business use type refers to those business activities that involve environmental remediation, pollution reduction, materials recycling, and alternative and energy resources research along with the products emanating from these activities. Environmental business uses involve two distinct, but sometimes related, types of land use. The first denotes process-based enterprises where waste or raw materials are utilized to create a new value-added product, or where processes are directly applied for purposes of environmental remediation. The second denotes uses with an environmental component or components, but not with a primarily process-based orientation. Business uses that have an "environmental component" may include assembly or manufacturing of pollution reduction equipment, which may be associated with management or testing of air, soil, or water quality, or noise attenuation, or technical consulting or testing firms in which environmental remediation activity takes place at on-site or off-site locations. Facilities typically required for businesses with an environmental component include office operations, laboratories and equipment storage, and loading areas. The term "Environmental Component" as defined above is used in the Table of Permitted Uses in conjunction with the following land use categories, for the purpose of establishing subcategories thereof: Industrial, Light Industrial, and Research and Development.

        Due to the nature of environmental businesses of the first type, where processing is involved, outdoor storage of materials will usually be required. Such uses, and all related site development, shall be subject to site performance standards that shall be established in the Regulations for the Environmental Business district. The Regulations shall include standards for storage, screening and landscaping, site perimeter buffering, and all "nuisance" conditions to be controlled on-site.

        Permanent storage of waste or raw process materials shall be prohibited in the Environmental Business and all other districts, when the purpose of the activity is for storage only and is not related to processing. The length of time that materials may be stored outdoors must be linked to the needs and sequencing of the process involved. Similarly, junkyards for automobile salvage, rags, or similar storage not tied to processing into value added products shall be prohibited.

        Environmental business uses may include, without limitation, any of the following activities: analytical services (testing and analysis of air, soil, waste, water, chemicals, and similar analytical services); production of consumer and industrial products, such as water saving devices, efficient lighting, packaging made from recycled materials, advanced industrial pumps, and similar products; operational services such as underground tank removal, sorting and marketing of useful recycling materials, asbestos and lead paint removal (not with permanent on-site storage), and similar operations; research and development of energy resources, such as renewable and alternative energies, electric/magnetic field exposure management, clean coal technologies, and other activities associated with energy development; and manufacturing of environmental equipment, such as oceanographic instrumentation, solvent/oil/coolant recovery systems, air, soil, and water quality cleanup equipment, noise, and vibration control devices, water pollution reduction equipment, and similar manufacturing.

        The uses defined above as "Environmental Business" should not be construed as limiting the undertaking of office, research and development, and other use types that may have an environmental focus. These uses are generally of lower site impact and may be located in land use districts without special controls.

        b. Office

        Office use type refers to offices, individual firms, or organizations which are primarily used for the provision of executive, management, administrative, financial, or professional services. Offices may be of the corporate, multiple building occupancy, or free-standing type, subject to any further restrictions imposed within individual land use districts in the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone; and other use classifications when the service rendered is that customarily associated with administrative office services. Offices are further differentiated by Gross Floor Area (GFA), with Full Offices consisting of structures with more than forty thousand (40,000) square feet GFA, and Small-scale Offices consisting of structures with less than forty thousand (40,000) square feet GFA.

        c. Light Industrial

        Light industrial use type refers to on-site production processes which utilize already-manufactured components to assemble, process, craft, fabricate, or otherwise package a product to which value is added. These on-site production processes may consist of or be created from electronics and micro-electronics parts, plastic components, cloth, glass, leather, wood, ceramic components, or other materials. This use type includes warehousing and distribution facilities that may be associated with production processes and office or research facilities ancillary to the principal use. In sensitive locations, and with proper screening, buffering and site performance standards shall be required. The lower impact of light industrial uses generally permits their location in relatively close proximity to non-industrial uses. Examples typically include: production of electronic parts, assembly of small appliances, production of opto-electronic materials, apparel production, (finished) leather products, crafting of glass laboratory instruments, and other uses falling generally within this use category.

        d. Industrial

        Industrial use type refers to on-site production or manufacturing processes which meet one or both of the following developmental criteria:

        (i) the use functions at a generally larger scale of operations than light industrial; or

        (ii) the use is more complex than light industrial due to the extent of its production or manufacturing process, from import of materials to export of value added product and may rely more on raw, rather than already-assembled or partially-completed component materials.

        Industrial uses shall be located on sites that are physically distant from residential areas. This use type includes warehousing and distribution facilities that may be associated with production processes and office or research facilities ancillary to the principal use. Industrial uses typically include manufacturing of equipment and materials, food processing production, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, construction of large electrical appliances, manufacture of materials and products for the construction industry, assembly of prefabricated building components and uses of the same general type.

        Emerging industrial technologies that have come to the economic front and are projected to emerge as major activities in the future will be emphasized and encouraged. Emerging uses include: manufacturing associated with distributed computing and telecommunications; materials synthesis and processing for advanced structural materials, electronic and photonic materials, and other industrial applications; flexible integrated manufacturing, encompassing such activities as innovative machine concepts, intelligent sensors and process control techniques, computer-based tools for product or process design, manufacturing infrastructure design, and techniques for systems management; assembly or construction of state-of-the-art transportation systems, and design and manufacturing of pollution reduction and other environmental remediation equipment.

        e. Research and Development

        Research and development use type refers to the research, development, and prototypical pilot manufacturing or limited production of products designed primarily for initial marketing of electronic, industrial, scientific, biotechnological, and biomedical products and applied process engineering. Examples of uses include: biotechnology (applied molecular biology); computer-component manufacturers; distributed computing and telecommunications (information technology); transportation research and other uses intended to create new products or to improve existing ones. Research and development uses may vary considerably in terms of scale of operations, and may involve the continued development of improved or new products.

        f. Conference/Cultural

        Conference/cultural use type refers to the performance of educational, cultural, governmental, recreational, and other uses which are strongly vested with public or social importance. Typical uses include conference space, theaters, museums, libraries, and galleries.

        g. Academic/Institutional/Civic

        Academic/institutional/civic use type refers to educational services provided by public and private institutions, administrative operations provided by governmental and quasi-governmental entities, community centers, and childcare facilities. Typical uses include government offices, municipal facilities, schools, colleges, religious facilities, childcare centers, community centers, and indoor recreation facilities. Schools may include an on-site residential component as an accessory use.

        h. Health Care

        Health care use type refers to establishments primarily engaged in the provision of personal and group health services ranging from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation services provided by physicians, dentists, nurses, and other health personnel, as well as the provision of medical testing and analysis services and the provision of convalescent services requiring twenty-four (24) hour staff. Typical uses include hospitals, medical offices, dental clinics, and laboratories, health-maintenance organizations, immediate-care facilities, clinics, and nursing homes (the latter use as further restricted in particular land use districts within the Devens Enterprise Zone)

        i. Lodging Services

        Lodging services use type refers to establishments primarily engaged in the provision of lodging on a less-than-weekly basis with incidental food, drink, and other sales and services intended for the convenience of guests. Typical uses include hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, conference and banquet facilities, and food-service establishments accessory to the hotel or motel as the primary use.

        j. Commercial

        The Commercial use type shall consist of any of the following uses: retail/service centers with multiple occupants; free-standing retail/service uses; convenience retail, which may be freestanding or wholly contained within structures primarily devoted to other uses; and small-scale accessory retail wholly contained within structures primarily devoted to other uses. Commercial uses shall be subject to further limitations and conditions required in particular land use districts. The following subcategories of Commercial uses are established: commercial-retail/service center; commercial-freestanding retail uses; commercial-convenience retail; and commercial-small scale accessory retail.

        Retail/service centers may contain retail and specialty stores of any type, food service and sales establishments, banks and financial service businesses, personal service establishments such as dry cleaners, insurance agencies, and video rental stores, convenience stores, office uses, and other operations of the same general type.

        Free-standing retail/services uses include uses allowed in retail/service centers, in which the user is the sole occupant of the structure and/or where the structure stands outside of a retail center. Service stations or consumer product repair centers may be permitted where commercial uses are allowed. Typical uses include large scale office supply, automobile rental agencies, office furniture sales, and courier services.

        Convenience retail uses include small retail operations involving sale of over-the-counter food, snack items, beverages, candy, gum, and cigarettes, newspapers and magazines, and similar items and may be contained either within a retail center or be free-standing.

        Small-scale retail as an accessory use is any use of a purely retail nature which is wholly contained within an office or other building primarily devoted to a non-retail use. Day care operations may be allowed as an accessory use in all commercial districts except for convenience retail.

        k. Residential

        The residential use type refers to the following activities: single and two family dwellings; multi-family dwellings (containing three (3) to eight (8) units); nursing homes and congregate or life care facilities with a permanent health care component; housing for the elderly, including retirement communities and shared living developments; active and passive recreation facilities; and professional offices and service businesses as accessory uses or home occupations where allowed in particular districts.

        l. Rail or Trade-Related

        Rail or trade-related use type refers to uses that have one or more of the following characteristics: (a) a degree of reliance on the use of rail facilities; (b) the storage, utilization, or production of goods and materials that are moved to or from emerging or expanding national or international markets or an involvement with trade-related businesses that carry on these functions; or (c) multimodal links to transport goods and services.

        Examples of business uses which meet the rail or trade-related use requirements include the following: intermodal transportation; trade businesses; distribution and warehousing; innovative transportation technology development; and industrial and light industrial uses with the need for rail access, that utilize multimodal transportation links or that produce or utilize goods or materials which are moved to or from emerging or expanding national or international markets.

        The term "Rail or Trade-Related," as defined above, is used in the Table of Permitted Uses in conjunction with the following land use categories for the purpose of establishing subcategories thereof: Industrial, Light Industrial, and Research and Development.

        m. Open Space and Recreation

        The Open Space and Recreation land use type will preserve and enhance the natural beauty and sensitive natural resources of Devens and serve as a buffer and transition zone for other uses. In addition, uses may, where such facilities exist, serve a wide range of passive and active recreational needs of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, the host communities, and the region as a whole.

        Examples of uses include: wetlands and surface waters; all other environmental resource protection areas; trail systems for pedestrian or bicycle use; visitors centers and museum/exhibit space; golf courses; stormwater management retention/detention; active and passive recreation; and camping (of the tent type).

        n. Municipal Use

        The Municipal Use land use type refers to uses of land for public purposes by either the Land Bank, or its agents, or the Towns, for the purposes of carrying out local governmental functions at Devens.

        Examples of uses include: police, fire, and other public-safety facilities; facilities for public administration and offices; outdoor and indoor public recreational facilities; schools; public health and sanitation facilities; public lavatories; public parking facilities; public works facilities; public meeting facilities; and public libraries.

        o. Senior Residential

        Senior Residential refers to age-restricted residential facilities for individuals at least 62 years old. Such facilities may provide services such as meals, transportation, housekeeping, personal care, specialized care for dementia, and/or health care, in a residential setting. Such facilities may also provide no or limited services. No less than twenty-five (25) percent of any Senior Residential units within the Shirley Village Growth I Zoning District must be deed-restricted so that they are affordable to households earning no more than eighty (80) percent of the area median income as defined by HUD. Alternatively, for rental units only, at least twenty (20) percent of the rental units may be deed-restricted for households earning no more than fifty (50) percent of area median income.

  2. Accessory Uses

    1. The following activities are specifically regarded as accessory to residential uses and shall be permitted without the issuance of a Development Permit:

        a. offices or studios within an enclosed building and used by an occupant of a residence located on the same lot as such building to carry on professional, administrative, or artistic activities of a commercial nature;

        b. hobbies or recreational activities of a noncommercial nature; and

        c. the occupancy of an "in-law apartment" by extended family members of the owner.

    2. Day care shall be permitted in all districts, other than the Open Space and Recreation zoning district, as a use accessory to a principal use or business or group of uses or businesses, to provide services primarily to employees working in Devens, and may include all attendant facilities related to day care.

  3. Prohibited Uses

    The following uses are specifically prohibited in all zoning districts:

    1. any use that involves the manufacture, handling, sale, distribution, or storage of any highly-combustible or explosive materials in violation of the State's fire-prevention code;

    2. stockyards, slaughterhouses, rendering plants;

    3. use of a travel trailer or mobile home as a temporary or permanent residence;

    4. fuel storage depots for the primary purpose of off-site distribution;

    5. long-term storage of any materials or substances where long-term storage is the sole purpose of the land use and where storage is not linked to any process which adds value or utility to the material or substance to be so stored;

    6. trash to energy facilities; and

    7. coal gasification facilities.

  4. Exempt Uses

    Notwithstanding any other provisions of the By-Laws to the contrary, no Development Permit is necessary to undertake the following uses or to develop or maintain facilities, buildings, or structures for the following uses, provided, however, that, except where such requirements are already stipulated in this By-Law, the Commission may include in the Regulations reasonable regulations concerning the bulk and height of structures, yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, and parking requirements for such facilities, buildings, or structures where applicable:

    1. public transportation and street construction;

    2. above-ground and underground utilities, including, but not limited to, electric power, telephone, telegraph, cable television, gas, water and sewer lines, pump stations, water supply and water treatment facilities, stormwater piping and related structures, detention and retention ponds, recharge fields, wetland treatment basins, hydraulic control structures, wires or pipes, together with supporting poles, structures, or infrastructure;

    3. state, county, and federal government uses;

    4. uses by public and private parties that were authorized by the federal government under leases or subleases in effect prior to the effective date of the By-Laws;

    5. religious or educational uses on land owned or leased by a religious sect or denomination, or by a non-profit educational corporation.

  5. Interim Uses

    1. Incubator Uses

      The term incubator business or incubator use shall mean an entrepreneurial business or a nonprofit entity with the potential to grow, particularly with regard to employment, rather than sales alone, with an objective to conceive, refine, and produce a distinct product or service that is associated with practical applications in research and development, industry, manufacturing, technical, or other services. Such uses are often start-up businesses and typically utilize flexible, pre-existing space to meet their initial needs.

    2. Agricultural Uses

      Agricultural uses shall be allowed on an interim basis only. Agriculture shall be limited to fruit orchards and truck (vegetable) farming, horticulture, forestry, and nursery uses, whether conventional or less common methods are used. Livestock shall be prohibited. Accessory structures associated with agriculture shall be allowed, but the owner may be obligated upon cessation of activity to remove them.

  6. Hazardous Waste Facilities

    The siting, construction, operation, and maintenance of hazardous waste facilities at Devens shall be subject to all the requirements of G.L. c. 21 D, and regulations promulgated thereunder, and to the provisions of G.L. c. 111 section 150 B.

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