Regulatory Authority: Devens Enterprise Commission
Agency Contact: Peter C. Lowitt
Phone: 978.772.8831 ext 3313
Address: 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434
Massachusetts Register Number 1211
Effective Date: June 2012


5.01 Residential Development

  1. Goals:

      (a) To foster the creation of housing that:

        i. Is compatible in scale, form, style, and size with adjacent residential areas.

        ii. Accommodates a variety of household types and income levels.

        iii. Serves households who live or work in the Devens region

        iv. Is varied as to type and size

      (b) To provide a streamlined residential development review process.

      (c) To encourage sustainable residential development.

      (d) To foster the creation or preservation of open space, trails, and other community amenities.

      (e) To promote the evolution of a neighborhood at Devens.

      (f) To provide for an integrated system of roads and utilities.

      (g) To preserve mature trees, street trees, wooded areas and existing topography, and

      (h) To minimize the impact of new development on previously undisturbed areas.

  2. Applicability: All development on land zoned Residential I as November 18, 1994 (the date of the Devens By-Laws) except projects of four or fewer dwelling units or developments on less than two acres shall be a Residential Development complying with this Section 5.01. One or more Applicants shall not segment a project in order to circumvent the requirements of this Section 5.01.

  3. General Requirements

      (a) Approval of a Residential Development (RD) shall require approval by the DEC of a Residential Master Plan (RMP), a Residential Development Plan (RDP), and a Master Residential Site Plan (MRSP).

      (b) The RMP, RDP, and the MRSP are each components of the Unified Permitting system and each requires a Level Two permit. The DEC shall review the RMP, RDP, and MRSP in accordance with the procedures for review of Level Two permits as set forth in 974 CMR 1.00.

      (c) The DEC shall approve, approve with conditions, or deny an RMP, RDP, and/or MRSP.

      (d) The fee for an RDP, and MRSP is a Unified Permit fee as detailed in 974 CMR 1.07. The RMP fee is $50 per dwelling unit plus peer review fees. The Unified Permit fee is due upon the submission of the RDP and may be divided such that 50% is paid upon submission of the RDP and the remaining 50% paid upon submission of the MRSP.

  4. Residential Master Plan (RMP)
      (a) The RMP provides in a conceptual manner, the framework for the RD for the entire Residential I zoning district. The RMP demonstrates in a narrative and graphic form where the roads, utilities, open spaces, trails, resource areas, and housing will be located.

      (b) A RMP shall include the following:

      1. A conceptual plan at a scale of 1"=80', for the entire zoning district, depicting the existing and proposed location of roads, utilities, trails, open space, resource areas, dwelling units and topography.

      2. A delineation of the area to be developed by the Applicant, if less than the entire zoning district.

      3. A table showing the total number of dwelling units and the number of dwelling units of each size and type.

      4. A narrative outlining, in a general manner, housing tenure (whether the dwelling units will be "for-sale" [condominium or fee simple lots] or rental), low-and-moderate income unit prices and households eligible for low-and-moderate income housing.

      5. A narrative demonstrating how the RMP meets the By-Laws and the goals of this Section 5.01.

      6. A narrative describing the Applicant's approach to open space planning within the RD and proposed uses of the designated open space areas.

      7. A narrative outlining the proposed phasing and schedule for the development of the entire zoning district.

      8. A narrative demonstrating how sustainable development will be promoted. The narrative shall include a general proposal for the recycling of materials, maximization of passive solar potential, minimization of topographic changes, preservation of existing street trees and wooded areas, use of environmentally-safe materials, resource efficient appliances and materials, natural (energy-efficient) methods of heating and cooling and other methods of promoting sustainable development.

      9. A narrative or graphic describing the variety of scale, forms, unit types, and sizes for the proposed dwellings.

      (c) RMP General Requirements:

      1. At least 25% of the dwelling units within an RD shall be sold or rented to low-and moderate-income households. "Low-income" shall mean 80% or less of Median Income. "Moderate-income" shall mean 120% or less of Median Income. Median Income shall mean the median income of the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, at the time the Unified Permit is granted, adjusted for household size. At least 10% of the dwelling units within an RD shall be Low-Income. At least 15% of the dwelling units within an RD shall be Moderate-Income, with these dwelling units being sold or rented to households earning an average of 100% of Median Income. The Applicant shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the DEC, that the dwelling units shall be priced so that Low- and Moderate-income households can afford to purchase or rent them.

      2. At least 25% of the total area of the RD shall be open space and/or trails. The area required for detention and retention ponds shall not be included within this 25%,

      3. A village green measuring at least one acre shall be provided for community activities of the RD.

      (d) Review Criteria:

      1. The DEC shall approve or approve with conditions the RMP if the Applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the DEC, that the RMP:

        (a) Is consistent with the goals of this Section 5.01.

        (b) Complies with the RMP General Requirements.

        (c) The Submission is Complete.

  1. Residential Development Plan:
      (a) The RDP establishes the precise location of roads, lots, and open space within the RD.

      (b) An RDP shall meet all of the Submission and Plan Form and Contents requirements set forth in 974 CMR 2.04. In addition, the RDP shall show:

      1. Location and proposed uses of open space within the development and a narrative demonstrating compliance with the Devens Open Space and Recreation Plan (DOSRP).

      2. Location of trails and how proposed trails conform with the "Devens Main Post Trails," plan prepared by Stillman Restoration/Design, July 21, 2001, and any amendments adopted thereto by the DEC.

      3. A table showing the required dimensional controls to be utilized in the development, including setbacks, building heights, lot coverage by buildings, total impervious cover on a lot, and parking required.

      4. The anticipated mix of housing types and income groups to be served within the development.

      5. Additional details of methods to be used to implement sustainable development within the RD.

      6. A plan showing phases of construction and schedule, including a statement that the affordable units and open space amenities shall be built in concert with market-rate units.

      7. All easements, existing and proposed.

      8. Plans for construction mitigation, erosion and sedimentation control, and if any earth removal, a plan for earth removal.

      9. Methods (including traffic calming) to be used to foster the creation of a pedestrian- and bike-friendly community, to control truck and nonresident traffic through the RD, and vehicle operating speeds.

      10. Design of landscape treatments within the road right-of-ways and open space, signs, and outdoor lighting.

      11. Lot lines, the area of each lot in square feet, and dimensions of all proposed lots.

      12. Information concerning pedestrian and vehicular traffic and circulation.

      (c) RDP General Requirements: The requirements of 974 CMR 2.00 shall apply with the following additions:

      1. Additional Setback Requirement - A vegetated screen meeting the requirements of 974 CMR 3.04 (8) (g) shall be planted within a 25 foot deep buffer that runs adjacent to the 69 KV power line easement on the lot.

      2. Lot Sizes -
          a. The Minimum Lot Area shall not include land
            (i) within a utility easement (except within required setbacks),

            (ii) land that is a resource area (as defined in 974 CMR 4.06), and

            (iii) land used for retention or detention basins.

          b. The Minimum Lot Area:

            (i) For a single-family dwelling or a two (2) family attached dwelling shall be 15,000 square feet.

            (ii) For a multifamily dwelling shall be 15,000 square feet plus 2,500 square feet for each dwelling unit beyond the first two up to the maximum eight (8) dwelling units per structure.

      3. Open space: There shall be different types of open space including active and passive recreation areas, conservation areas and buffer zones, and connections between open space areas. Open space shall be distributed throughout the RD and shall be adequate to meet the needs of residents.

      4. Streets and roadways shall be designed to:

          a. Be generally parallel and preserve existing trees to the maximum extent feasible.

          b. Comply with the street design standards and criteria of Minor Collector Streets and Lanes of 974 CMR 2.07.

          c. Streets within the RD shall have as few driveway openings as feasible. Driveways shall be shared to the maximum extent feasible.

      5. Landscape Treatment.

          a. The landscape treatment shall complement the existing landscape patterns within the R-I district. Landscaping requirements for streets shall comply with the 974 CMR 2.07(4).

          b. Specimen trees (those exceeding 12" caliper) shall be preserved to the maximum extent feasible with lot lines and street layouts adjusted to preserve significant trees

          c. Topographic alterations shall be minimized [see 974 CMR 3.04(5)] to the maximum extent feasible.

          d. Wooded areas that are contiguous and over one acre in size shall be preserved to the maximum extent feasible.

      6. Sidewalks - Sidewalks shall comply with 974 CMR 2.00. Sidewalks shall be constructed of concrete. Sidewalks may meander within the road right-of-way or within easements adjacent to the road rights-of-way if necessary to preserve specimen trees or minimize topographic disturbance.

      7. Utilities - Utility lines, services, and connections shall be underground. Existing above-ground utilities may remain in specific locations with the approval of the DEC.

      8. Trails -The main trail for the area has been shown in the "Devens Main Post Trails," prepared by Stillman Restoration/Design, July 21, 2001. Additional trails connecting open space and recreational areas within the RD shall be provided to ensure a continuous pedestrian and bicycle network. Appropriate easements shall be created and the trails shall be constructed. Trail width shall be at least five feet but the DEC may require a larger width based on proposed use. Specifications for trails are in 974 CMR 3.00 and shown as Figure 974 CMR 3.06 (12) Figure L.

      9. Sustainable development elements incorporated in the RDP shall be listed.

      10. Vehicular and pedestrian circulation and traffic calming measures shall be shown,

      11. Maximum Lot Coverage:

          a. Buildings and Structures: Buildings and structures (including decks) shall not exceed 10% of the Usable Lot Area. Usable Lot Area is that portion of the lot that has a gradient of less than 15%.

          b. Impervious Surfaces: Impervious surfaces (including but not limited to buildings, structures, roads, driveways, and sidewalks) shall not exceed 25% of the Usable Lot Area.

        (d) The DEC shall approve (or approve with conditions) the RDP if the Applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the DEC, that the RDP :

        1. Is consistent with the approved RMP.

        2. Complies with 974 CMR 2.04 (6).

        3. Submission is Complete.

        4. Consistent with the goals of this Section 5.01.

        5. Complies with the RDP General Requirements.

  2. Master Residential Site Plan:

      (a) The purpose of MRSP review is to review prototypical site plans demonstrating locations of dwellings and landscaping on the lots and locations of driveways.

      (b) The MRSP shall show the following:

      1. Footprints of all buildings, with a maximum of two alternative locations for the principal structure on each lot.

      2. Existing street trees and new trees to be planted on the lot.

      3. Driveways and alleys

      4. Parking

      5. Requested waivers
        For each dwelling type, the following shall be submitted:

      6. Building elevations

      7. Materials and colors to be used on building facades

      8. An individual, sample site plan showing landscaping, parking, and drives (if any) for each model (i.e. having unique footprint) of single family dwellings, two family attached dwelling, and multifamily buildings.

      9. Proposed design guidelines to be applied to the Residential Development to ensure compatibility with adjacent land uses and sensitivity to visual impacts.

      10. Proposed measures to ensure sustainable development and energy efficiency

      (c) MRSP General Requirements:

      1. Additional Setback Requirements

          (a) No portion of a dwelling unit may be located closer than 100 (one hundred) feet from the 69 kV power line easement. No buildings or structures may be located within the 25 foot deep vegetated buffer along the power line easement.

          (b) Corner lots shall comply with the front yard setback requirements for each side of the lot that is parallel to a street.

          (c) Building Orientation: The front fašade of a dwelling shall face the public way. Dwellings on corner lots shall face the street on the longer side of the block.

          (d) Buildings shall be set back 15' from the edge of slopes which exceed 15% and measure in excess of 5000 sq.ft.

      2. Housing types and design criteria.

          (a) Single-family, two family attached and Multifamily dwellings are allowed uses. A minimum of 15% of the total dwelling units in a RD shall be units in Multifamily dwellings.

          (b) The color, size, height, location, proportion of openings, roof treatments, building materials, massing, landscaping, and lighting shall be compatible with those of the "Elm/Walnut" area.

          (c) Two family attached dwellings shall appear from the street to be single-family dwellings.

          (d) Multifamily dwellings may be attached townhouses or arranged and massed in such a way to appear to be a single-family dwelling with an attached carriage shed and ells.

      3. Parking and Driveways.

          (a) Driveways shall be shared to the maximum extent feasible. Driveways shall be no wider than 12 feet measured at the street right of way.

          (b) Driveways shall be located so as to provide adequate sight distance for vehicles exiting onto the street.

      4. Landscape treatment

          a. At least one tree exceeding 3-inch caliper shall be provided per each 3000 sq.ft. of lot area, at least one tree exceeding 3-inch caliper to be located in the front yard of each lot.

          b. Existing trees shall be preserved to the maximum extent feasible to meet this requirement; new trees shall be native species and selected to best fit site considerations and increase ecological diversity within the area. A preserved specimen tree shall fulfill the requirement for two 3-inch caliper trees.

      (d)The DEC shall approve (or approve with conditions) the MRSP if the Applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the DEC, that the MRSP:

      1. Meets the requirements of 974 CMR 3.03(2)

      2. Consistent with the goals of this section 5.01

      3. Submission is complete

      4. Complies with the approved RMP and RDP

      5. Complies with the MRSP General Requirements

      (e) Upon approval of an RD and prior to issuance of a building permit, an Applicant shall obtain Level One Development Plan approval pursuant to 974 CMR 1.03(4) and Level One Lotting Plan approval pursuant to 974 CMR 1.03(3); except that the Applicant need not submit traffic counts and sight distance data. The Director shall approve a Level One Development Plan for an RD if the Level One Development Plan is consistent with the approved MRSP.

      (f) Affordable Unit Design and Location
      The exterior of the affordable units shall be indistinguishable from the exterior of the market-rate units. Affordable units shall be dispersed throughout the Residential Development.

      (g) Prior to issuance of a building permit, the Applicant shall submit to the DEC a proposed deed rider and regulatory agreement (and condominium documents if the project is a condominium) for review and approval by legal counsel to the DEC.

      (h) Affordable units shall be affordable in perpetuity or the maximum period allowed by law.

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