Model Bylaws Around the Commonwealth
Below please find links to several entities in Massachusetts who have compiled model bylaws on everything from inclusionary housing to floodplain management. Please note: communities should always consult with their town counsel or town attorney prior to drafting and/or adopting any bylaws or ordinances.
40R, Smart Growth Bylaw
The Smart Growth Zoning Overlay District Act, Chapter 149 of the Acts of 2004, codified as M.G.L. chapter 40R (the Act), encourages communities to create dense residential or mixed-use, smart growth zoning districts. The districts should be located near transit stations, in areas of concentrated development such as existing city and town centers, or other accessible locations. Projects containing more than 12 units are required to provide a minimum of 20% affordable housing.
Below please find sample applications and bylaws submitted and approved throughout the Commonwealth.
Transit Oriented Development
Transit-oriented development, or TOD, is an approach to development that focuses land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor. Typically, it is characterized by a mix of uses, pedestrian orientation/connectivity, transportation choices, reduced parking and high quality design. TOD occurs within one-quarter mile, or a five- to seven-minute walk, of a transit station.
Below please find samples of Andover’s Historic Mill District TOD Development Bylaw and a slideshow for Town Meeting. We have also included the Transit-Oriented Model Bylaw from the Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit to get you started.
Mill Revitalization Districts
Mills were the economic engines of the Commonwealth for more than a century; however many of them are now vacant or underutilized. Several communities in the Merrimack Valley (Amesbury, Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence, North Andover) and throughout the Commonwealth are faced with how to revitalize these mills as they are such an important part of our history and culture. In order to rejuvenate and reuse these gentle giants, the Commonwealth has developed guidelines for communities to create a Mill Revitalization District.
The creation of a Mill Revitalization District (MRD) is a tool to preserve and reuse these mills. An MRD usually encompasses a historic mill (in larger cities, multiple mill buildings) and the surrounding neighborhoods. These surrounding areas are typically the canal and its banks, the worker housing, and utilitarian service buildings.
Below you will find links to case studies and slideshows that help you get started on developing a Mill Revitalization District.
Registered Marijuana Medical Dispensary Bylaws
The Massachusetts medical marijuana law was adopted in 2012. As a result of this, communities have drafted bylaws and ordinances that allow for the placement of marijuana medical dispensaries in their communities. Below are samples of some for you to review.
Low Impact Development
Low Impact Development (LID) is a more sustainable land development approach that begins with a site planning process that identifies critical natural resource areas for preservation. Then, once the building envelope is established, appropriate LID techniques are implemented, such as: maintaining natural drainage flow paths, minimizing land clearance, clustering buildings, and reducing impervious surfaces are incorporated into the project design. A series of small stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that preserve the natural features and hydrology of the land are used instead of the conventional methods of collecting, conveying, and piping away runoff.
Below please find some sample LID bylaws and PowerPoint presentations from the MA Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit.
Transfer of Development Rights
Transfer of development rights bylaws make it possible to restrict or even prohibit development entirely in one area (called the Preservation or Sending District) where there is a sensitive resource, such as a wellhead protection area, and transfer those development rights to another area (called the Receiving District) where there are little or no impediments to higher density, such as a downtown area with public water and sewer infrastructure. The density is transferred from a “sending” parcel to a “receiving” parcel. Below are sample bylaws or explanations of Transfer of Development Rights.