Land Use & Zoning

Zoning policies critically influence a community’s character, shaping the built and natural environment by regulating land and buildings. A community can use zoning to protect natural resources or incentivize growth. CMRPC staff have experience writing and amending various types of land use regulations.

Comprehensive Zoning Rewrites

After decades of bylaw edits and additions, the best approach to zoning is sometimes a comprehensive update. CMRPC staff frequently perform “rewrites,” consisting of deep global edits and reorganization. Staff recommend and write amendments based on best practices and community context, making the documents more straightforward and relevant for contemporary use.

Housing Bylaws

Housing policy is one of the key areas that zoning can impact. CMRPC staff work on a variety of housing policies and bylaws including accessory dwelling units (ADUs), cottage housing, short-term rentals, and inclusionary zoning.

Specialty Bylaws

CMRPC assists communities with developing a wide range of specialty bylaws. From bylaws governing village centers to open space residential developments, such regulations protect resources and shape development. They can include conservation regulations, subdivision regulations, and other standards. 

Economic Development Bylaws

Zoning policy can have a critical impact on a community’s economic development. Towns can implement several types of bylaws to encourage economic development. CMRPC has assisted with countless town center, mixed-use, mill district, smart growth, and similar economic development bylaws.

Multi-Family Zoning Requirements for MBTA Communities

177 communities in Massachusetts are subject to Section 3A of the Zoning Act, which requires that communities proximate to certain public transit services allow multi-family housing development by right, with requirements differing based on community characteristics. Several towns in the CMRPC region are subject to these laws. CMRPC staff are assisting with compliance.

Subdivision Regulations

These bylaws regulate the parameters of subdivision development and include various requirements for developers to ensure that new subdivisions align with community character and community policy goals. Subdivision regulations should be reviewed and updated periodically to align with best practices, zoning, and state and federal law.

Municipalities and governmental entities are allowed to contract directly with CMRPC in accordance with MGL Chapter 30B Sections 1 (b) (3) and (b) (9). Contract with CMRPC, contact CMRPC’s Executive Director, Janet Pierce at

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