Zoning controls the use of land and the location of buildings on a parcel of land. It is a mechanism that allows the town to separate incompatible uses, such as residential and industrial uses, by creating districts where each of these separate uses may take place. Zoning also is used to control the density of development. The purpose for Zoning is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the present as well as the future residents of the town and conserve the value of the property within the town.
What can I do with my property?
By reviewing the Zoning Ordinance and the specific district that your property is located in, you may determine what may occur as a principal,
accessory, conditional, or special permitted use. The Bulk requirements of each district are also outlined in the Zoning Ordinance for each district
and include minimum lot area, street frontage, lot width, building setback (front, side, and rear), maximum building height, floor area ratio (FAR)
and/or percent of lot coverage requirements. The Building Commissioner is the zoning enforcement agent for the town and may be consulted prior to
starting a project or applying for a building permit.
Can I add to, modify, or alter my dwelling/business?
Certain alterations are allowed as of right, others require Special Permits and/or Variances granted by the Special Permit Granting Authority. The
questions concerning alterations are best answered by the Building Commissioner.
What is a Special Permit Granting Authority?
The Special Permit Granting Authority in the town of Barnstable is the Zoning Board of Appeals. It is composed of five members appointed by the Town
Council. They are seated to hear and decide appeals brought forward by people aggrieved by their inability to obtain a permit from any administrative
official under the provisions of Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 40A. The Zoning Board will hear applications for Special Permits, Variances,
Use Variances and other powers granted them under MGL Chapter 41 Section 81Y,Z, AA, and BB.
What is a Special Permit?
Special Permits may be issued only for uses which are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance and shall be subject to
general or specific provisions set forth in the Zoning Ordinance; such Special Permits may also contain conditions, safeguards, and limitations on time
What is a Variance? Variances may be issued where the Zoning Board specifically finds that owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape, or topography of such land or structures and affecting such land or structures but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance would involve a substantial hardship to the petitioner. The Zoning Ordinance has a provision for a Use Variance provided no Use Variances shall be permitted within three-hundred (300) feet of major arteries (Rte. 28, 132, 149 and West Main Street).