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- Guide to Open Space Residential Development & Subdivision Permit Approval
- Summary of Permitting Process
Summary of Permitting Process
Step 1: Interdepartmental Review
An Interdepartmental Review (IDR) is a meeting with town staff from major departments wherein a concept plan is presented for a proposed development for feedback. These departments include but are not limited to:
- Town Manager
- Planning and Engineering
The applicant will have the opportunity to present their plan to town staff before or during the public hearing process. This allows the applicant to make adjustments in accordance with by-laws or practical application. The meeting may be held in person or on a virtual meeting platform.
Step 2: Concept to Planning Board
Similar to the IDR meeting, the Concept Plan Review is conducted with the Planning Board wherein a plan is presented for a proposed development for initial feedback prior to filing a formal application. This allows the applicant to make adjustments in accordance with Planning Board comments as they relate to the Master Plan, and current needs in Tewksbury. A pre-application concept plan review takes place during a regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting.
Step 3: File Street Name Request with Board of Selectmen
Submit an application to the Board of Selectmen with the street name for the proposed development. This allows the Board to review the proposed name with public safety officials and, if necessary, the Postmaster. This should be submitted concurrently with any Planning Board applications to avoid delays. Final action will take place during a regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen meeting.
Step 4: Formal Planning Board Application(s)
In order to move forward with an Open Space Residential Design Subdivision, an applicant must submit the following:
- Open Space Residential Design Special Permit Application
- Definitive Subdivision Application (Form C)
- Land Disturbance Permit
All of these applications require submission to the Planning Board and subsequent public hearings. These applications may be submitted concurrently, or separately. For more information on application requirements, reach out to the Town Planner or Administrative Assistant.
Step 5: File Application with Conservation Commission
This filing is only required if the proposed development abuts or contains wetlands. If the applicant must file with the Conservation Commission, it will likely be mentioned during the IDR meeting. The type of filing will depend on the degree of wetland disturbance. Conservation Commission filings also require public hearings. For more information on application requirements, reach out to the Conservation Planner/Agent.
Step 6: Submit Homeowners' Association Draft to Town Counsel
This is only required if the proposed development will have a Homeowners' Association (HOA) and/or if the Open Space element will be maintained by an entity other than the Town. This should be submitted concurrently with any Planning Board applications to avoid delays.
Draft HOA is available at Appendix C-3 of the Tewksbury Planning Board Subdivision Rules and Regulations.
Step 7: Public Hearings
As part of the approval process, the Planning Board and Conservation Commission are required to hold public hearings for each of the concerned applications. Abutters must be notified of the hearing, and notice must be published in a widely circulated newspaper. The public hearings include presentation to the applicable board and allow for public comment. Approval can only be granted after the closing of the public hearing, and requires a super majority vote for Planning Board applications. A simple majority is required for Conservation Commission approvals.
Step 8: Interdepartmental Review
Review the information provided with Step 1, which may occur again as Step 8.
Step 9: Findings for Waivers & Conditions for Approval
During the hearing process, a Board may find that either waivers or special conditions for approval are in the best interest of the public good. Waivers are not meant to aid the applicant in their pursuits, but to provide relief where the existing requirements would prove more injurious to the neighborhood than the relief itself. Further, special conditions may be implemented to balance the applicant's interests with the best interest of the public good. Waiver requests must be submitted in writing to the Planning Board for consideration. All waivers and special conditions must be negotiated during the public hearing process.
Step 10: Subdivision Notice for Approval
After the conclusion of the public hearing process, the Usual Form for Action Taken by Board on a Definitive Subdivision Plan (Form D) is drafted and filed with the Town Clerk. This will include any waivers or special conditions implemented by the Planning Board. A subdivision Mylar must be submitted in addition to the plan set to file with the Form D.
Step 11: Open Space Residential Development Special Permit Decision
After the conclusion of the public hearing process, the Open Space Residential Development (OSRD) Special Permit decision is drafted, reviewed, accepted and subsequently filed with the Town Clerk. This will include any waivers or special conditions implemented by the Planning Board.
Step 12: 20-Day Appeal Period
Once Planning Board decisions or permits are filed with the Town Clerk, they must go through a 20-day appeal period wherein the applicant or parties in interest may appeal the decision. These appeals must be filed with Massachusetts Land Court or another Superior Court.
Notice of an appeal must be filed with the Town Clerk, and effectively stops the appeal period while appeal is heard. Permits issued by other statutory Boards may have different appeal processes.