Educational/ Religious Uses and Town Zoning
April 22, 2016
In an effort to inform oneself regarding current or even proposed educational or religious uses and the zoning controls in your community please see the important documents that follow.
Massachusetts General Laws 40A §3 Exemptions from Zoning Regulations.
No zoning ordinance or by-law shall regulate or restrict the interior area of a single family residential building nor shall any such ordinance or by-law prohibit, regulate or restrict the use of land or structures for religious purposes or for educational purposes on land owned or leased by the commonwealth or any of its agencies, subdivisions or bodies politic or by a religious sect or denomination, or by a nonprofit educational corporation; provided, however, that such land or structures may be subject to reasonable regulations concerning the bulk and height of structures and determining yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, open space, parking and building coverage requirements.
§198-606.3 of Town zoning
When reviewing and acting on a site plan application for the principal use of land or a building or structure for day care, educational, nursery school or religious uses that are exempt from regulation under MGL c. 40A, § 3, the Building Commissioner shall apply reasonable regulations concerning the bulk and height of structures and determining yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, open space, parking and building coverage requirements as set forth in this Zoning Bylaw, except to the extent that the applicant shows that the regulation is unreasonable and unrelated to a legitimate municipal concern and will substantially detract or diminish the applicant’s ability to conduct the exempt use.
Please note that a development or a proposed change of use of a parcel that is controlled by the referenced statute and Town zoning would include receiving input from the community and abutters in an appropriate process controlled by the same. This process of review and the determination to issue or deny the required permit by the authority having jurisdiction will also ultimately provide an appeals’ process to those parties potentially “aggrieved” by this determination based upon MGL and Town zoning.
Geoffrey S. Larsen, CFM
Town of Wayland, MA