This overview should give you a basic understanding of zoning and its role in shaping local land use decisions.
Brief History of Zoning
New York City adopted the first zoning code in 1916 due to health, safety, and economic concerns.
In the 1920’s two events occurred that upheld the legal status of zoning. The Standard Zoning Act was passed and then, in 1926, the United States Supreme Court decided that zoning ordinances based on the protection and promotion of the public interest did not exceed the boundary of police power under the Constitution.
Zoning is the way a community regulates the use of land. Zoning regulations allow a community to control where the different uses occur and under what circumstances. It is a restriction of private property rights and is the predominant developmental control in the United States. The rationale for this control is for the public interest.
What is the Zoning By-Law?
Massachusetts municipalities determine their own zoning under home rule as long as it is not in conflict with the state law (Chapter 40A). Enacted in 1975, Chapter 40A, the Zoning Act, facilitates and encourages the adoption and modernization of zoning ordinances and by-laws by municipal governments. It also establishes standardized procedures for the administration of municipal zoning laws. The Zoning By-Law is the whole body of zoning regulations that have been adopted by Town Meeting.
The Zoning By-Law Review Committee (ZBRC) is a sub-committee of the Planning Board. The Mendon Selectmen appointed the committee in 2007. The Zoning By-Laws were written over 40 years ago and the ZBRC was charged with updating, rewriting, and clarifying the existing by-laws as well as considering additional zoning measures for the future.
|Patrick Doherty||Acting Chair|