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Abutters Guide to ZBA Review Process

You have received a legal notice because you are an abutter, as defined by State Law, to a proposed project that will be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals.  This notice is required to inform an abutter that a public hearing will be held on a project.


Interested parties can obtain additional information about a proposed project in the following manners:

  • Contact the Zoning Board of Appeals at 978-777-0001 Ext. 3061
  • Review the application and supporting materials at the Inspectional Services Department.
  • Attend the public hearing.

Public hearings serve as a forum for the Zoning Board of Appeals and public to review and comment on the proposed project.  The scope of the Zoning Board of Appeal’s review is restrict to the applicable sections of the zoning bylaw as referenced in the legal notice.


a.  The Chair will read the public notice and open the hearing.

b.  The Chair will request a presentation of the proposed project from the applicant.

c.  Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals will ask questions of the applicant.

d.  The Chair will solicit public comments.

e.  At the Chair’s discretion, the applicant will be requested to answer public comments.

f.  Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals will ask final questions.

g.  The Chair will solicit final comments from the public.

h.  Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals will comment on the proposed project.

i.  The Chair will close the public hearing.

j.  The Zoning Board of Appeals will issue a decision.

The complexity and size of the proposed project determines how long the public hearing will be, typically ranging from one night to several nights.  When a proposed project requires more than one night, the public hearing will be continued to a specified date.  However, as an abutter, it is important to note that you will NOT be notified by mail of any continued hearing.  Interested parties may either contact the Zoning Board of Appeals office or view upcoming Zoning Board of Appeals agendas on the Town’s website.


During the public hearing, the Chair will ask if anyone from the public wishes to speak on the proposed project.  Prior to speaking, you are requested to stand and state your name and address for the record.  The following suggestions are provided to assist you in presenting testimony at a public hearing:

  • Confine testimony to applicable sections within the Board’s review
  • Be clear and concise
  • Facts are much stronger than opinion
  • All questions should be directed to the Chair, not the applicant
  • It is appropriate to say that you are in agreement with the previous testimony
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