Zoning Board of Appeals

Agendas & Minutes


Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
          View Agendas
          View Most Recent Agenda
          View all meeting minutes

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is a quasi-judicial appellate board which reviews Special Permit applications and Variance requests that have been denied by the Code Enforcement Officer (the Building Commissioner). The ZBA consists of 5 full members and 3 associate members who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The ZBA holds Public Hearings on:

  • Issuing Special Permits (as stated in Section 9.3 of the Zoning Bylaws);
  • Granting Variances from the zoning bylaws;
  • Administrative Appeals of the Building Inspector’s decisions; and
  • Comprehensive Permits for affordable housing under M.G.L. Ch. 40B.
  • Special Permits for Wireless Communication Facilities

The ZBA usually meets on the third Wednesday of the month at Town Hall barring holidays and such. The schedule can be found here.

The Board welcomes all comments from the public on any of the matters before the Board. To submit comments, email rcheney@westfordma.gov. Be sure to specify which matter you are submitting comments on.

To view projects that are currently on the Board's docket, or past matters, check the Current Projects page linked here.

9.2 Board of Appeals


9.2.1 Establishment


[Amended May 7, 2005 ATM Art. 14] There shall be a Board of Appeals of 5 members and 3 associate members appointed by the Board of Selectmen as provided in G.L c. 40A, s. 12, which shall act on all matters within its jurisdiction under this Zoning Bylaw in the manner prescribed in the General Laws. No member or associate member shall act on any appeal in which he or she has a personal or financial interest. In case of the absence of or inability to act by any regular member or in the event of a vacancy, an associate member shall be assigned to act in place thereof.

9.2.2 Powers


The Board of Appeals shall have and exercise all the powers granted to it
by Chapters 40A, 40B, and 41 of the General Laws and by this Bylaw. The Board's
powers are as follows:
  1. Special Permits - To hear and decide applications for special permits. Unless otherwise specified herein, the Board of Appeals shall serve as the special permit granting authority, to act in all matters in accordance with the provisions of Section 9.3, or as otherwise specified. A special permit shall lapse within a 2-year period or a shorter period if so specified, including time required to pursue or await the determination of an appeal pursuant to G.L.c. 40A, s. 17, and if substantial use thereof has not sooner commenced except for good cause, or, in the case of a permit for construction, if construction has not begun within the period except for good cause.
  2. Variances - To hear and decide appeals or petitions for variances from the terms of this Bylaw, with respect to particular land or structures, as set forth in G.L. c. 40A, s. 10, where owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape or topography of such land or structures and especially 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 Bylaw would involve substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the petitioner or appellant, and that desirable relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of this Bylaw. A use variance may be granted by the Board of Appeals to authorize a use or activity not otherwise permitted in the district in which the land or structure is located.
  3. Administrative Appeals - To hear and decide appeals taken by any person aggrieved by reason of his inability to obtain a permit or enforcement action from any administrative officer under the provisions of G.L. c. 40A, ss. 7, 8 and 15.
  4. Comprehensive Permits - To hear and decide comprehensive permits for construction of low or moderate income housing by a public agency or limited dividend or nonprofit corporation, as set forth in G.L. c. 40B, ss. 20-23.

9.2.3 Conditions


With regard to special permits and variances, the Board of Appeals may
impose conditions, safeguards and limitations, both of time and use, including the
continued existence of any particular structures; provided, however, that a variances
may not be conditioned so as to pertain exclusively to the appellant, petitioner or any
owner.

9.2.4 Regulations


The Board of Appeals may adopt rules and regulations for the
administration of its powers.

9.2.5 Fees


The Board of Appeals may adopt reasonable administrative fees and technical
review fees for petitions for variances, administrative appeals, and applications for
comprehensive permits.