Phillips & Angley

Requesting zoning relief can be a long, involved process

As this blog often notes, zoning regulations in the city of Boston are strict. It can be hard for developers to build new properties or for landowners to make alterations to existing properties. However, individuals and businesses do have options when their plans run into zoning issues.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency reviews new development proposals, and the Zoning Commission creates and maintains the zoning codes. The Zoning Board of Appeal is in charge of hearing requests for variances, conditional use permits and other forms of relief from zoning laws.

The Zoning Board of Appeal consists of seven people, who are appointed by the mayor to three-year terms. They meet regularly about twice a month. Landowners and developers can attend these meetings, where they can request exceptions if their projects have been rejected due to zoning issues.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency also reviews applications for appeal. The agency often works with community groups and neighbors, and can help builders through the process.

Builders often must go through a long process before they can get zoning relief, and the whole ordeal requires a lot of careful paperwork and skillful argument at hearings and meetings. It can be crucial to have help from an experienced real estate attorney.

A lawyer with experience in Boston real estate can help builders, property owners and other clients with many stages of the process, from filing applications to requesting relief and appeals. A lawyer can argue on a client's behalf at hearings and advise clients on the strategies and procedures that can help.

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