Zoning Board of Appeals

City Clerk’s Digitization Project On April 20, 2022, the City Clerk’s office will be having files sent offsite in order to have documents scanned. This project is in efforts to digitize files to continue our ongoing modernization of the office and to ultimately have records readily available and accessible for review. The files we will be sending offsite include City Council Records from 2000 to 2019 and Board of Appeals Records 2005 to 2019. Please be aware that wait times for such documents will be impacted. We thank you for your understanding and patience during this process. If you have any questions, please contact the City Clerk’s office at 781-897-5850 or [email protected].

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Mission

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hears the appeals of decisions by the Building Commissioner, decides special permit requests for residential structures and variances for residential and commercial properties, and adjudicates Chapter 40B petitions.

Meetings

The Zoning Board of Appeals generally meets on the third Wednesday of the month, though the meeting schedule is subject to change. Applications are due to the City Clerk’s office by noon at least 21 days before the meeting.

Special Permits 

Application for a special permit can be found here:

Special Permit application 2022

A complete application for a special permit includes the following:

  • Application page, signed and dated by the appellant or authorized representative
  • Affidavit of conformity, signed and dated by the appellant or authorized representative
  • Plot plan (on paper that is at least 11 inches by 17 inches), stamped, signed and dated by a registered engineer or land surveyor
  • Building plans (on paper that is at least 11 inches by 17 inches, dated)
  • Engineer’s Certificate (stamped and signed by a registered engineer or land surveyor)
  • Area map (obtained from the City Engineer’s office)
  • Certified abutters list (obtained from the City Assessors office) Abutters List – City of Woburn (woburnma.gov)
  • Filing fee of $100, payable by money order or check made out to the City of Woburn, or cash
  • Billing authorization for advertisement in the Woburn Daily Times Chronicle. The newspaper will bill the applicant directly for all advertising fees.
  • Certificate of Treasurer/Collector

Please submit one original version and six copies to the City Clerk’s office. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Variances

Application for a variance can be found here:

Variance application 2022

A complete application for a variance includes:

  • Application page, signed and dated by the appellant or an authorized representative
  • Plot plan (on paper that is at least 11 inches by 17 inches), stamped, signed and dated by a registered engineer or land surveyor
  • Engineer’s Certificate (stamped and signed by a registered engineer or land surveyor)
  • Area map (obtained from the City Engineer’s office)
  • Certified abutters list (obtained from the City Assessors office) Abutters List – City of Woburn (woburnma.gov)
  • Filing fee of $100 for a residential application and $250 for a commercial application, payable by money order or check made out to the City of Woburn, or cash
  • Billing authorization for advertisement in the Woburn Daily Times Chronicle. The newspaper will bill the applicant directly for all advertising fees.
  • Certificate of Treasurer/Collector

Please submit one original version and six copies to the City Clerk’s office. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

To grant a variance, the board must render a finding that there is a hardship pursuant to state law Chapter 40A Section 10 “owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape or topography” of the subject property.

Hearings

Appellants or their designated representatives must appear at the ZBA meeting to answer questions members of the board may ask. Appellants are welcome to provide the board with any literature in support of their petition, including but not limited to photographs, building plans for variance applications, and letters or petitions from neighbors. These supporting documents should be filed with the application.

Four affirmative votes from the 5-member board are required for passage of a variance or special permit.

Once the board adjudicates a petition for variance or special permit and the decision is received by the City Clerk’s office, there is a statutory 20-day appeal period. If there is no appeal, the decision must then be registered with the Registry of Deeds in Cambridge. See the recording notice below:

Variance-Special Permit recording notice – Revised 2021

Once the decision is recorded, it can be brought to the city’s Inspectional Services Dept. for a building permit. The timeline from filing an application with the ZBA to receipt of a building permit is typically 2-3 months, though a hearing may be continued if the board determines more information or documentation is required.

Variances must be exercised within one year from the date of approval, though the appellant may apply to the board for one 6-month extension, prior to the expiration of the variance.

Special permits must be exercised within two years from the date of approval.

Board Members

Margaret M. Pinkham, Chair

Edward S. Robertson, Member

Daniel Parrish, Member

John J. Ryan, III, Member

Richard Clancy, Member

Mark Cavicchi, Alternate Member

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