Massachusetts Agencies

Zoning Compliance: Use of Property in Adjoining Municipality


Generally, as to questions of compliance with zoning requirements of property that straddles the line between two municipalities, the portion of the property lying in one municipality may be used to satisfy those requirements with respect to the zoning bylaws of the other municipality. Boulter Brothers Construction Company, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Norfolk, 45 Mass.App.Ct. 283, —N.E.2d— (1998). In this case the court said—

We observe, first, that it has been clear since at least 1988 that the use of land in another zoning district, albeit in another municipality, solely to meet dimensional requirements is considered a permissible abstract or passive use where, as here, it appears both zoning districts permit the proposed active use, i.e., single family residential. Tofias v. Butler, 26 Mass.App.Ct. 89 (1988); Moore v. Swampscott, 26 Mass.App.Ct. 1008 (1988). Lot size requirements are no less dimensional requirements than are frontage requirements, as in Tofias, supra. This does not in any way interfere with the municipalities right to carry out its zoning policies with respect to actual, active uses made of land within its borders. Compare Brookline v. Co-Ray Realty Co., 326 Mass. 206 (1950) (Brookline portion of split lot to be used for active purpose of service entrance for apartment building on Boston portion of lot violative of Brookline by-laws proscribing such use may not be included in dimensional computation); Beale v. Planning Board of Rockland, 423 Mass. 690, 694 (1996); Dupont v. Dracut, 41 Mass.App.Ct.. 293, 295-296 (1996) See Bobrowski, Massachusetts Land Use and Planning Law, §12.7.4 (1993 & Supp. 1997).