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There are generally two methods by which land can be divided. One method is known as an Approval Not Required (ANR) plan. This applies to plans that simply adjust lot lines between abutting properties for sale or exchange, or creating new building lots on an existing street if the lots have sufficient area and frontage and have adequate access. This is a simple process that does not require a public hearing and must be completed within 21 days of submittal. The other method is the process required under the subdivision control law. It is a formal procedure requiring public hearings and abutter notifications. This process is required if the project includes the construction of new streets as well as new building lots. It requires a careful analysis of construction standards, traffic patterns, drainage, etc. Any action that requires changing lot lines, under either process, requires a plan that must be prepared by a professional surveyor and/or engineer and signed by the Planning Board. Of course, the subdivision process requires much more detailed information on many plan sheets while the ANR process generally requires only a single sheet.
There are three residential zoning districts in Sherborn requiring one, two, or three acres of land for a building lot. There are also 2 business districts. In addition, there are two "overlay" districts (which overlap the primary districts) for flood plains and elderly and affordable housing.
Sherborn Zoning Map (PDF)
The Scenic Road Act is a state statute designed to protect trees and stone walls within the road right-of-way for streets that have been designated as "Scenic Roads." The Act may be adopted by towns. Sherborn has adopted the Act along with its own set of rules and regulations. In essence, it requires that prior to removing a tree or removing or altering a stone wall, you must have a public hearing before the Planning Board. These events generally occur when a property owner wishes to move or establish a new driveway, often when building a new house or addition to an existing house.
List of Scenic Roads (PDF)
You must first get approval from the Planning Board for a break in a stone wall or removal of any trees and also get a curb cut permit from Community Maintenance and Development. It should be noted that Sherborn limits curb cuts to one per lot.
The types and numbers of permits needed can vary widely based on the size and type of project. It should be noted that any project might involve permits from the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Board of Health, Zoning Board of Appeals, Building Department, and possibly others. A good place to start is the Permitting Procedures Manual (PDF) which provides a summary of the responsibilities of each Town board, commission and department that may be involved. It also includes a chart that indicates the types of permits needed for various projects.