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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 81Q: Planning board; adoption of rules and regulations

Section 81Q. After a public hearing, notice of the time and place of which, and of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than fourteen days before the day of the hearing or if there is no such newspaper in such city or town then by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in the city or town hall for a period of not less than fourteen days before the day of such hearing, a planning board shall adopt, and, in the same manner, may, from time to time, amend, reasonable rules and regulations relative to subdivision control not inconsistent with the subdivision control law or with any other provisions of a statute or of any valid ordinance or by-law of the city or town. Such rules and regulations may prescribe the size, form, contents, style and number of copies of plans and the procedure for the submission and approval thereof, and shall be such as to enable the person submitting the plan to comply with the requirements of the register of deeds for the recording of the same, and to assure the board of a copy for its files; and shall set forth the requirements of the board with respect to the location, construction, width and grades of the proposed ways shown on a plan and the installation of municipal services therein, which requirements shall be established in such manner as to carry out the purposes of the subdivision control law as set forth in section eighty-one M. Such rules and regulations shall not require referral of a subdivision plan to any other board or person prior to its submission to the planning board. In establishing such requirements regarding ways, due regard shall be paid to the prospective character of different subdivisions, whether open residence, dense residence, business or industrial, and the prospective amount of travel upon the various ways therein, and to adjustment of the requirements accordingly; provided, however, that in no case shall a city or town establish rules or regulations regarding the laying out, construction, alteration, or maintenance of ways within a particular subdivision which exceed the standards and criteria commonly applied by that city or town to the laying out, construction, alteration, or maintenance of its publicly financed ways located in similarly zoned districts within such city or town. Such rules and regulations may set forth a requirement that a turnaround be provided at the end of the approved portion of a way which does not connect with another way. Any easement in any turnaround shown on a plan approved under the subdivision control law which arises after January first, nineteen hundred and sixty, other than an easement appurtenant to a lot abutting the turnaround, shall terminate upon the approval and recording of a plan showing extension of said way, except in such portion of said turnaround as is included in said extension, and the recording of a certificate by the planning board of the construction of such extension. Such rules and regulations may set forth a requirement that underground distribution systems be provided for any and all utility services, including electrical and telephone services, as may be specified in such rules and regulations, and may set forth a requirement that poles and any associated overhead structures, of a design approved by the planning board, be provided for use for police and fire alarm boxes and any similar municipal equipment and for use for street lighting. The rules and regulations may encourage the use of solar energy systems and protect to the extent feasible the access to direct sunlight of solar energy systems. Such rules and regulations may include standards for the orientation of new streets, lots and buildings; building set back requirements from property lines; limitations on the type, height and placement, of vegetation; and restrictive covenants protecting solar access not inconsistent with existing local ordinances or by-laws. Except in so far as it may require compliance with the requirements of existing zoning ordinances or by-laws, no rule or regulation shall relate to the size, shape, width, frontage or use of lots within a subdivision, or to the buildings which may be constructed thereon, or shall be inconsistent with the regulations and requirements of any other municipal board acting within its jurisdiction. No rule or regulation shall require, and no planning board shall impose, as a condition for the approval of a plan of a subdivision, that any of the land within said subdivision be dedicated to the public use, or conveyed or released to the commonwealth or to the county, city or town in which the subdivision is located, for use as a public way, public park or playground, or for any other public purpose, without just compensation to the owner thereof. The rules and regulations may, however, provide that not more than one building designed or available for use for dwelling purposes shall be erected or placed or converted to use as such on any lot in a subdivision, or elsewhere in the city or town, without the consent of the planning board, and that such consent may be conditional upon the providing of adequate ways furnishing access to each site for such building, in the same manner as otherwise required for lots within a subdivision. A true copy of the rules and regulations, with their most recent amendments, shall be kept on file available for inspection in the office of the planning board of the city or town by which they were adopted, and in the office of the clerk of such city or town. A copy certified by such clerk of any such rules and regulations, or any amendment thereof, adopted after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and fifty-four shall be transmitted forthwith by such planning board to the register of deeds and recorder of the land court. Once a definitive plan has been submitted to a planning board, and written notice has been given to the city or town clerk pursuant to section eighty-one T and until final action has been taken thereon by the planning board or the time for such action prescribed by section eighty-one U has elapsed, the rules and regulations governing such plan shall be those in effect relative to subdivision control at the time of the submission of such plan. When a preliminary plan referred to in section eighty-one S has been submitted to a planning board, and written notice of the submission of such plan has been given to the city or town clerk, such preliminary plan and the definitive plan evolved therefrom shall be governed by the rules and regulations relative to subdivision control in effect at the time of the submission of the preliminary plan, provided that the definitive plan is duly submitted within seven months from the date on which the preliminary plan was submitted.