Preparing a Successful Planning Board Application
Thank you for your interest in bringing your project to Maynard! We want your experience to go as smoothly as possible. To help this along, we have prepared a list that should be helpful in preparing a successful application and plan. We strongly recommend you take the time to review all the information in this document. We realize the investment you have made to make your project a reality: by following these steps, you’re setting yourself up for success, efficiency and hopefully a lot less stress!
A PDF version of this document is available here.
1. SUBMITTING PLANS FOR PLANNING BOARD APPROVAL
Before submitting a Site Plan and in some cases, a Special Permit request, you are required to attend a pre- application meeting. This can be booked through the Office of Municipal Services (OMS). OMS typically have an outside consultant at the meeting for engineering and at times, design issues. Applicants are responsible for covering the consultant’s cost for the meeting (typically one hour). If there is any doubt about the development potential of a proposed site, such as the presence of wetlands, traffic issues or other conditions that may complicate site development, we recommend your engineer attend this meeting.
- For Site Plan and/or Special Permit approval from the Planning Board (PB) a project must:
- Demonstrate compliance with the Zoning By-laws (ZBL) including Downtown Overlay District Zoning Regulations and Design Review, if applicable.
- Demonstrate compliance with PB rules and regulations (including Landscape Regulations).
- Indicate Conservation Commission approval, if applicable.
- Comply with other conditions of approval that may be imposed by the PB.
The PB will not move forward without a complete application, corresponding plans, and required materials for both the Site Plan and any Special Permits.
- All materials must closely follow the requirements/procedures listed in the documents below. To properly get started with preparing an application package, you should be familiar with the following documents and know exactly what will be required for the review/approval process:
- ZONING BY-LAWS
- Section 10 details general procedures for Site Plan, Special Permit and Design Review.
- Section 9.0 details specific district requirements if your project falls within district boundaries.
- Additional regulations of the ZBL will apply. It is essential to thoroughly understand the requirements, such as site dimensional standards, parking standards, signage, or other things that may require reviewing in your submittal.
- PLANNING BOARD REGULATIONS
- Provides detailed procedures for Site Plan, Special Permit and Design Review. Gives you a step by step for preparing a Site Plan and what requirements must be included.
- This document literally can be used as a checklist for Site Plan preparation.
- PLANNING BOARD LANDSCAPE REGULATIONS
- Outlines the PB’s required landscape design drawing requirements to accompany all applications for Site Plan and Special Permit Design Review.
- ZONING BY-LAWS
2. HELPFUL TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT REVIEW
- Professional Presentation: Having your designer, engineer and landscape architect available to discuss their aspect of the project and how their design complies with the requirements of both the ZBL and the PB Regulations is crucial and may be required by the PB. In the end, this always helps move things along more efficiently. It is strongly recommended to have your Engineer consult with the Town Engineer prior to application submittal, and ensure they are present at PB hearings until the PB is comfortable that the Engineering Review is completed. Applicants are responsible for the Town’s costs of professional reviews for all plans submitted.
- Design Standards: If you are subject to Design Standards (Section 10.6 of the Zoning By-laws and the “Design Review” Section and the PB Regulations) it is strongly recommended to have your architect consult with the Town Design Reviewer prior to application submittal and ensure they are present at PB hearings until the PB is comfortable that Design Standards have been met. The most effective strategy to demonstrate consistency with Design Standards Criteria is to respond in writing to each criterion how the project meets them or if not, why not.
- Conservation Restrictions: In most cases where there is potential water or wetland impact, the application process should begin with Conservation Commission (CC). It may be more cost effective to meet with the CC prior to the Planning Board to specifically understand what limitations may be imposed on the project based on, among other things, the:
- Wetlands Protection Act – 100’ Buffer Zone jurisdiction
- Riverfront Protection Act – 200’ Buffer Zone jurisdiction
- Maynard’s Wetlands Protection By-Law -50’ No Disturb Zone
- Do your homework: Approvals from other agencies or from within Town may apply. Identifying any requirements for the project (other than the Planning Board’s approval) at the onset will keep things moving.
- Affordable Housing Requirements: If you are subject to affordable housing requirements (Inclusionary Zoning, density bonus, or other requirements), prior to filing your application, working with the Town Housing Consultant and the Maynard Affordable Housing Trust on the affordable housing portion of the Development Agreement may speed up the process.
3. QUANTITY OF MATERIALS REQUIRED FOR PLANNING BOARD SUBMITTALS
- The following material mustbe included with each application filing and resubmittals:
- All materials in an electronic format.
- 4 copies of all plans 24 X 36.
- 4 copies of application materials, studies and documentation as required by project (note: for resubmittals, this is only required if material has been revised).
Additional printed copies of materials may be required depending on project scope.
4. MINIMIZING COSTS DURING THE REVIEW PROCESS
- Peer Review Charges: Maynard utilizes outside consultants to conduct engineering and other professional level reviews as warranted. Applicants are responsible for the Town’s costs of professional reviews for all plans submitted (“peer review”) and an initial deposit for the reviewer is required before any review is conducted on your material. This is one area where costs can quickly -and often unnecessarily- add up. Here are some ways you can keep your peer review costs down:
- Meet with the Town’s professional reviewers before your initial application submittal (perhaps even prior to your pre application meeting). This will help you identify potential problem areas there are a few sees before the final application is made. It also will allow you to help ensure a complete submittal. It's a lot less costly to pay for an hour's time to make sure you have your materials complete and ready than to have to rework everything all over again.
- Take time to review the Planning Board’s Rules and Regulations to make sure you submit what the Board and reviewers expect.
- Projects are few and far between without at least one revision to the plans based on reviewer comments! Why pay for a second review of the entire plan for one or two small changes? When submitting revised plans, be sure to:
- Note the changes in in your cover letter.
- Denote changes by “clouding” them on the plans.
- Be sure to update the “date of last revision” summary on the plan.
- Ensure your cover letter and plans themselves clearly state what is being asked of the board. Remember it's not just professional reviewers going over this but volunteer board members that may not be familiar with all facets of the project in other words come on make it easy to understand off the bat!