Skip Navigation
This table is used for column layout.
Winthrop Town Seal
Welcome to Winthrop, MA
Bottom of Town Seal
Town Council
Town Manager
Planning & Development
About Winthrop
Town Departments
Boards & Committees
School Building Assistance Committee
Links of Interest
Meetings Calendar
Town Charter & Ordinances
Subscribe to News
Follow Winthrop on Twitter
Winthrop Blog
Winthrop Facebook
Pay Your Bills Online
Winthrop Home Page

Development Regulations



1.1.1 Under the authority vested in the Planning Board of the Town of Winthrop by:

a.      Article 89 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Rule Amendment,

b.      Chapter 40A, The Zoning Act, of the General Laws, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and

c.      Chapter 41, Improved Method of Municipal Planning, and the Subdivision Control Law, of the General Laws,

The Planning Board adopts these “Development Regulations” to provide policies, standards, and procedures for planned residential and commercial development in the Town of Winthrop, Mass.


1.2.1   These “Development Regulations” compile in one document, for ease of administration by the Board and understanding by applicants, the various rules, regulations, procedures, and fees which the Planning Board formerly had in separate documents.

1.2.2 Objectives
The Planning Board’s objectives are that:

a.      all sites within Winthrop for which development approval is sought under these Regulations shall be designed and developed in a safe, efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner;

b.      the arrangement of all uses and improvement should reflect the natural capabilities and limitations of the site as well ads the characteristics and limitations of adjacent property;

c.      the development should be visually harmonious as viewed from both within and from the outside site

1.2.2   Evaluation Criteria
The following objectives and criteria shall be used in evaluating all development proposals:
a.      insure that the development of additional housing and commercial buildings do not detract from the livability, scale, character or economic value of existing residential neighborhoods and commercial areas;

b.      encourage greater diversity of housing opportunities in Winthrop to meet the needs of a population that is diversified with respect to age, number of persons in household, and income levels;

c.      permit greater flexibility and design freedom in land development;

d.      encourage sensitively planned development by:
1)      promoting a high standard in the design of development sites and of individual buildings;
2)      preserving open space for conservation, outdoor recreation or park purposes;
3)      encouraging the preservation, and minimum disruption, of the existing natural features of land and              minimizing impacts on environmentally sensitive areas;
4)      preserving, where applicable, historically or architecturally significant buildings or places;
5)      permitting different types of structures and residential uses to be combined in a planned interrelationship;
e.      facilitate a detailed review, by Town officials and by the public, of developments that either:
1)      have an impact on public facilities and services and on adjoining land, or
2)      are large enough to constitute a self-contained environment;

f.      promote the efficient and economical provision of public facilities such as utilities and streets;

g.      assure that the number of dwelling units or commercial buildings allowed will be compatible with                surrounding land uses, and that traffic and public services will not be adversely impacted.


1.3.1   Official Responsible
The Town Manager is authorized to be responsible for the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Development Regulations including the Subdivision Regulations.  The Building Inspector is responsible for the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Zoning By-Law.  Where these regulations refer to the Town Manager shall have the authority and responsibility these regulations imply.  

1.3.2   Relief from Personal Liability
Insofar as the law allows, while acting for the Town of Winthrop, any official designated under the provisions of paragraph 1.3.1 above, charged with the administration, interpretation or enforcement of the Development Regulations, including the Subdivision Rules and Regulations, shall not be deemed to be personally liable in the discharge of his/her official duties.

1.3.3   Administrative Procedures
The Town Manager is authorized to formulate administrative procedures necessary to uniformly administer and enforce these regulations.

1.3.4   Right of Entry
In the discharge of his/her official duties, the Town Manager, or any official authorized to act in his/her absence, shall have the authority to enter any site to administer or enforce the provisions of these regulations.


1.4.1   Objectives
The Planning Board’s objectives for the effective conduct of its public meetings are to:

a.      provide an opportunity for board members and staff to review items dealing with development activities in       advance of meetings;

b.      assure applicants that items will be acted upon promptly once they are presented to the board;

c.      maintain an orderly schedule for dealing with development activities in relation to the Planning Board’s        other, non-development responsibilities;

d.      provide opportunities and procedures for interested neighbors and town departments. Boards and          committees to have an opportunity to review proposed development activities.

1.4.2   All Actions at Public Meetings
All reviews, decisions and other actions that the Planning Board makes in relation to development, as covered these Development Regulations, hereinafter referred to as “development activities,” shall be made in a public meeting of the Planning Board for which public notice has been given under Chapter 39, 23, Massachusetts General Laws.

1.4.3   Applications Submitted through the Town Managers Office
Applications for action on development activities shall be submitted first to the Town Managers Office so that the material can be reviewed and scheduled for action at a Planning Board meeting.  Such requests shall not be presented directly to the Planning Board at a meeting.

1.4.4   Items Placed on Board Agenda when Ready for Action
Applications and all other requests for action on development activities shall not be placed on the agenda for a Planning Board meeting until they are ready for the board to take action.  A request for action on a development activity is not considered ready for board action until it is complete, all necessary information has been supplied, and any form or document is ready for approval.  Failure to supply all necessary information, complete form, it grounds for the application to not be accepted for processing or for the Planning Board’s action to be delayed.  

1.4.5   Review Prior to Board Meeting
Prior to any action by the Board, applications and al other requests for action on development activities shall be reviewed by the staff, and as applicable, other town departments, boards, and committees. The application and related documentation will be distributed to the board with the preliminary agenda so that the board members may review it prior to the meeting.  The Planning Board generally will not take action on any application or other requests for action on development activities that:

a.      has not been filed with, and reviewed by the Planning Department by the time the agenda is prepared, and        distributed to members prior to this meeting, or respond to plans pr proposals presented to it for the first            time at a meeting.


1.5.1   Effective Date
These regulations shall be effective on July 1,2006.

1.5.2   Amendment
These regulations may be amended from time to time by a vote of the Planning Board.


1.6.1   Forms
The Appendix contains sample forms for the administration of these regulations.  These forms are not part of the regulation forms that may be added or deleted and the content of the forms may be revised from time to time by administrative action of the Planning Board, such changes are not amendments to these regulations and may be made without holding a public hearing.  

1.6.2   Notes, Charts  
These regulations contain comments, charts and other illustrations, which may be interspersed with the text of the regulations.  They are intended to assist the applicant in understanding the regulations and the Planning Board’s policies and procedures, but are not part of these regulations.  The notes are set off in a typeface or in a box or are labeled to show their status as comments, charts and illustrations.

The provisions of these regulations are separable.  If any provision of these regulations, or in the administration thereof any decision or determination, is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, invalid or void, the decision shall not affect any other provision of these regulations or the administration thereof.  


The Planning Board’s objectives are to have sufficient information available in a timely manner:
a.      to permit the Planning Board to conduct a thorough review of the proposed plan; to permit review by other town departments and boards and to obtain their recommendations; provide for public review by and comment , all within the brief time periods set forth in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A and Chapter 41;

b.      to provide detailed instructions and aids so that an applicant or a developer can comply with the requirements and procedures;

c.      reduce the time and expense to the board, the town and the applicant caused by repetitive submissions or partially completed plans.


2.2.1 Complete and Correct Information
The applicant is responsible for the submittal of complete and correct information to the board, which if not provided, may constitute grounds for the rejection of a plan for review, disapproval of a plan or rescission of a previously approved plan.

2.2.2 Obtain All Permits, Rights
The applicant shall obtain all necessary permits, licenses, releases or rights.  Failure or inability to do so may constitute grounds for rejection of a plan for review, disapproval of a plan or rescission of a previously approved plan.

2.2.3 Expense of Preparing Plans and Other Documents
The applicant shall be responsible for the expense of the design, preparation of legal documents, studies, review of plans, recording and filing of plans, reproduction of plans and copies thereof or studies and reports related thereto and all other expenses in relation to the submittal, review, and actions on an application for approval or endorsement of a plan whether it is approved by the board or not.  If applicable, the applicant shall be responsible for the costs of publishing the legal notice of the public hearing.  In the event the Planning Board is required to hold the public hearing in a building other than the Town Office Building and if there are costs associated with meeting in another building, such as custodial services, the applicant shall be responsible for those costs.

2.2.4 Consent of Property Owner Required for All Applications
When the applicant does not own the property shown in a plan filed with an application pursuant to these regulations, the applicant shall state the nature of his or her interest in the property and the property owner.

2.2.5 Informal submission/meeting with the Planning Board
Potential applicants wanting to meet with the Planning Board informally to obtain guidance, feedback or to report progress on a project that will impact the Town and affect the Planning Board’s area of jurisdiction should make their request for the meeting at least two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.  Requests for an informal meeting shall include a request letter, project description, conceptual design and preliminary design if guidance and feedback received from the Planning Board will be enhanced by such a submission.  The Planning Board staff will review the material to determine specific requirements.  Compliance is required in order for a meeting to be scheduled.

Winthrop Town Hall 1 Metcalf Square, Winthrop, MA 02152
Phone: 617.846.1852
Virtual Towns & Schools Website