About the Planning Board

Overview
The Amherst Planning Board is responsible for numerous matters related to community planning, development, and land use. The Board conducts studies on land use, including development, housing, transportation, economic development, and zoning. The Planning Board reviews and proposes amendments to the Zoning Bylaw, and is required to hold public hearings and report to Town Meeting on all proposed zoning changes.

The Board approves subdivisions and promulgates rules and regulations for subdivision construction. Under the Amherst Zoning Bylaw, the board approves site plan reviews for cluster developments as well as commercial, office, and other non-residential uses of land. It approves special permits for open space community developments and other selected uses. It makes recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals on special permits, variances, and appeals.

The Planning Board advises the Select Board on the release of property taxed as forest, farm, or recreation land and on the granting of special tax status for qualifying developments. The Board must approve proposed changes in all town ways designated by Town Meeting as scenic roads.

Operating under various sections of MGL Ch. 41, the Board studies the resources and needs of the community and prepares plans involving land use, including development, housing, transportation, and zoning. Under Ch. 40, the Planning Board reviews the Town Zoning Bylaw and can propose amendments to improve it. (The board is required to hold public hearings and make a report to Town Meeting on all proposed zoning changes.)

Under Sec. 81K-81GG, the Board approves subdivisions and promulgates rules and regulations for the construction of roads, sidewalks, and water and sewer lines in subdivisions. Under the Amherst Zoning Bylaw, the Board approves special permits for cluster subdivisions, conducts site plan reviews for commercial, office, and other non-residential uses of land, and makes recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals on special permits, variances, and appeals.

The Board advises the Select Board on the release for general use of property taxed as forest, farm, or recreation land (See MGL Ch. 61.), It also advises the Select Board on the granting of special tax status for qualifying developments(See MGL Ch. 121A.). The Board must approve proposed changes in all town ways designated by Town Meeting as scenic roads (See MGL Ch. 40, sec. 15C.).