Zoning Board of Appeals
Meetings of the ZBA are generally held at 7:00 p.m. on a weekday, and are scheduled as required. Always confirm the date, time, and location by checking the meeting agenda, which is posted at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled meeting.
Meetings are typically triggered by the submission of an application for a hearing. Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws requires that once an application has been completed, that a public hearing be scheduled within 65 calendar days. Meetings are scheduled to hear as many as 5 petitions, and all must be heard within the 65 day time frame.
Meeting agendas for the Longmeadow ZBA are posted as required by the Open Meeting Law, and are typically posted on the Town's website (Town Calendar, Agenda Center) and the Town Clerk's Meeting Bulletin Board at Town Hall.
NOTE: Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021, the Longmeadow ZBA hearings has opted to conduct the meetings via remote participation until further notice.
All hearings (meetings) are open to the public and anyone can attend.
Notification of Abutters
Public notices will be posted in The Reminder or Springfield Republican, at the Town Hall and on the Town website. If you are an abutter or if your property line is within 300 feet of someone who has applied for a public hearing before the Board, you will receive a notice in the mail via certified mail.
Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available at least 48 hours prior to scheduled meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
ZBA Application Forms and Fee Schedule
Applications for special permits, variances, and findings of fact can be found in the Planning & Community Development Permitting Portal. The fee schedule is as follows:
- Application filing fee: $150
- Abutter notification: $50 fee + actual cost of postage of certified mailings with receipts (to be invoiced to the applicant by the Town)
- Legal notices: Applicants will pay the actual cost of the legal notice as published in a newspaper of local circulation (to be invoiced directly by the newspaper or by the Town, in cases where the Town has pre-paid the cost of the legal notice)
Contact Planning & Community Development staff to discuss submission deadlines and targeted meeting dates, and to confirm that your applications are complete.
The Zoning Board is made up of 5 members and 3 associates. Members serve 5-year terms and associates serve 3-year terms. The Board annually elects a Chairperson.
- David Lavenburg, Chairman, exp. 2024
- Stephen Bennett, exp. 2027
- Ellen Freyman, exp. 2026
- James Tourtelotte, exp. 2026
- Marissa Komack, exp. 2025
- Vacancy, exp. 2026
- Michael Michon, exp. 2024
- Jerry Plumb, exp. 2024
- Travis Lynch, exp. 2025
About the Board
To understand the role of the Zoning Board of Appeals, it is necessary to understand the purpose of the Town's Zoning Bylaw. The purpose is as follows:
For the purpose of promoting the health, safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town of Longmeadow, under authority of the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Laws of Massachusetts, the height, number of stories, size of buildings and structures, the size and width of lots, the percentage of lot that may be occupied, the size of courts, and other open spaces, the density of population, and the location and use of buildings, structures, and land for trade, industry, residence and all other purposes, are hereby restricted and regulated as hereinafter provided.
Per the Zoning Bylaw, the Zoning Board of Appeals is charged to:
“….act on all matters within its jurisdiction under this by-law and said Statute any amendments thereof in a manner prescribed therein and with the power, in appropriate cases, and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, to make special exceptions to the terms of this by-law in harmony with its general purpose and intent, and in accordance with general or specific rules herein contained, and the laws of the Commonwealth.”
What this all really means is that we have a set of regulations and there may be legitimate cases where residents should be allowed a certain exception. It is up to the Zoning Board of Appeals to make these determinations. There are also a number of other instances where the Board has jurisdiction or is the first line of appeal. Some examples would be a resident’s right to appeal a decision rendered by the Building Commissioner where they are impacted in some way, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps the Building Commissioner has granted a Building Permit to your next door neighbor and you feel that there are reasons why such a permit should not have been issued. Perhaps there are some mitigating circumstances involving topography or soil conditions that you fear may have an impact on your property. Under the law, you are entitled to appeal the issuance of that permit, and your appeal will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals. If a leased commercial space in one of our shopping areas is changing hands, and the “use” is also changing from a card shop to a coffee shop, the new lessee has to seek “a finding of adequate off-street parking” because the parking requirements for a retail card shop and that of a coffee shop are different. This is also a function of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Limited Enforcement Responsibility
The Zoning Board of Appeals is not an enforcement agency. While residents may appeal an enforcement order given by the Building Commissioner, the Building Commissioner is charged with enforcement of the Zoning Bylaws. The Board may call for specific conditions in a decision, but it is up to the Building Commissioner to respond to any reports of violations or incidents where it is alleged that such specific conditions are not being followed.