Proposed Zoning Amendments

Zoning Cover

Zoning Recodification Project

What is recodification?

Zoning codes are organized and structured in many different ways, and they are not always clear or easy to follow. A Zoning Recodification is a process whereby the existing code is reformatted and rearranged to follow a more logical sequence and any language that is confusing or outdated is revised. This helps make the code more accessible and navigable.

Why are we recodifying our zoning?

The City has received funding from the State to recodify our Zoning Ordinance which was last rewritten in 1972. Over the years, several amendments have been cobbled onto it resulting in a patchworked document that is difficult to follow. Additionally, some provisions are obsolete and should be removed and others should be updated to reflect changes in laws and current practices. The recodification process will result in a more readable and compliant ordinance.

What can you expect?

The focus of the recodification is structural. It is not about changing policy. A recodified zoning ordinance is a document that is user-friendly, clear and well organized with language that clarifies the intent and meaning of the code to reduce confusion. The recodification process will involve:
  • Reformatting and reorganizing
  • Revising existing provisions for clarity and to reflect current practices
  • Identifying and removing unnecessary and outdated bylaws
  • Ensuring our local regulations are consistent with the State Zoning Act
This process will not:
x Make changes to the zoning map
x Make major policy changes to the allowed uses in existing districts
x Make major policy changes to the dimensional regulations

Who is overseeing this process?

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is coordinating this effort with assistance from CommunityScale, a consultant to the City and the help and oversight of the Zoning Subcommittee of the Melrose Planning Board, which is made up of land use lawyers, architects, and planners.

What is the timeline?

The project team has been working to create a draft of the code. The consultants have been meeting with stakeholders who frequently use the zoning ordinance to collect their input on the changes needed. A draft of the recodified code will be posted on our website at the end of May for the public to review. Once the final draft of the recodified zoning ordinance is complete, it will be presented to City Council. There will be public hearings to gather community input and the Councilors will consider and vote on adoption.

April - May

  • City Staff, CommunityScale and the Zoning Subcommittee review the existing code and work on drafts of the revised code
  • Communityscale will meet with stakeholders
  • Draft will be posted online for public to review

June - August

  • Recodification is finalized
  • The document is reviewed during Planning Board and City Council public hearings
  • Planning Board makes recommendation to City Council
  • City Councilors will review and vote on adoption

Contact Information

Direct questions and feedback can be sent to: