Zoning

Pursuant to public hearings held on April 18, 2023, and May 15, 2023, City Council voted to adopt the Zoning Amendments as proposed by the Planning Board. These changes seek to clarify sections of the code for easier interpretation and understanding, ensure compliance with the Massachusetts General Laws, and reduce the number of variance requests for violations that are regularly approved by the Board of Appeals. The purpose and reasoning behind each amendment can be viewed in the letter from the Planning Board to Mayor Brodeur and Members of City Council Cover below along with the approved Zoning Amendments, which are organized by their approval date.

May 15, 2023

April 18, 2023


In 1926, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of zoning, ruling it appropriate to limit an individual’s property rights in the best interest of the general public. In Massachusetts, zoning is authorized through the Mass General Laws, Chapter 40A. In Melrose, the Zoning Ordinance describes the rules and regulations regarding how land is developed locally.

Melrose zoning is detailed in a written Zoning Ordinance and a Zoning Map. The Table of Use and Parking Regulations and the Table of Dimensional and Density Regulations, taken together, give a good idea of how a property may be able to be developed. Zoning works by establishing zoning districts that determine what uses are allowed “by right” in each district and what uses require a “special permit” to establish and distinguish their dimensional and density requirements as detailed in the Table of Use and Parking Regulations. When a proposed project does not comply with the Zoning Ordinance, seeking a “variance” would allow a petitioner to build out of compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

Melrose Zoning Ordinance

Melrose Zoning Map