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

Recent Zoning Amendments

Recent amendments to the Zoning Ordinance include the following: