A streamline City of Boston Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) has been formed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh that is intended to cut waiting times for relatively minor variances needed to open a small business or to perform home renovations to 1-2 family owner-occupied residential applications.
A subcommittee of the Zoning Board of Appeal will meet on Thursday nights to hear zoning relief requests.
The move is geared toward aiding small businesses and homeowners making renovations to their properties by separating smaller projects from major developments.
A similar process is used by the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) that sends letters of no objection to city agencies on requests that have no real effect on the community and no abutter objections thus avoiding discussion and voting at the Association’s monthly meetings.
“Small businesses should not have to wait along with major development to have the a zoning relief requests heard,” said Mayor Walsh. “And normally, bringing the City of Boston in line with every of the city and town in Massachusetts, which has the authority to appoint their licensing board members locally. The move will provide immediate relief, while we continue to pursue more fundamental regulatory reforms and zoning updates.”
The first hearing on the ZBA Small Business and Owner-Occupied Residential Subcommittee will be September 11, 2014. Staff is currently examining ZBA cases scheduled for September, October and November, and contacting applicants eligible for the streamlined process. Applicants interested in having their appeal heard through the subcommittee should contact 617-635-5300.