Zoning Board of Appeals

Meetings
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Monday or Tuesday, as required (typically 10 to 14 times annually)
  • Police Department Community Room
All hearings (meetings) are open to the public and anyone can attend.

Notices
Meeting notices for the Longmeadow ZBA are usually posted on the Town Calendar and Longmeadow Community Bulletin Board. If someone in your neighborhood is scheduled to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals, 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.

Addressing Applications/Petitions
Chapter 40A of the General Laws of the Commonwealth 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. 

Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
View Most Recent Agendas and Minutes

Members
The 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. The make-up of the present Board as of June 2008 is as follows:
Regular Members
  • David Lavenburg, Chairman
  • Steve Bennett
  • Ellen Freyman
  • Daniel Plotkin
  • Russell Preston
Associates
  • Marissa Komack
  • Jerry Plumb
  • Richard Roque

About the Board
The Town of Longmeadow has both a General and a Zoning Bylaw. To understand the role of the Zoning Board of Appeals, it is necessary to understand the purpose of the 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.”

Special Exceptions
The Board of Appeals is charged as you will see below, and “special exceptions” are part of their role as stated on the 1st page of the bylaw:

“….shall 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.”

Examples
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 1st 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.

Documents/Resources
  • Permitting Guidebook is a useful guidebook for citizens, businesses and property developers to understand the “permitting” process in the Town of Longmeadow (This guidebook also includes the instructions and process for the Board application and hearing.)
  • Sunrise Development - ZBA Decision, August 22, 2008
  • Town Bylaws (General + Zoning) are available for viewing and searching on the website