Zoning Resources

Building Permits and Zoning Appeals Processes
Codes and Regulations
Data and Maps
Courtesy During Construction

Building Permits and Zoning Appeals Processes

Boston’s Inspectional Service Department
“From the Ground Up: A Contractor’s Guide to Boston Inspectional Services”
www.cityofboston.gov/isd/building/boa/forward.asp

ISD Building Permit Search
This online search allows contractors and homeowners to search for and retrieve archived permits.
www.cityofboston.gov/isd/building/docroom/default.asp

Boston Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA)
“A Guide to the City of Boston’s Zoning Board of Appeal Process”
www.cityofboston.gov/isd/building/BOA/

Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA): Zoning issues
www.cityofboston.gov/bra/zoning/zoning.asp

Codes and Regulations

Jamaica Plain Zoning Code: Article 55
Specifies dimensional requirements for the Jamaica Hills subdistrict, like maximum building height, minimum lot area, and so on.
http://cityofboston.gov/bra/pdf/ZoningCode/Article55.pdf

Boston Zoning Code – Conditional Uses: Article 6
Specifies requirements for conditional uses.
http://cityofboston.gov/bra/pdf/ZoningCode/Article6.pdf

Boston Zoning Code – Variance: Article 7
Specifies conditions required for variance.
http://cityofboston.gov/bra/pdf/ZoningCode/Article7.pdf

Boston Zoning Code – Definitions: Article 2A
Provides legal definitions of terms used in the Code; for example, “Floor-Area Ratio” and “Yard, Front.”
http://cityofboston.gov/bra/pdf/ZoningCode/Article2A.pdf

Data and Maps

Boston Assessing Online
Lot sizes, living areas, and property attributes.
http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/search/

Suffolk County Registry of Deeds
Searchable database of deed and sale transactions.
http://www.suffolkdeeds.com/

The Boston Atlas
The BRA’s mapping site includes information such as aerial photographs, outlines of planning areas, building outlines, street edges, and property ownership.
http://www.cityofboston.gov/bra/maps/maps.asp

BRA: Map of Districts
http://cityofboston.gov/bra/zoning/ZoningMaps.asp

Courtesy During Construction

If you are a homeowner, you know that renovations at one time or another are inevitable. Although home improvements can benefit both the property owner and the neighborhood, construction work can be noisy, messy, and behind schedule!

Here are some tips for extending courtesy to your neighbors and making such disruptions more tolerable.

  • Describe the nature of the project: No doubt neighbors will be curious about what is going on.
  • Estimate project duration and hours of work: When is work starting? How long is the project scheduled to last? During what hours of the day will work take place?
  • Identify traffic hazards: Will construction vehicles create a traffic hazard? Alert neighbors to use extra caution.
  • Specify parking arrangements: Will construction vehicles be parking on your property or in front of your neighbors’ homes?
  • Confine Dumpsters: Have Dumpsters and Sani-Kans confined to your property and placed as unobtrusively as possible.
  • Keep a clean site: Tell contractors to manage the worksite so that debris doesn’t encroach on your neighbors’ properties.
  • Be accessible: Let neighbors know they can contact you if there’s a problem.

These courteous gestures can go a long way in maintaining good will among neighbors. Chances are you will celebrate together when the project is completed!

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