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Non-residential use of a home is allowed “by-right” as an accessory use as long as it is either agricultural in nature or a professional or customary home occupation, and does not employ more than three non-residents. Other non-residential uses, as defined in Sections 3.2.2, 3.2.3 and 3.2.4 of the Zoning Bylaws, are subject to special permit review by the Zoning Board of Appeals. For other questions about non-residential use, please consult the Building Department.
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The Planning Board generally meets the second Monday of every month, with additional meetings scheduled as circumstances warrant.
The subdivision of land in Carlisle is controlled by the Planning Board’s Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land. You should contact the Planning Office at 978-369-9702 for guidance on how to proceed with your proposed subdivision. The Board strongly recommends that you discuss a conceptual plan with them prior to filing any application.
Any land owner who wishes to record at the Registry of Deeds or file in Land Court a change to the lot lines of their land, a combining of lots, or a division of their land into smaller lot(s), but does not intend to create any new roadways to provide additional frontage, may file with the Planning Board an application and plan for a "(Subdivision) Approval Not Required (PDF).”This process is governed by the Planning Board’s ANR Regulations.
A special permit is a form of zoning that allows construction and/or uses on a particular property that are not allowed in general for other properties in the same zoning district. It normally creates a permanent change, and requires a public hearing that requires notice to owners of abutting properties and in the local newspaper. The Planning Board is the special permit granting authority in most instances where new construction is required; the Zoning Board of Appeals generally grants special permits for specific uses in existing property, except for accessory apartments, which are the responsibility of the Planning Board. Special permits are not a waiver of or variance from zoning requirements. All potential uses allowed by special permit are defined in the Town’s Zoning Bylaws, but the issuance of a special permit is discretionary on the part of the granting board, who may place conditions on its approval or deny it.
Special Permit Application (PDF)
Site plan approval involves a review by the Planning Board of an applicant’s plans and characteristics of the property where the use is proposed, and also involves a public hearing, similar to that of a special permit. However, while the Board may impose conditions on the site, it does not have the discretion to deny a site plan approval application, since where site plan review is specified in theZoning Bylaws, it is solely for uses that are allowed “by right.” These are all uses other than single family residences, with a few exceptions. See Section 7.6 of the Zoning Bylaws and the Planning Board’s Rules and Regulations.
Accessory Apartments require a special permit through the Planning Board and are governed by the Board’s Rules and Regulations for Accessory Apartments. These Regulations detail the size limitations and other requirements for the accessory apartment.
The main roads and most local roads in subdivisions in Carlisle are public ways. If your house is on a common driveway, whether or not it has a street name, you are on a private way. Please contact the Planning Board office for more specific information.
The list of “Scenic Roads,” as designated by Town Meeting, is in Article XII of the Town’s General Bylaws. By state law, trees and stone walls within the right-of-way of a scenic road are protected from being cut down or destroyed unless the Planning Board, after a public hearing, gives its written consent to do so. This applies to actions of private individuals, utilities and the Town itself. It does not apply to trees or walls that are on private property. Typically, stone walls form the boundary between the right-of-way and private lots, and these walls, or trees similarly situated, are protected. See the Planning Board’s Rules and Regulations for Scenic Roads for more information.
The Zoning Map depicts Residence A and B Districts, with the Residence A District containing all properties within 1500 feet from the Town Center monument.
Required setbacks in Residence District A (minimum lot area 1 acre) are:
Required setbacks in Residence District B are:
It is possible to put a wireless facility on your property. Wireless facilities require an application for a special permit from the Planning Board. The Board’s Rules and Regulations for Special Permits and Site Plan Approval for Personal Wireless Service Facilities details the types of facilities allowed and the application process.
Certain types of small facilities are currently allowed “by right.” Please contact the Building Department and speak with the Building Commissioner. The Town of Carlisle is in the process of amending its Zoning Bylaws to allow for additional types and larger solar facilities, which will require a special permit and/or site plan approval.