Proposed Code

Help us reinvent zoning in Somerville

Somerville is rewriting it’s Zoning Ordinance from the ground up. Your feedback is needed to ensure this new ordinance reflects our community values while being the clearest, most predictable, and user-friendly zoning in the United States.

This page features the current draft of the new Somerville Zoning Ordinance. Like a beta release of computer software, this document will be updated and improved prior to formal submittal to the Board of Aldermen later this year. A change log and previous drafts will always remain at the bottom of this page to keep you updated.

To find out what district your property is located in under this new proposal, follow the Zoning Atlas link in the table below or select Zoning Maps under Proposed Code in the menu bar above.

Article 2: Overview & Guide explains how the ‘building type’ based system of the proposed Ordinance functions, describes each line item from the building type tables, provides instruction for how to measure each requirement, and includes other standards and reference information. We anticipate that Article 2 will also include an explanation on how to navigate the Ordinance and how read the various tables included throughout. As we continue to work with you over the summer, we will add content to this section in an effort make this document more readable for all users.

What about the 2015 version?

In 2015, we submitted a first draft of a rewritten Somerville Zoning Ordinance to the Board of Aldermen. Over the course of the public hearings, OSPCD received almost 900 comments, questions, and concerns about that draft. We reviewed every comment and incorporated that feedback into the current discussion draft posted below. The Board of Aldermen also requested series of technical studies about the proposal, which are all posted on this site.

Discussion Draft (Current)
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Zoning Atlas (updated 06/21/2017)
Article 1 – Introductory Provisions (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 2 – Overview & Guide (updated 11/05/2017)
__Standards & Measurements
Article 3 – Residential Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
__3.1 – Neighborhood Residential
__3.2 – Urban Residential
Article 4 – Mid-Rise Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
__4.1 – Mid-Ride 3
__4.2 – Mid-Rise 4
__4.3 – Mid-Rise 5
__4.4 – Mid-Rise 6
Article 5 – High-Rise Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 6 – Commercial Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
__6.1 – Fabrication
__6.2 – Commercial Core
__6.3 – Commercial Industry
__6.4 – Commercial Business
Article 7 – Special Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 8 – Overlay Districts (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 9 – Use Provisions (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 10 – Site Development (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 11 – Public Realm (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 12 – Parking & Mobility (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 13 – Development Benefits (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 14 – Nonconformance (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 15 – Administration (updated 11/05/2017)
Article 16 – Definitions (updated 11/05/2017)
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Change Log
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11/05/2017 – 2nd Discussion Draft released (all Articles)
06/24/2017 – Partial version of Article 12 released (Shared Parking still in progress)
06/22/2017 – Partial version of Article 2 released (Standards & Measurements only)
06/21/2017 – Temporary PDFs for Articles 7 and 8 uploaded
06/21/2017 – Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 15 released. Article 16 updated.
06/21/2017 – Zoning Atlas released
06/16/2017 – Article 16 of the Discussion Draft released
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Previous Drafts (Archive Only)
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Article 1 – Introductory Provisions 06/21/2017 (out of date) 69 KB
Article 2 – Overview & Guide  06/22/2017 (out of date) 296 KB
Article 3 – Residential Districts 06/21/2017 (out of date) 4 MB
Article 4 – Mid-Rise Districts 06/21/2017 (out of date) 6 MB
Article 5 – High-Rise Districts 06/21/2017 (out of date) 2 MB
Article 6 – Commercial Districts 06/21/2017 (out of date) 3 MB
Article 9 – Use Provisions 06/21/2017 (out of date) 342 KB
Article 10 – Site Development 06/21/2017 (out of date) 726 KB
Article 12 – Parking & Mobility 06/24/2017 (out of date) 380 KB
Article 13 – Development Benefits 06/21/2017 (out of date) 95 KB
Article 14 – Nonconformance 06/21/2017 (out of date) 52 KB
Article 15 – Administration 06/21/2017 (out of date) 234 KB
Article 16 – Definitions 06/21/2017 (out of date) 84 KB
Article 16 – Definitions 06/16/2017 (out of date) 84KB