Hamilton Planning Board

Before making any division of land in Hamilton, the subdivider is required by law to secure from the Hamilton Planning Board approval, or endorsement as “approval not required”, of the plan for the proposed division. The regulations set out below, indicate the requirements to be met and the procedure to be followed before such approval or endorsement can be obtained.


Section 81M of Chapter 41 of the General Laws

“The subdivision control law has been enacted for the purpose of protecting the safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants of the cities and towns in which it is, or may hereafter be, put in effect by regulating the laying out and construction of ways in subdivisions providing access to the several lots therein, but which have not become public ways, and ensuring sanitary conditions in subdivisions and in proper cases parks and open areas. The powers of a planning board and of a board of appeal under the subdivision control law shall be exercised with due regard for the provision of adequate access to all of the lots in a subdivision by ways that will be safe and convenient for travel; for lessening congestion in such ways and in the adjacent public ways; for reducing danger to life and limb in the operation of motor vehicles; for securing safety in the case of fire, flood, panic and other emergencies; for ensuring compliance with the applicable zoning ordinances or by-laws; for securing adequate provisions for water, sewerage, drainage, and other requirements where necessary in a subdivision; and for coordinating the ways in a subdivision with each other and with the public ways in the city or town in which it is located and with the ways in neighboring subdivisions…..”



These rules and regulations have been adopted under the authority vested in the Planning Board of the Town of Hamilton by Section 81-Q of Chapter 41 of the General Laws, as amended, and in amendment to the rules and regulations previously in effect.



A. General:

1. All plans and all procedures relating thereto shall in all respects comply with the provisions of these regulations, unless the Planning Board waives strict compliance therefrom in specified instances.

Any person desiring to make a subdivision within the meaning of the Subdivision Control Law of any land within the Town, shall, before proceeding with the improvement or sale of lots in a subdivision, or the construction of ways, or by the installation of municipal services therein, submit to the Planning Board a plan of such subdivision and secure approval by the Planning Board of a Definitive Plan as hereinafter provided.

The Planning Board, in studying a proposed subdivision plan, will take into consideration the requirements of the community and the best use of the land being subdivided. Particular attention will be given to width, arrangement and location of streets, sanitation, drainage, lot sizes, and arrangement of lots, open areas, and parks. Adequate street connections will be required to insure free access to adjoining subdivisions and land.

The Planning Board will not approve or modify and approve any plan of a subdivision of land unless all lots and other proposals shown on said plan comply with the Zoning By-laws of the Town or a variance from the terms thereof has been granted by the Board of Appeals.

A By-Right Plan shall be submitted and approved at the time of the submission of a Preliminary Plan. If the applicant does not file a Preliminary Plan, the By-Right Plan shall be submitted and approved at the time of the submission of the Definitive Plan.

B. Steps (A check list for the convenience of applicant and Board, etc.) copy of Subdivision Regulations and:

1. Secure information on zoning and on provisions of “General Plan” applicable to property under consideration, and application form.

2. File Preliminary Plan, with notice to Town Clerk, copies to Planning Board and Board of Health. See Section IV.A.

3. Within 45 days – approval, disapproval or modification by Planning Board.

4. If “believed not to require approval” – endorsement to that effect by Planning Board, within 21 days after submission in form required – see Section III.B.

5. File Definitive Plan and application, fee, etc. with notice toTown Clerk, original and copies to Planning Board for reference to Board of Health and other officials. See Section IV.B.

6. Review by Board of Health within 45 days.

7. Public Hearing after 14 days notice.

8. Bonds and performance guarantees for improvements.

9. Action by Planning Board, within 60 days of original submission of Definitive Plan.

10. Certification and Recording in Registry of Deeds.

11. Completion of improvements and release of bonds.


A. Definitions:

For the purposes of these Rules and Regulations the words and terms used herein are hereby defined or the meaning thereof explained, extended or limited as stated in Chapter 41 of the General Laws as amended, and as follows:

Board The Planning Board of the Town of Hamilton.

By Right Plan. A By-Right Plan demonstrates that the proposed lot can be subdivided in compliance with all zoning and subdivision control laws without variances or waiver

Major Street. A street which, in the opinion of the Board, is being used or will be used as a thoroughfare across or between different portions of the Town or which will otherwise carry a heavy volume of traffic.

Minor Street. A street which, in the opinion of the Board, is being used or will be used primarily, to provide access to abutting lots, and which is designed to discourage its use by through traffic.

Secondary Street. A street intercepting one or more minor streets and which, in the opinion of the Board, is used or will be used to carry a substantial volume of traffic from such minor street(s) to a major street or community facility, and normally including the principal entrance street of a large subdivision, or group of subdivisions, and any principal circulation streets within such subdivisions.

Subdivision. A division of land into two or more lots in such a manner as to constitute “subdivision”, as defined in Section 81-L, Ch. 41 of the General Laws.

Recorded Recorded in the South Essex Registry of Deeds; or, as affecting registered land, it shall mean filed with the recorder of the Land Court.

B. Plan Believed Not to Require Approval. (Wording adapted from Section 81 of Chapter 41.)

Any person who wishes to cause to be recorded a plan of land situated in Hamilton and who believes that his plan does not require approval under the Subdivision Control Law, may submit his application Form A (Appendix) and his plan, with seven contact prints thereof, to the Planning Board, accompanied by the necessary evidence to show that the plan does not require approval. If the parcels created are building lots, an application fee of $250. plus $100. for each lot in the subdivision, whether newly created or modified, shall accompany the filing of the Form A at the time of submission. (Fees: Added 2/89, amended 9/01.) Said person shall file in the manner prescribed in Section 81 T of Chapter 41 G.L. by delivery or registered mail, a notice with the Town Clerk stating the date of submission for such determination. The Board will review the Plan for relation of proposed lots to the Zoning By-law, to the General or Master Plan, and to the requirements for health and drainage, etc.; and consult with the applicant. The Planning Board may require the applicant to pay a review fee to cover the reasonable costs of consultants engaged by the Planning Board to assist in review of the proposed plans, as authorized and limited by M.G.L. Ch. 44, Sec. 53 G and Sec. VII. D. of these Subdivision Regulations. (Review Fees: Added 6/90)

If the Board determines that the plan does not require approval, the Board or its agent shall without a public hearing and within twenty-one (21) days of submission endorse on the plan the words “Planning Board approval under Subdivision Control Law not required,” or words of similar import. Such endorsement shall not be deemed to constitute any determination of compliance with requirements of the Zoning By-law. The original tracing of said plan shall be returned to the applicant.

All lots coming before the Planning Board for “Approval Not Required” endorsement must have the feasibility for reasonable driveway access across the legal frontage on the existing or proposed street to the building site, even if other access by a common or single driveway easement is actually to be used. If interior lot access is only feasible by common or outside driveway easement, the lots are in effect landlocked; the driveway, as the sole feasible access is tantamount to a street that should be subject to regulation under Subdivision Control, per M.G.L. Ch. 41, Sec. 81-L (Definitions) and M (Purpose). Determination as to feasibility of access via legal frontage shall be made based on steepness of topography, presence/absence of ledge, and presence/absence of wetland along the proposed driveway route from legal frontage to building site. (See also Hamilton Zoning By-law, Sec. I.B., limiting driveways across wetlands). The applicant shall document compliance with access via legal frontage “requirements” on the plan. If compliance cannot be demonstrated, submission as a Definitive Subdivision Plan under these Subdivision Regulations is an alternative for the applicant.” (Added: 11/84)

If the Board determines that the plan does require approval under the Subdivision Control Law, it shall within twenty-one (21) days of submission of said plan so inform the applicant by written notice and return the original tracing of the plan. The Board shall also notify the Town Clerk in writing of its determination.

The following words will be stamped on each “Approval not Required” plan endorsed under this section: