Comprehensive Review of Reading Zoning Bylaw

The Town of Reading has appropriated funds to comprehensively revise the existing zoning bylaw in order to simplify, clarify, correct internal inconsistencies, and update the bylaw to address current development trends and anticipate future housing and business needs.

Reading Twon Hall Sign

These changes would represent a significant step towards implementation of the 2006 Reading Master Plan, the 2012 Housing Production Plan, the Open Space and Recreation Plan, several downtown studies and design guidelines, and other related planning projects. This is the first time the Town has undertaken a comprehensive zoning revision since 1926.

The Town of Reading has created a Zoning Advisory Committee to provide oversight and guidance for this project, with the Community Services Director/Town Planner acting as the primary staff contact person. The project is divided into two phases, with the Town taking primary responsibility for Phase I, which will focus on re-organization of the bylaw and making it more user-friendly. The consultant, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) and Edith Netter Esq., will take responsibility for Phase II of the project.

What is Zoning?

Modern zoning began in the early 1900ís in response to the location of potentially incompatible and noxious land uses next to commercial and residential areas. The zoning bylaw has evolved over the years as a means to limit the types of land uses that could locate in a particular area of the municipality, resulting in a separation of uses. Ideally, the Master Plan is the blueprint for the Town and the zoning bylaw is the regulation that implements the plan. Typically, a zoning bylaw regulates land use by:

  1. Specifying and distinguishing different land use types;
  2. Creating development standards for the size and shape of lots and the buildings erected on those lots;
  3. Addressing lots, buildings and uses that pre-dated the adoption of the zoning bylaw (non-conformities);
  4. Establishing criteria for the evaluation of permit applications for new buildings;
  5. Establishing procedures for permitting uses not specifically allowed by right;
  6. Defining terms that have specific meanings under the bylaw; and,
  7. Creating a map that displays the geographic extent of each zoning district.

Learn more about the zoning review process and schedule »