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Zoning Petitions

City Clerk's Office

Zoning Petitions must be filed with the City Clerk's Office. Please use the zoning petition form located in the “Useful Documents & Resources” section of this  page. 
The fee to file a zoning petition is $150.00. Zoning petitions must be submitted to the City Clerk's Office by 3:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding a City Council Meeting.

About the Process:

The Cambridge Zoning Ordinance governs how land and buildings in the city may be used. While zoning is a local law adopted by the Cambridge City Council, the local regulations and procedures must comply with the State Zoning Act (Chapter 40A of the General Laws of the Commonwealth). The Zoning Ordinance may only be amended by a vote of the City Council, in accordance with M.G.L. c.40A, §5.

The Zoning Ordinance has two parts: a set of zoning maps that illustrate how the city is divided into different districts and a set of text articles describing the regulations that apply in each district. Both the maps and the text can be amended.

Map Amendment: Changing the boundaries of a zoning district, the zoning designation of a district, or creating a new overlay district or planned unit development district.
Text Amendment: Changing the language in one or more articles of the Zoning Ordinance. This could include adding new regulations, removing existing regulations, or modifying existing regulations.

According to the state law, the following groups may file a Zoning Petition:

• The City Council;
• The Board of Zoning Appeal (BZA);
• An individual owning land to be affected by change or adoption;
• Ten registered voters in the city;
• The Planning Board;
• A regional planning agency.

The process officially begins when a Zoning Petition is submitted to the City Council, which is done by filing the petition with the Office of the City Clerk. After a Zoning Petition has been filed, the City Clerk places it on the agenda of an upcoming City Council meeting. The Council then refers the Zoning Petition to the Planning Board and the Ordinance Committee, which is a subcommittee of the City Council, for their review at public hearings.

For more information about how to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, visit the Zoning FAQ webpage by clicking the following link: https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/Resources/zoningfaq.


Additional Information

The City Council may refer the zoning petition for consideration by the Planning Board and the Ordinance Committee.

Page was posted on 5/8/2018 6:06 PM
Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 8:08 PM
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