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Apply for a Variance or Special Permit

Inspectional Services

The Cambridge Zoning Ordinance regulates the development and use of real property in the City and is controlled by MGL 40A. Some uses and/or developments of real property may require relief from the Board of Zoning Appeal (BZA).

The BZA hears requests for Variances, Special Permits, Comprehensive Permits, and Appeals.

How to Start

  1. Log into the online portal
  2. Enter the information requested
  3. Upload required attachments as a PDF
  4. All fields must be fully and correctly completed to prevent a delay in hearing scheduling. 
  5. This initial online process constitutes a pre-application. 
  6. Once the initial pre-review has been completed and approved, a formal application is created.
  7. Applicant receives an email providing instructions for online payment and the submission of additional documents. 
  8. Once payment has been made and all required documents have been submitted to the Secretary of the Board of Zoning Appeals, the entire submission will constitute a formal application. 
  9. A hearing date will be determined


Once formal application is approved, applicant will need to provide:

  • One (1) hard copy of all scanned documents
  • One (1) notarized original ownership form
  • Three (3) copies of the application that will be created electronically from the information provided online and will be delivered as an email attachment. Each copy must have original signatures.

Page was last modified on 4/22/2024 5:14 PM
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