The following information is presented as a guide. We suggest that prior to beginning any construction project -- land or building -- you please contact the Land Use Department to discuss your project with us. Land Use activities can sometimes cover a large set of complicated rules and we are here to help you navigate them.
Setbacks, RGFA, and Structures
The Building Department has prepared a Zoning Brochure (PDF), which is a general summary of Setbacks, RGFA, and Structures are to help clarify these zoning regulations in Weston.
Completing a Building Permit Application
Use this document to better understand the interrelationships between the various Land Use departments and the particular reviews and approvals necessary in order to issue a building permit.
- New construction and additions require a scheduled appointment with the Permit Administrator and applicable departments prior to the start of your application process. Please call Margy Cohen at 781-786-5066 or email cohen.m[at]westonmass.org to schedule
- Refer to the Building Permit Application, particularly “Section 9: Approvals.” This section provides a list of required Land Use Department staff approvals
- Once the construction documents are complete, please have each department listed sign off in the appropriate box in Section 9
The following are notes and links for particular departments to help navigate the process.
- Any work proposed within the 100-year flood zone -- 100 ft. of a wetland, pond, seasonal stream, etc. -- and within 200 ft. of a perineal stream requires an application with the Conservation Commission. No work is allowed in the 25-foot “No Disturb” buffer zone
- Check Weston’s MapsOnline to see if any of these wetland resources areas are located near the property in question. Please note not all wetlands are shown on MapsOnline
- Over one-half of the town is located in the Cambridge Water Supply Zone. Certain restrictions apply within this area.
- Detailed information for Wetlands Permitting is available online
- Tree removal in a wetland resource area or buffer zone requires an application through the Conservation Commission. Additional information is available online
- Questions may be directed to the Conservation Administrator at 781-786-5068
Board of Health
- The Board of Health reviews Building Permit applications for the following work:
- demolition (total, substantial or minor)
- new dwellings, additions, and accessory structures
- septic systems
- The following require a permit from the Board of Health
- demolition, new construction, renovation, addition
- septic systems
- portable toilet
- To assist with the Health Department's permitting process, including septic system work, the following information is available online:
- Title 5 requirements are stricter if a project is located within the Cambridge Water Supply Zone.
- Please contact the Board of Health for specific information for each project and with any questions regarding septic systems at 781-786-5030
- Properties in Weston built before 1945 and listed on Weston's Historic Resource Inventory or shown on the Map of Historic Areas (2009) are subject to review by the Historical Commission for partial demolition (exterior repairs & remodeling) or total demolition of a home. The Building Department can verify if a specific address is subject to review
- There are a number of Historic areas in Weston. Please see the Historical Commission web pages for additional information
- The Historical Commission votes at the initial determination meeting whether or not the structure will be subject to the Demolition Delay By-law
- Historical Commission applications and procedures are available at the Building Department and online
- Roof permits may be exempt from review, provided the same materials are being used. Please verify with the Building Department at 781-786-5061
- New construction and additions require a scheduled appointment with the Permit Administrator and applicable departments prior to the start of the application process. Please call 781-786-5066 for more information
- Departmental staff reviews building plans to ensure compliance with applicable codes, issues permits for construction and performs inspections to ensure work is performed in compliance with approved plans and in compliance with applicable code provisions and the town's Zoning By-laws.
- The Planning Board has review where a new or replacement single-family dwelling, regardless of the Residential Gross Floor Area (RGFA), is:
- constructed on a Scenic Road
- on any lot where the RGFA is greater than 10% of the lot area, up to 3,500 s.f.
- regardless of location, where the RGFA is greater than 6,000 s.f.
- additions/alterations to dwellings where the building permit was issued on or after October 29, 1998 and which exceeds the RGFA limit provided in the by-law
- See Procedures for Site Plan Approval for detailed information
- Any project that has had a previous decision issued by the Planning Board, or was part of a Planning Board-approved subdivision, is subject to review for all exterior changes to the property, including additions, new structures, RGFA, driveways, lighting, and landscape design
- Information regarding suggestions and expectation of the Planning Board design review can be found in the Building Department and online at:
- The Planning Board issues Special Permits for paving or roadway work that will result in the alteration of trees or stonewalls located on Scenic Roads within the Town Right-of-Way under the General By-law Article XXIII
- The Planning Board reviews all applications in regard to subdividing a property
- The Aquifer Protection Overlay District and the Wetland Floodplain Protection District are regulated by the Planning Board. Please see those overlay districts on MapsOnline
- Homes built before 1997 may not be subject to Planning Board review. Please see the Town Planner for confirmation. The Town Planner can be reached at 781-786-5065
Stormwater and Erosion Control
Any land use project that has the potential to alter runoff, affect soil erosion and sedimentation or increase post-construction stormwater runoff must be reviewed and approved by the Stormwater Engineer. Additional information and the by-law can be found online.
Some of the projects that may require review are:
- Any repair/replacement of a septic system
- Reconstruction of public or private ways
- Construction of new or replacement dwellings or additions
- Creation of new impervious surfaces greater than 750 square feet
- Land disturbances (tree cutting, grading, earthwork) greater than 5,000 square feet or exceeding 20% of the parcel
The Stormwater Engineer reviews all Building Permit applications where exterior changes are being made and can be reached at 781-786-5117.
Zoning Board of Appeals
The Zoning By-laws provide for certain building requirements, and it is the role of the Board of Appeals to determine whether relief from these regulations is warranted in certain situations. To that end, the Board of Appeals hears and makes decisions on applications for:
- Alteration or extension of a pre-existing, non-conforming structure or lot
- Appeals of the decisions of the Building Inspector
- Comprehensive Permits
- Special Permits
- Variances from zoning regulations
Changes to a home (demolition and replacement construction, additions/alterations, attached garage, etc.) would be subject to zoning district standards, as well as any accessory structures (shed, detached garage, sports court, generator, condensers, etc.). The Zoning Board of Appeals would also review applications for:
- fences higher than 6 ft from existing grade
- properties where a previous zoning variance was issued
- applications for accessory apartments
Fences 6 ft. or lower from the existing grade and retaining walls 3 ft. or lower from the existing grade are not subject to the zoning setbacks.
Second kitchens may be permittable through the Building department and may not be subject to Zoning Board of Appeals review.
The Zoning Board of Appeals Staff Assistant can be reached at 781-786-5062.
The Weston Fire Department reviews all Building permit applications for the following:
- new homes
- additions and accessory structures
- large interior remodels and structural changes
- basements, bedrooms, and attics
- PV or passive solar installations
- most tents
Please contact the Fire Department for additional information. They can be reached at 781-786-6101.
Department of Public Works
The Weston DPW can answer any questions you may have about roads, driveways, and tree removal (except on scenic roads and in the case of wetlands). They can be reached at 781-786-5100.