The Zoning Board of Appeals meets the third Thursday of every month to hear and decide petitions arising from the application of the Williamstown’s Zoning Bylaws. These petitions fall into four categories:

• Variances seek relief from the requirements of the Bylaws due to particular circumstances that are unique to a property.

• Special Permits seek permission for uses or changes allowed under the Bylaws under certain conditions. These permits allow the Board to permit important projects while protecting neighborhoods from adverse impacts.

• Administrative Appeals seek relief from a decision made by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

• Comprehensive Permits seek permission to circumvent certain local zoning laws to construct affordable housing under the authority of Massachusetts General Law Ch. 40B.

Any application for any of these four types of permits requires the Board to place advertisements in the local newspaper, The Berkshire Eagle, and notify all abutters of the subject property of the time and date of the public hearing on an application by mail. This process ensures that all neighbors of a proposed project have a chance to voice any concerns regarding a proposal. If you ever receive a post card notifying you of a permit request in your neighborhood the folks in the Community Development Department at Town Hall are very helpful and can explain any questions you might have about an application or the process in general.