Zoning Analysis & Recodification

Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) gives cities and towns the authority to adopt ordinances and bylaws to regulate the use of land, buildings and structures.  The ordinances adopted by a community guide property owners and developers as to what can be constructed on a property, any regulations regarding the construction and any required permits, approvals or licenses. Further, the ordinance, along with MGL informs regulatory bodies such as the Town Council, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and those charged with zoning enforcement (Building Commissioner) and provides the basis for their decisions.

What is codification?

Codification is the organization of laws and rules into a clear, easy-to-follow structure. When content is classifiedstack of books stating zoning code and organized in a predictable way, it is easier for all users to understand where to find information.  The process for creating the structure and organizing the content is codification.

What is recodification?

This is the process of reorganizing content that may be hard to find and located in odd sections due to changes made to the ordinance over time.  Recodification involves a detailed review of the existing code, learning what is out of place, out of date, inconsistent, missing or confusing.  Typically a very lengthy process, it suggests formatting and organizational changes, clarifies and/or adds terminology, eliminates outdated provisions and generally provides for a more user-friendly ordinance.  

Randolph Zoning Analysis

In January 2023, the Planning Department sought have the town's Zoning Ordinance evaluated.  The firm of Barrett Planning Group was engaged to conduct a Phase I Zoning Analysis with a goal to identify internal inconsistencies in the ordinance, issues regarding conformity with statutory and case law, omissions and areas where updates or amendments may be required.  In addition to reviewing the zoning ordinance, the consultant reviewed the rules and regulations of the Planning Board, Town Council and ZBA and conducted interviews with board members and municipal staff to better understand the challenges faced with the current structure and language.  She met with the Planning Board at their meeting of February 28, 2023 and with the Town Council at their meeting of June 26, 2023.



Next Steps

On October 24, 2023, the Planning Board voted to recommend appropriating funds to work with a consultant group and recodify the Randolph Zoning Ordinance.  They have asked that the Director of Planning seek applicable funding sources and forward their recommendation to the Town Manger, Town Solicitor and Town Counsel for agreement. 

Why is recodification necessary?

Randolph's original Zoning Bylaw (when were a town form of government) and map were adopted in the 1950's. Over the course of decades, changes have been made including from adding and changing definitions, dimensional requirements and uses, to adding entirely new sections to allow, prohibit or condition new development. Randolph's current Zoning Ordinance includes regulations based on both past and present goals and has outdated and overlapping sections.  Zoning Recodification allows the Town an opportunity to make its Zoning regulations easier to understand, administer, enforce, and align Zoning regulations with current land use goals, best practices and municipal capacity.