What is the subdivision process?

The Town of Norwell Planning Department prides itself on being friendly and easily-accessible. The Town Planner is available to answer questions or to meet with you to discuss subdivision or site plan proposals in advance of submission to the Planning Board. The Planning Department is available to provide guidance and recommends that all Applicants have a joint, informal meeting with other Department Heads to identify any potential issues that could arise prior to submission to the Planning Board. All applications go through initial completeness review by the Town Planner. 

Once a completeness determination is made, the Applicant can submit the application to the Planning Board for a public hearing. A Notice of Public Hearing is published in the newspaper twice, once fourteen (14) days before the scheduled hearing date, and again seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing date. Abutters are also directly notified. The Public Hearing is opened, the Board is initially presented with the proposal, and initial comments and feedback are given. The Public Hearing is continued to a date, time, and place certain, where another opportunity for public commentary. In the meantime, other Town Agency concerns are addressed, (Police & Fire Departments, Building Inspector, Highway Surveyor, Conservation Commission, and Board of Health), as well as Engineering, is performed during the public hearing review process. Once all Agency, Engineering, and public comments and concerns are satisfactorily addressed, the public hearing is closed, and the Planning Board makes its decision based on the materials and comments submitted during the review process.  

Importantly, while regulatory coordination is important for efficiency, approvals from the Planning Board are independent from those of other regulatory bodies such as the Conservation Commission, Board of Health, etc., and the Applicant is still required to seek approval from other regulatory bodies as required, based on their proposal.