Natural Resource Protection Zoning

Proposed Natural Resource Protection Zoning Bylaw

Hearing to be held on April 12, 2023 at 7:45 by Zoom. See main Planning Board page for access.

The purpose of the proposed Natural Resources Protection Zoning (NRPZ) bylaw is to guide how Ashby develops in the coming decades. This bylaw would regulate land developed under Mass. General Law chapter 41, §§ 81K-81GG, better known as the Subdivision Control law. The Subdivision Control law regulates the development of land that does not have road frontage.

The NRPZ bylaw would change the way larger parcels of land with
little or no frontage are developed.


  • Larger parcels are developed by constructing a road to create road frontage.
  • The number of houses permitted is determined by the amount of road frontage.  

Natural Resource Protection Zoning (NRPZ) seeks to base the number of houses in a new development using a formula that takes into account the character of the land and preserves a majority of the land as undeveloped forest, field, or natural resource area.


  • Larger parcels are developed by analysis of the land characteristics.
  • The number of house permitted is determined by a formula that take into account the developable area of the parcel.

The primary bylaw is the NRPZ bylaw. There are two supporting bylaws; NRPZ Common Driveways and Rural Siting Principals. NRPZ Common Driveways lays out standards for the common driveways in NRPZ subdivisions. Rural Siting Principals provides guidance for the location of development in NRPZ subdivisions.

The Planning Board has engaged the services of Jeff Lacy, a planner from Shutesbury, to assist in formulating the bylaw. Jeff has many years of experience as a planner and is an expert on NRPZ, having helped draft similar bylaws in other towns in the State.

NRPZ Documents

NRPZ bylaw Amendment to the zoning bylaw to replace section 9.4. This is the proposed primary bylaw. This is voted on by Town Meeting.
Rural Siting PrinciplesAmendment to the zoning bylaw under Section 4, General Provisions. This proposed bylaw provides guidance, but not requirements, for siting roads, driveways and houses. This is voted on by Town Meeting.
NRPZ WorksheetThe worksheet used to calculate the number of houses. This will become part of Planning Board regulations. It is not voted on by Town Meeting.
Conservation AnalysisProposed subdivision regulation adopted by the Planning Board following passage of bylaw. This will become part of Planning Board regulations. It is not voted on by Town Meeting.

NRPZ Resources

NRPZ Related Information

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