Natural Resource Protection Zoning

Proposed Natural Resource Protection Zoning Bylaw

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 NRPZ bylaw would change the way larger parcels of land 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.

The proposed bylaw is in the drafting process. The Planning Board is encouraging public input into the proposed bylaw. Check the Planning Board page for informational meetings on the proposed bylaw seeking your input. Informational meetings will be held on February 17th and April 19th. A public hearing on the bylaw will be held on March 23rd.

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 common driveways in NRPZ subdivisions. Rural Siting Principals provides guidance for the location of development 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 draft 7Amendment to the zoning bylaw to replace section 9.4. This is the proposed primary bylaw.
NRPZ Common Driveways, draft 6Amendment to the zoning bylaw under Section 4, General Provisions. This proposed supporting bylaw provides standards for common driveways in a NRPZ development and the special permit requirements for such driveways.
Rural Siting Principles, draft 7Amendment to the zoning bylaw under Section 4, General Provisions. This proposed bylaw provides guidance, but not requirements, for siting roads, driveways and houses.
NRPZ WorksheetThe worksheet used to calculate the number of houses.
Conservation Analysis, draft 2Proposed subdivision regulation adopted by the Planning Board following passage of bylaw.

NRPZ Resources

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