Land & Property Overview
The following departments and boards regulate and assess the use of land in the Town of Westwood.
The Board of Assessors is an elected board of three members whose mission under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 59, to list and value all real and personal property. The Assessor’s Office collects, records and analyzes information pertinent to residential, commercial and industrial properties and classify every parcel and make fair and equitable assessments of property values in the Town of Westwood. These values are submitted to the MA Department of Revenue for certification every three years and in between these years, maintain values and make adjustments according to market conditions. The office maintains records, documents and liens, answers public inquiries, processes applications for tax exemptions for the elderly, disabled veterans, widows or widowers and the blind; and reviews and processes tax abatements. Administration of the Massachusetts State Motor Vehicle Excise Tax is done annually.
The Building Department ensures the safety and integrity of buildings and construction by enforcing the State Building Code, Electrical Code, Plumbing Code, Gas Code and Local Zoning Bylaws. It issues building, electrical, plumbing and gas permits for new construction, repairs, renovations and demolition, reviewing plans for State Building Code and Westwood Zoning Bylaw compliance and issuing occupancy certificates. The Building Department responds to calls and complaints from the general public concerning code and zoning questions, investigates complaints, and conducts periodic inspections of public buildings as required by State Code.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is comprised of three regular members and six associate members appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The ZBA is a quasi-judicial board that operates “as authorized by, but not limited to, the provisions of the Zoning Act, M.G. L. Chapter 40A. et al." The ZBA hears appeals petitions from decisions of the Building Commissioner, request for special permits and variances and other zoning relief under Town Zoning Bylaws (regulations) which are adopted and subject to amendment by Town Meeting.
The Conservation Commission (Con Com) is comprised of seven members, an associate member and the Conservation Specialist. The Conservation Commission is the official agency specifically charged with the protection of a community’s natural resources. The Con Com also advises other municipal officials and boards on conservation issues that relate to their areas of responsibility. The Con Com under the powers of the Wetland Protection Act and the Town of Westwood Wetlands Bylaw, functions to regulate work in or near wetlands and river resource areas and encourages and works towards the acquisition and management of Conservation Land.
The Health Department/Board of Health issues permits and licenses for a wide variety of businesses and activities throughout Westwood; including, but not limited to, restaurants, retail food establishments, retail tobacco establishments, summer camps, public and semi-public swimming pools, and semi-public beaches. The Department enforces applicable local and state regulations and statutes and provides information regarding environmental health issues; including but not limited to, mosquito control, pest control, private wells, on-site wastewater systems, housing, hazardous materials and air and water quality.
The Planning Department/Planning Board provides for conscientious and orderly land use development through Comprehensive Planning, Subdivision Control and Zoning Bylaw and Zoning Map review; to develop and implement land use development and growth management regulations consistent with the goals and policies of the Town; and to protect the natural resources, safety and aesthetic character of the Town through environmental impact and design review/site plan review and the issuance of special permits pursuant to the Zoning Bylaw.