Zoning & Ordinance Info


The following outline is a chronological step-by-step explanation of the permit process in the City of Greenfield:

  • Contact Department of Planning and Development staff to schedule a preliminary consultation.
  • Submit conservation permits to the conservation agent, and zoning and subdivision applications to Planning staff for determination of completeness prior to submission to the city clerk for certification.
  • Attend public hearing or administrative review to present the proposed project.
  • A decision is made by the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Inspector of Buildings on zoning, wetland, subdivision, and building permits.
  • If necessary, record permits at the Registry of Deeds after the specified appeal period.
  • Apply for all other development related permits, approvals, and licenses.
  • Upon receiving all necessary permits, approvals, and licenses, apply to the Building Inspector for a Building Permit. Building permit applications are not deemed complete unless they include building plans, a plot plan, and copies of permits.
  • Schedule the required inspections during construction.
  • Upon completion of construction:
    • Apply to the Conservation Commission for a Certificate of Compliance for projects involving wetlands.
    • Apply to the Planning Board for a Certificate of Completion for subdivision roads and utilities.
    • Apply to the Building Inspector for an Occupancy Permit.


Greenfield is divided into 11 zoning districts. The Zoning Ordinance provides detailed information pertaining to land uses along with dimensional and setback requirements within each district. In addition, it prescribes other requirements such as open space, parking, and landscaping.

Your project proposal will follow one of three courses of action as the first step in the permit process. They are as follows:

  • Grandfathered Uses: A "grandfathered" use, also called a legal non-conforming use, is a condition that occurs when, on the effective date of adoption of a zoning ordinance or on the effective date of an ordinance text amendment or rezoning, an existing lot, structure, building, sign, development, or use of an existing lot or structure does not conform to one or more of the regulations currently applicable to the district in which the lot, structure, building, sign, development, or use is located. Such uses are allowed to continue to operate until such time as the use is discontinued and/or abandoned for a period of two or more years. After the two-year time period, the use of the property must conform to all existing ordinances and regulations.
  • Allowed by Right: If the project proposal meets all of the zoning requirements and does not need any special permits or variances, then the application may proceed to the next phase of the approval process.
  • Special Permits (Section 200-60): Under the Zoning Ordinance, specific uses are allowed by special permit only. Under most circumstances the Special Permit Granting Authority is the Zoning Board of Appeals, unless otherwise designated, in which case the Planning Board or the Board of License Commissioners will be the Special Permit Granting Authority.
  • Variance to the Zoning Ordinance (Section 200-64): The ZBA may grant a variance from the Zoning Ordinance if it finds that:
    1. A literal interpretation of the Ordinance would impose a substantial hardship, financial or otherwise;
    2. The hardship is owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape, or topography affecting the land or structure in a special way, but not the zoning district in general; and
    3. Relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good or without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent and purpose of the Ordinance.

You can see the city of Greenfield Zoning Ordinance document here.

You can see/download an 11 x 17" City of Greenfield official Zoning Map here.

You can see/download a full-size City of Greenfield Zoning Map here.

The Zoning Board of Appeals page is here.