Zoning Department

Provincetown's development is governed by the Zoning Bylaws, which included Site Plan Regulations and the Subdivision Regulations. Zoning is a town regulatory process concerned with land use and development. Zoning subdivides a community into "Zoning Districts" that define what types of land uses can go where, and controls the intensity of uses, the size of buildings, and their placement on the land. Subdivision regulations govern how properties are divided or combined in order to create individual lots for sale.

As stated at the beginning of our Zoning Bylaws:

The purpose of the following Bylaws is to promote the health, safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants by dividing the Town into districts and regulation the development therein, under the authority of Chapter 40A, General laws, and of Article 89 of the Amendments of the constitution....

The key functions of the Zoning Department are to assist local property owners and project proponents to interpret and apply our local Zoning Bylaw (PDF) and to provide staff support to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Zoning staff provides professional advice, technical expertise and practical alternatives while working with applicants to create a complete application package so that the ZBA can make clear and fair decisions.

Relief from the requirements of the Zoning Bylaws is granted solely by the Zoning Board of Appeals as outlined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 12, and Article 5 of the Provincetown Zoning Bylaws, through a variance, a special permit, or an appeal. If zoning relief is required for your proposed project, please contact us to find out which sort of zoning relief may be appropriate. Zoning law is often times complicated and arcane, and legal representation might ultimately be required, but we will try to help you sort things out.