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Applying for a Special Permit on Nantucket


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A Nantucket property owner may need a Special Permit for a variety of reasons. This could include anything from desiring to create a subdivision, wishing to use your property for a specific use that is not explicitly allowed in zoning laws, or even creating additional parking. Depending on what zone your property is in, and the type of change needed, different steps will need to be followed. This can be confusing and complicated, but if you know where to begin it will help you navigate the process. Read on for helpful tips and links on applying for special permits from Liza Hatton.

If the special permit you are seeking is in regard to what use is allowed in your zone, you would begin by referring to the “USE CHART” the Town of Nantucket provides. This chart breaks down each zoning category and what is allowed, or may be allowed, in each zone. Based on the information in this chart, you can then consult the Zoning Code of Nantucket to obtain additional details on exactly what is required and what specific code you are seeking relief from.

In order to apply for a Special Permit, you must fill out the application in which you detail exactly what your intentions are. Along with the application, the applicant must submit any relevant plans or surveys that demonstrate what is being requested and a list of the abutters to your property who will need to be notified of your intention. In addition, the town will publish a notice in the Inquirer and Mirror for 30 days prior to meeting informing the public of the Special Permit sought. All these materials (there is a detailed checklist included with the application) must be turned in at least one month prior to their meeting date the 2020 Meeting Schedule can be found HERE.

Once the meeting is held to review your request, you can typically expect to have one additional meeting to iron out the details and supply any other materials that are requested. If your special permit is approved, the public can submit an appeal for 30 days after the approval date. Realistically, in terms of timing you would be looking at timing-wise is approximately 90 days to go through the entire process. When the special permit is approved, the permit is filed at the Registry of Deeds. One must act on the special permit within two to three years or it will be voided. If you do not act on it within this time frame, you need to file an extension so you do not have to go through the process again.

Every situation is different, and the application process can vary depending on what you are planning. Catherine Ancero is a great resource at the Planning Board Office and she can be emailed at: if you have any questions about your own application. Feel free to contact Liza if you want to strategize how to maximize the use of your current property or if you want to see what options are out there.