APA-MA Publications

Open Meeting Law Resources

Effective July 1, 2010, authority for the enforcement of the Open Meeting Law has been placed with the Attorney General’s Office. The AGO’s website will provide you with up-to-date information on the law, regulations, training materials and schedule, and complaint procedure that the AGO will provide as well as the status of the public comment period surrounding the emergency regulations.

Quick Glance at Open Meeting Law

Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law Guide (pdf)

For all official information about the Open Meeting Law, see the Open Meeting Law resources on the AGO’s website.

Neighborhood Road Design Guidebook

The Neighborhood Road Design Guidebook, which is a joint venture between the Chapter and  the Massachusetts Homebuilders Association is currently underway. The Guidebook includes the latest in sustainable road design best practices including low impact development techniques. Its’ focus  is on local residential neighborhood streets, an area that is under the control and influence of the Commonwealth’s municipalities.   It has  a focus on neighborhood streets as more than just pathways for vehicles, but also pedestrians and bicycles. The benefits of sustainable road design are many and well detailed within the guidebook.  They accrue to both the community, its future and current residents and to the developer.  The collaboration between homebuilders and planners is to be commended. Download your copy today.


DHCD Zoning & Land Use Regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has recently updated its Zoning and Land Use Resources website. Resources on the site, including annotated versions of The Zoning Act and Municipal Planning & Subdivision Control Law and The ANR Handbook (Approval not Required Plan), will aid planning boards, zoning boards of appeals, other municipal officials, and interested residents in the area of zoning and land use. These publications are intended only for informational and reference purposes. When a question of legal interpretation arises, local officials should always seek the advice of their municipal counsel. Topics within the website include:

  • Overview of the Subdivision Control Law
  • The Zoning Act
  • Adopting Amending Zoning Bylaws
  • Decision Making Requirements of the Zoning Act
  • Grandfathered Lots and Plan Protection
  • Nonconforming Structures and Uses
  • Procedural Requirements of the Subdivision Control Law
  • The ANR Handbook (Approval Not Required Plans)
  • Municipal Planning and Subdivision Legislation


For additional information, please call Elaine Wijnja of DHCD at 617-573-1360. For more info, see: http://www.mass.gov/hed/community/planning/

Planning Board Reference Handbook

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission maintains a very useful Planning Board Reference Handbook.

The Planning Board handbook is a compilation of handbooks, guides, and other reference materials on a variety of planning topics. It can be used to introduce new board members to what being on a planning board entails, or to be used as a reference during meetings.

To view the Handbook, see: http://berkshireplanning.org/reports-and-documents/planning-board-resource-book-2015

The APA-MA Chapter maintains a listing of publications useful for planning professionals. We hope you find them valuable in your practice.

If you would like to submit a publication that may benefit your planning colleagues, please submit the following to communications@apa-ma.org:

  • 1-2 paragraph summary of the publication
  • Website hyperlink to the publication or a PDF file of the publication
  • Contact name/information


Thank you.