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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I divide my property and how do I go about it?

It's important to know the location of the parcel of land relative to the Zoning District, because it defines the minimum frontage, lot depth and net land area requirements for "buildable " lots. The Zoning District also defines the setback requirements and land use restrictions that may be applicable to the proposed lots. Once you have this information you will be able to estimate the maximum number of lots you can create.
Please note that the determining factors in the final design of the proposed division of land will be frontage and access. Their existence and/or absence will determine whether you will need to submit your proposal as a Form A (Not Requiring Approval Under the Subdivision Control Law) or as a Form C (Approval Required Under the Subdivision Control Law), which will have a bearing on the Planning Board's review process.

What is a Form A division of land and how does it differ from a Form C Subdivision of Land?

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 41 Section 81L defines a "Subdivision", as follows:
"shall mean the division of a tract of land into two or more lots and shall include resubdivision, and, when appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdivision or the land or territory subdivided; provided, however, that the division of a tract of land into two or more lots shall not be deemed to constitute a subdivision within the meaning of the subdivision control law if, at the time when it is made, every lot within the tract so divided has frontage on (a) a public way or way which the clerk of the city or town certifies is maintained and used as a public way, or (b) a way shown on the plan theretofore approved and endorsed in accordance with the subdivision control law, or (c) a way in existence when the subdivision control law became effective in the city or town in which the land lies, having, in the opinion of the planning board, sufficient width, suitable grades, and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed use of the land abuttting thereon or served thereby, and for the installation of municipal services to serve such land and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon". (MGL C. 41, S. 81L )
In layman terms a "subdivision" can also be interpreted to mean a division of a parcel of land into two or more lots, so that every lot within the tract of land so divided obtains adequate frontage and access on a way of adequate construction to accommodate the vehicular traffic relative to the proposed use of the land, the installation of municipal services (i.e. water, sewerage, gas, electricity), and number of building lots.
Form A (also referred to as an ANR Plan) is the division of a tract of land into two or more lots, whereby every lot within the tract so divided (a) has frontage on an acceptable way as specified in MGL C.41, S. 81L, (b) meets the minimum frontage requirement required by zoning for the district, and (c) is determined by the Planning Board to have vital access to the buildable portion of the lots.

Do I need a Special Permit?

It is difficult to answer such a question without knowing the particulars of the proposal. But you can obtain an answer by referring to the Tisbury Zoning Bylaws which lists permitted, special permitted and prohibited uses by Zoning District.
For additional assistance, we suggest that you call, fax, or email the Planning Board's Office.
Telephone: (508) 696-4270
Fax: (508) 696-7341

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Town of Tisbury  51 Spring St., P.O. Box 1239, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568  Phone (508) 696-4200
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