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Chapter 7.1 Section II Definitions

For the purpose of this bylaw certain terms and words shall have the following meaning. Words used in the present tense include the future; the singular number includes the plural, the plural the singular, the words "used" or "occupied" include the words "designed", "arranged", "intended", or "lot", "land" or "premises" shall be construed as though followed by the words "or any portion thereof", and the word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory. Terms and words not defined herein but defined in the Holden Building Code or Subdivision Regulations shall have the meanings given therein unless a contrary intention clearly appears. Words not defined in either place shall have the meaning given in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Third Edition. Uses listed in the Table of Use Regulations under the classes Retail and Service Trades and Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing shall be further defined by the Standard Industrial Classification Manual published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

ABANDONMENT: Any voluntary relinquishment or disclaimer of a use of a lot or structure which is nonconforming or the discontinuation of such use for a period of 2 years or more shall be considered an abandonment and such lot or structure shall not be used again except for a conforming use; for agricultural, horticultural, or floricultural uses on parcels less than five acres the abandonment period shall be for a 5 year period of non-use.

ACCESSORY SIGN: Any sign that advertises, or indicates the person occupying the premises on which the sign is erected or maintained, or the business transacted thereon, or advertises the property itself or any part thereof as for sale or rent, and which contains no other matter.

ADULT BOOKSTORE: An establishment having as a substantial or significant portion of its stock in trade, books, magazines, video and other matter which are characterized by their emphasis depicting, describing, or relating to sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in MGL Section thirty-one of Chapter 272 and which excludes minors by virtue of age.

ADULT DANCE CLUB: An establishment that, as its principle form of entertainment, permits a person or persons to perform in a state of nudity as defined in MGL, Ch. 272, Sec. 31.

ADULT THEATER: An enclosed building used for presenting materials distinguished by an emphasis on matters depicting, describing, or relating to sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in MGL, Ch 272, Sec. 31 and which excludes minors by virtue of age.

ALTERATION: Any exterior construction, reconstruction, or other action resulting in a change in the structural parts or height, number of stories or exits, size or location of a building or other structure.

AQUIFER: A geologic formation, group of formations or part of a formation which contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield potable groundwater to public or private wells.

AWNING SIGN: A sign attached to or painted directly on a permanent shelter, or a temporary retractable shelter, which is supported entirely from the exterior wall of a building.

BEDROOM: Any room in a dwelling unit greater than 100 square feet with the exception of bathrooms, kitchens, hallways and not more than up to four additional rooms designated as the dwelling unit's living room, dining room, family room and library/study. Said family room and library/study must be located on the first floor of the dwelling unit.

BOARD: The Board of Appeals of the Town of Holden, Massachusetts.

BUFFER: A strip or other area of land in its natural state or planted with screening plants and shrubs and intended to lessen any adverse external effects by or on a subdivision such as noise or visual intrusion.

BUILDING: A combination of any materials, whether portable or fixed, having a roof to form a structure for the shelter of persons, animals or property. For the purposes of this definition "roof" shall include an awning or any similar covering, whether or not permanent in nature.

BUILDING, ACCESSORY: A detached building, the use of which is customarily incidental and subordinate to that of the principal building, and which is located on the same lot as that occupied by the principal building and not for human habitation.

BUILDING UNIT: A single building, or a portion of a single building, having the principal means of ingress and egress separate and distinct from other portions of the same building.

CAMPING TRAILER: A unit used for recreational purposes on other than the storage site.

CLUSTER RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: A cluster residential development shall mean a subdivision to be developed as an entity by a landowner into lots for single family, duplex or townhouse residences where said residences are arranged on lots in one or more groups having area and yard measurements less than the minimum required in Table 2. These clusters or groups shall be separated from adjacent property and other groups of lots by intervening common land.

COMMON LAND: A deed restricted or town owned parcel or parcels of land or an area of water, or a combination of land and water within the site of a Cluster Residential Development as provided in Section XI, J. 3. a. (8). d. of this bylaw, designed and intended for the recreational use and enjoyment of the residents of the development and/or the residents of the town, exclusive of rear, side and front yard. Common land may contain such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate for the benefit and enjoyment of residents of the development and/or the residents of the town.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES: Premises owned and operated by a governmental or chartered non-profit organization, but not including fraternal, sports, or similar membership organizations.

COURT: An unoccupied open space, other than a yard, on the same lot with a building which is bounded on three or more sides by the walls of such building or wall erected in continuance with the building walls. An outer court extends to a street line or opens upon a front, side or rear yard. An inner court is enclosed on all sides by walls of a building.

DENSITY: The quotient obtained by dividing the number of dwelling units in a given tract by the gross or net site areas, to yield gross or net density, respectively.

DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Any plan for community development adopted by the Planning Board in accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, as most recently amended.

DRIVEWAY: An open space, located on a lot, not exceeding 24 feet in width for residential purposes and not exceeding 30 feet in width for commercial and industrial purposes.

DUPLEX: A single dwelling unit having its own private entrance and sharing only one common sidewall with another dwelling unit of the same type.

DWELLING UNIT: One or more living or sleeping rooms arranged for the use of one or more individuals living as a single housekeeping unit with, cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities, excluding Mobile Homes and Trailers.

DWELLING, MULTI-FAMILY: A building containing five or more dwelling units, including condominiums and cooperatives.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES: Services provided by public utility or governmental agencies through erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance of underground or overhead gas, electrical, steam or water transmission or distribution systems and collection, communication, supply, or disposal systems. Facilities necessary for the provision of essential services include poles, wires, mains, drains, sewers, pipes, conduits, cables, fire alarm boxes, police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants and other similar equipment and accessories in connection therewith. Specifically excluded from this definition are buildings necessary for the furnishing of adequate service by such public utility or governmental agencies for the public health, safety or general welfare.

EXCEPTION: A use of a structure or lot or any action upon a premises which may be permitted under this bylaw only upon application to and the approval of the Board and in accordance with provisions of Section XI.J.

FAMILY: A group of persons related by blood, marriage, or legal decree forming a household under one head including parents, children and domestic employees and occupying a dwelling unit as a single non-profit housekeeping unit, or not more than five unrelated persons occupying a dwelling unit as a single non-profit housekeeping unit.

FLOOD LINE: The limits of flooding from a particular body of water caused by a storm with a minimum intensity of 5 years or greater as determined and certified by a Registered Professional Engineer with knowledge and experience in drainage by showing evidence of such to the Building Inspector.

FLOOR AREA, NET: The sum of the areas of several floors of a building, measured from the exterior faces of the walls. It does not include cellars, unenclosed porches or attics not used for human occupancy or any floor space in accessory buildings or in the main building intended and designed for the parking of motor vehicles in order to meet the parking requirements of this bylaw, or any such floor space intended and designed for accessory heating and ventilating equipment.

FOOTCANDLE - The unit of illumination when the foot is taken as the unit of length. It is the illumination on a surface over one square foot.

FOUR FAMILY DWELLING: A dwelling intended and designed to be occupied by four families living independently in separate dwelling units.

GLARE: The unintended or non-purposeful projection of light of such an intensity or duration as to cause a public nuisance or a public hazard, including without limitation, visual interference with drivers or travelers on a public or private way.

GREENBELT: A deed-restricted or town-owned parcel or parcels of land or an area of water, or a combination of land and water within the site of a subdivision as provided in the Holden Subdivision Control Regulations, Section V, D, designed and intended as open space.

GROSS SITE AREA: The total acreage contained within the boundaries of a given tract.

GROUNDWATER: All water beneath the surface of the ground in a saturated zone, including perched groundwater.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: Any material or waste, in whatever form, which because of its quantity, concentration, corrosivity, flammability, reactivity, toxicity, or infectious, chemical, or radioactive characteristics, either separately or in combination with any substance or substances, constitutes a present or potential threat to human health, safety, welfare, or to the environment. Hazardous materials shall include, but not be limited to, those materials or wastes listed in S261 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended, or S40.900 of Title 310, Appendix I, of the Code of Massachusetts regulations, as amended.

HEIGHT: The vertical distance from the adjacent ground to the top of the structure of the highest roof beams of a flat roof, the mean level of the highest gable or slope of a hip roof, or the mean level of the top plate and the peak of a gambrel, mansard, or A-frame roof. In determining the height of a building, the mean finished grade contiguous to the building shall be used. In no case shall the height of the peak exceed forty (40) feet as measured from the mean finished grade contiguous to the building.

HOME OCCUPATION: An accessory use which by custom has been carried on entirely within a dwelling unit, and is incidental and subordinate to the dwelling use. Such use shall be carried on by the occupants of the dwelling unit with no more than one nonresident employee, and shall not in any manner change the residential character of the building as provided in Section XI-J-3-c-(3).

IDENTIFICATION SIGN: An accessory sign used only to identify the name, address and title of an individual or family occupying the premises.
INSTRUCTION SIGN: An accessory sign used only to give instructions or directions to the public regarding rights or means of ingress and egress to or from the property such as "No Trespassing", "Open", "Closed", "No Parking", "Deliveries at Rear", "Park Parallel", "In", "Out", etc.

INTERIOR PARKING SPACE: Any Parking Space which does not abut the perimeters of a parking area or building.

LANDSCAPING BUFFER:  A planting area that includes plant material, shrubs and trees.

LOADING SPACE: Each required loading space shall be not less than l0 feet in width 14 feet in height and of such a length that a truck or trailer occupying such a space, shall be located entirely on the lot with the building it is to serve, and shall not extend into the sidewalk or the street.

LODGING HOUSE: A house in which lodgings are let (a house other than an inn or hotel).

LODGING UNIT: One or more rooms for the use of one or more individuals not living as a single housekeeping unit and not having cooking facilities. A "Lodging Unit" shall include rooms in boarding houses, tourist houses, or rooming houses excluding Mobile Homes and Trailers.

LOT: An area or parcel of land or any part thereof, in common ownership, designated on a plan filed with the administration of this bylaw by its owner or owners as a separate lot. For purposes of this bylaw, a lot may not have boundaries identical with those recorded in the Worcester District Registry of Deeds. Land under water shall not be counted as land area for zoning purposes.

LOT AREA: At least 90% of the lot area required for zoning compliance shall be land other than that under water nine months or more a year, other than any marsh, swamp, or flat bordering on inland waters and other than land within utility transmission easements.

LOT, CORNER: A lot at the point of intersection of and abutting on two or more intersecting streets, the interior angle of intersection of the street lot lines, or in case of a curved street, extended lot lines, being not more than l35 degrees.

LOT DEPTH: The mean horizontal distance between the front lot line and the rear lot line.

LOT FRONTAGE: The distance measured along the front lot line between the points of intersection of the side lot lines with the front lot line.

LOT LINE, FRONT: The property line dividing a lot from a street (right of way). On a corner lot the owner shall designate one street line as the front lot line.

LOT LINE, REAR: The lot line opposite from the front lot lines.

LOT LINE, SIDE: Any lot line not a front or rear lot line.

LOT NONCONFORMING: A lot lawfully existing at the effective date of this bylaw, or any subsequent amendment thereto, which is not in accordance with all provisions of this bylaw.

LOT, THROUGH: An interior lot, the front and rear lot lines of which abut street, or a corner lot, two opposite lines of which abut streets.

LOT, WIDTH: The width measured along a straight line so placed as to constitute the minimum distance between the side lot lines, upon which no point shall be closer to the street than the required setback, and at least one point of which shall be on the setback line.

MEMBERSHIP CLUB: A social sports or fraternal association or organization which is used exclusively by members and their guests which may contain bar facilities.

MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT: A combination of (i) residential and (ii) commercial and/or (iii) business office-professional uses on a single parcel of land designed to accommodate the needs of both in regard to landscaping/open space, parking, density and other dimensional requirements and developed in conformance with a coherent, integrated plan.

NET SITE AREA: The gross site area minus all road right-of-ways, easements, and other areas not designated as part of a building lot.

NON-ACCESSORY SIGN: Any sign which is not an accessory sign, such as a billboard.

OPEN SPACE: An area of land intended to offer recreation opportunities, enhance neighborhood appearance and conserve areas of natural beauty; open space may include common land as defined above.

OTHER CONSUMER OR COMMERCIAL SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT: Any service establishment supplying commodities or performing consumer or commercial services directly to the general public.

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING BOARD: The Outdoor Advertising Board of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any board or official which may hereafter succeed to its power or functions.

OWNER: The duly authorized agent, attorney, purchaser, devisee, trustee, lessee, or any person having vested or equitable interest in the use, structure or lot in question.

PARKING SPACE: An off street space having an area of not less than 300 sq. ft. including access and maneuvering space but excluding driveways, whether inside or outside a structure for exclusive use of a parking stall for one motor vehicle and having a width of not less than nine (9) feet.

PERSON: Shall include an individual, corporation, society, association, partnership, trust or other entity, public or private.

PERSONAL SERVICES: A professional service such as a physician, artisan, teacher, lawyer, engineer, accountant and other similar occupations or services.

PLANNED BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: A development of a tract of land in single or consolidated ownership for specified purposes where the uses shall be contained and the development shall be served with one common parking area.

PORTABLE SIGN: Any sign which is movable and which is not securely anchored to the ground or to a building or structure. This includes wheeled trailers whose primary function is to carry a sign which can be loaned, rented or leased. It also includes signs on or attached to cars, trucks, buses, or trailers when such vehicles are parked off the premises and there is an intention to advertise a business or direct the public to the establishment.

QUARRYING: The business or occupation of extracting stone from an open excavation. Quarrying does not include the excavation and removal of sand and gravel.

RECHARGE AREA: Any porous, permeable geologic deposits, especially, but not exclusively, deposits of stratified sand and gravel, through which water from any source drains into and replenishes an aquifer, and includes any wetland or body of surface water surrounded by or adjacent to such area, together with the watershed of any wetland or body of surface water adjacent to such area.

RECORDED: Recorded in the Worcester Registry of Deeds or registered in the Land Court.

SHIELDED: As applied to a lighting fixture, this term means a lighting device designed, manufactured or modified such that no light is emitted or projected above the horizontal plane of the lighting device.  

SIGN: Any structure, device, billboard, placard, painting, drawing, poster, letter, word, model banner pennant, insignia, trade flag or representation used as, or which is in the nature of an advertisement, announcement or direction, or is designed to attract the eye by intermittent or repeated motion or illumination and which is visible from a street. House numbers shall not be deemed to be signs within the meaning of this bylaw.


(a)     The area of a sign shall be considered to include all lettering, wording, and accompanying designs and symbols, together with the background, whether open or enclosed, on which they are displayed, any frame around the sign and any "cutouts" or extensions, but shall not include any supporting framework or bracing which are incidental to the display itself.

(b)     The area of a sign consisting of individual letters, designs or symbols attached to or painted on a surface, building, wall or window, shall be considered to be that of the smallest quadrangle which encompasses all of the letters, designs and symbols.

(c)     In computing the area of signs, both sides of V-shaped signs, but only one side of back-to-back signs, shall be counted.

SOLID WASTES: Useless, unwanted or discarded solid materials with insufficient liquid content to be free flowing, including, but not limited to, rubbish, garbage, scrap materials, junk, refuse, inert fill material and landscape refuse.

STANDING SIGN: An accessory sign that is not attached to a building.

STREET: A way which is over 24 ft. in right-of-way width which is dedicated or devoted to public use by legal mapping or by any other lawful procedure. A street includes all public ways, a way which the Town Clerk certifies is maintained and used as a public way, a way shown on a plan approved and endorsed in accordance with the Rules and Regulations Governing Subdivision of Land in Holden, Massachusetts, and a way having in the opinion of the Holden Planning Board sufficient width, suitable grades and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed uses of the land abutting thereon or served thereby and for the installation of municipal services to serve such land and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon.

STRUCTURE: A combination of materials assembled at a fixed location to give support or shelter, such as a building, bridge, trestle, tower, framework, retaining wall, tank, tunnel, tent, stadium, reviewing stand, platform, bin, fence, sign, flagpole or the like.

STRUCTURE, NONCONFORMING: A structure lawfully existing at the effective date of this bylaw or any subsequent amendment thereto, which does not conform to one or more provisions of this bylaw.

TEMPORARY SIGN: A sign constructed of cloth fabric or other light temporary material with or without a structural frame intended for a limited period of display, including decoration displays for holidays or public demonstrations.

THREE FAMILY DWELLING: A dwelling intended and designed to be occupied by three families living independently in separate dwelling units.

TOWNHOUSE: A single dwelling unit, having its own private entrance and sharing at least one common side wall, as part of a continuous group of dwelling units.

TRAILER OR MOBILE HOME: A trailer or mobile home shall mean any vehicle or object on wheels so designed and constructed or reconstructed or added to by means of such accessories as to permit the use and occupancy thereof for human habitation, whether or not it is so used, whether resting on wheels, jacks, or other foundation and shall include the type of vehicle commonly known as a Mobile Home, which shall be defined to mean a dwelling unit built on a chassis and containing complete electrical, plumbing and sanitary facilities and designed to be installed on a temporary or permanent foundation for permanent living quarters, and being less than 20 feet in width in its completed habitable form, but specifically excluding camping trailers.

TWO FAMILY DWELLING: A dwelling intended and designed to be occupied by two families living independently in separate dwelling units.

USE: The purpose for which a structure or lot is arranged, designed, or intended to be used, occupied or maintained.

USE, ACCESSORY: A use incidental and supplemental to the principal use of a structure or lot, or a use not the principal use which is located on the same lot as the principal structure.

USE, NONCONFORMING: A use lawfully existing at the effective date of this bylaw or any subsequent amendment thereto which does not conform to one or more provisions of this bylaw.

USE, PRINCIPAL: The main or primary purpose for which a structure or lot is designed, arranged, or intended, or for which it may be used, occupied or maintained under this bylaw. Any other use within the main structure or the use of any other structure or land on the same lot and incidental or supplementary to the principal use and permitted under this bylaw shall be considered an accessory use.

VARIANCE: Such departure from the terms of this bylaw as the Board, upon appeal in specific cases, is empowered to authorize under the terms of Section XI K herein.

WINDOW SIGN: Any signs painted or placed on the inside of the glass of a window, or any sign situated for window display purposes that is supported away from the glass by means of a floor or counter stand, or ceiling or wall support such as wire or chains.

WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES: The structures and devices designed to facilitate cellular telephone services, personal communications services and enhanced specialized mobile radio service as defined in Section 704 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Included are towers, antennae mounted to towers or other structures, and accessory structures, such as sheds, which are directly required for facility operations.

Not included in this definition are antennae and dishes used solely for residential television and radio reception, antennae and dishes used for commercial or public purposes which are not visible from any neighboring property or public way, and amateur radio facilities used in accordance with the terms of any amateur radio service license issued by the Federal Communications Commission provided the tower is not used for commerce.

YARD: A portion of a lot upon which the principal building is situated, unobstructured artificially from the ground to the sky, except as otherwise provided herein. A court shall not be considered to be a yard or any part thereof.

YARD, FRONT: A space extending for the full width of the lot between the front line of the nearest building wall and the front lot line.

YARD, REAR: A space, unoccupied, except by an accessory structure or accessory use as herein permitted, extending for the full width of the lot between the rear line of the building wall and the rear lot line.

YARD, SIDE: An unoccupied space extending for the full length of a building between the nearest building wall and the side lot line.

Town of Holden 1204 Main Street, MA 01520
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