Planning Board



The Cottages at Drakes Landing, 365 Main St, will begin construction on May 10th, 2018 by laying out the survey control points and erosion control. This Open Space Preservation Development will consist of 10 duplex and 24 detached condominium units.

The hours of operation are Monday through Friday 7AM to 5:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5 PM on Saturday. These work hour restrictions are for work related to external building or site related construction. If you have any construction process questions you can email Cottage Advisors at or call (978) 792-2231. For access to the project approval documents and plans, please contact the Planning Office at or 978-363-1100, x125.



West Newbury Planning Board Mission Statement

  1. Execute responsibilities under Massachusetts General Laws.
  2. Manage growth to best preserve the rural character of West Newbury.
  3. Maintain and improve roadway aesthetics.
  4. Protect tracts of open space, link these by greenways, and support the development of an interconnected multi-use trail system.
  5. Support a range of housing options for people of varying age and income levels.
  6. Encourage development which minimizes sprawl.

Programmatic Goals

  1. Incorporate principles above during review, permitting and administration of projects and while analyzing existing bylaws.
  2. Recommend updates and improvements to zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations.  Continue discussions regarding future Zoning Amendments to the Open Space Preservation Development and Inclusionary Housing Bylaws.  Explore options for alternative housing arrangements.
  3. Pursue long-term planning efforts.  Continue to discuss and review improvements in the Business District.
  4. Work with Town boards to coordinate, simplify, and clarify procedures and regulations.
  5. Pursue Grant Opportunities.
  6. Identify additional resources to consult with in town planning matters and bylaw updates.
  7. Continue to develop efficiencies in the office to respond to increasingly more complex projects, applications, and bylaw/zoning issues. 

General Overview

The Planning Board is responsible for reviewing development plans submitted by applicants who apply to develop a parcel of land for residential, commercial, or other uses. Procedures and requirements outlined in state laws, the Zoning Bylaw, and Subdivision Rules and Regulations are followed. A project may involve the need for a Site Plan Review, a Special Permit, a Definitive Subdivision Plan, or endorsing of an Approval-Not-Required plan. Applications are available in the Office of the Town Clerk, and from the Planning Board Office. The Town Clerk's office has the Zoning Bylaw available for $15 and Subdivision Rules and Regulations available for $20.00 each. These documents are also posted on the Town’s website.

The Planning Board meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Planning Board Office on the second floor of the Town Office Building. The public is welcome to attend. Email subsciptions are available for the Planning Board Meeting Agendas by subscribing to "News" on the West Newbury homepage.

The Planning Board is responsible for creating and updating the Comprehensive Plan.

The Planning Board, certain other town officials, or residents can initiate the process of amending the Zoning Bylaw. Zoning amendments must follow detailed procedures dictated by M.G.L. Chapter 40A, §5, to ensure that the public is aware of proposed revisions and has sufficient opportunity to provide input. The final changes must be voted on by Town Meeting and receive approval from the office of the Attorney General.


UPDATE - December 4, 2017 Working Group Meeting   

The Working Group met again with Harriman on Monday, December 4th.  Please CLICK HERE for the 12/4/17 PowerPoint Presentation and CLICK HERE for the meeting notes.

UPDATE - September 28, 2017 Working Group Meeting   

The Working Group met with Harriman on Thursday, September 28th.  Harriman presented a PowerPoint with some great information (CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATION).  

Please note that this project will result in an informative study, not a recommendation. The data provided in the report will give us a picture of what a package treatment system would look like, what it would cost, who it could serve and how it could be financed.

Harriman asked the Working Group for guidance on the geographic scope and vision for future growth in the Town Center, which will inform them on the size and capacity of the package treatment facility. The Working Group generally concurred with the proposed geographic scope shown on Slide 39 of the PowerPoint. The group generally concurred that the vision is to keep the Town Center in character with the scale of the Town – a village center with amenities and services serving the locale.

Harriman also asked the Working Group for suggestions on site(s) that could serve as an example to test the feasibility of such a system. The Working Group generally concurred that the Mullen Property is a logical choice due to its proximity to the Town Center and the Merrimack River (i.e. being down gradient of the Town Center and up gradient to the Merrimack River). The site is already Town owned and remains undeveloped. Harriman was asked to include information about abutter impacts and remediation options.

The next step is for the consultant to further refine the presentation based on the feedback received, look further at precedent communities and come back to the Working Group in late November/early December for a final review before a broader public meeting is scheduled.

UPDATE - July 27, 2017 Working Group Meeting CLICK HERE

July 10, 2017 Press Release

The Town of West Newbury has received a Massachusetts Downtown Initiative grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development. These grants provide technical assistance to communities in Massachusetts seeking to improve their town centers. The grant will be used to evaluate how the Town might support improvement and expansion of retail and commercial uses in West Newbury’s Town Center area to provide more services to residents and expand the tax base

Additional commercial uses or major renovation in the Town Center/Main Street area are limited due to obstacles such as the lack of sewer service. The study will look at providing shared sewer service to parcels in the Town Center area with a wastewater package treatment facility. The scope of work is primarily educational. The purpose is to consider how such a plant might be feasible, so the Town can consider if it should proceed in this direction in the future.

Harriman, a design and engineering firm, will assist the Town by evaluating successful case studies from other communities, identifying financing and operational models, and considering the implications of this facility for the community in West Newbury. Harriman will be guided by a working group that will identify key parcels to include in the study, including those that might house the package treatment plant and those that might be beneficiaries of the service it provides. The process will also evaluate the types of uses that could be included in the new service and potential implications for the Town’s budget, such as the initial capital outlay, ongoing maintenance and operating costs, and potential increases in tax revenue.

Harriman will make a presentation to the Town that identifies alternative models for consideration and the steps that would be required for the Town to move forward in evaluating, considering, and implementing the different models.

For more information about this process or to be added to the email list for updates, please contact: Leah Zambernardi, AICP, Town Planner for the Town of West Newbury at or at (978) 363-1100 ext.125.



Community Housing Strategies Workshop #2:  Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m., West Newbury Town Offices, 381 Main Street, West Newbury

Throughout 2017, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is working collaboratively with its communities to create the first Regional Housing Plan for the Merrimack Valley. In May, we began discussing the housing needs in West Newbury The next step will be to define what strategies and partnerships need to be in place to accomplish local and regional goals to create housing for all. The final plan will include a chapter, focused on West Newbury that will serve as our community’s certifiable housing production plan over the next 5 years.

On November 14, 2017 we invite you to participate in the West Newbury Community Housing Strategies Workshop to discuss housing needs in West Newbury.  The workshop will begin with an overview of the needs assessment developed over the summer, followed by a facilitated, interactive discussion of what strategies should be implemented to meet these needs. We will meet at the Town Offices, 381 Main Street, West Newbury MA  01985 for this workshop.

In addition to local conversations about housing needs, MVPC is hosting Regional Open House events throughout the region. To view the schedule and presentations from recent Open Houses and other information about this project, please visit MVPC’s Regional Housing webpage:

Finally, MVPC invites you to be part of an ongoing, online conversation using coUrbanize. To participate and add your ideas anytime, anywhere, please visit:

Spring 2017 Press Release

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) is creating the first Regional Housing Plan for the Merrimack Valley, to identify the types of housing we need, who we need to create housing for, and what strategies and partnerships need to be in place to accomplish local and regional goals to create housing for all. The final plan will include a chapter focused on West Newbury.

MVPC wants to hear from you!  Input from a cross section of West Newbury residents, property owners, businesses, leaders, etc. is essential to creating a meaningful plan. On May 31, 2017, MVPC held a Community Housing Needs Workshop at the Town Offices. The meeting was well attended!  Attendees were asked to descibe their preferred housing types, saw housing trend data particular to our Town, and were asked questions such as, "Do we need more housing for empty nesters looking to downsize?",  "Do we need more opportunities for first time homebuyers?", "Do we need more rental properties?"  Please click HERE to view the May 31st Presentation by MVPC.

In addition to local conversations about housing needs, MVPC is hosting Regional Open House events throughout the region. For more information, please visit MVPC’s project website by clicking HERE.   

Finally, MVPC invites you to be part of an ongoing, online conversation using coUrbanize. To participate and add your ideas anytime, anywhere, please click HERE.   

UPDATE:  October 23, 2017 - Fall Town Meeting - Zoning Articles

Approved:  Article 7  Groundwater Protection Overlay District

ARTICLE 7.   To see if the town will amend the Zoning Bylaw, Section 10 Groundwater Protection Overlay District by amending the Groundwater Protection Map to incorporate 31 Dole Place and Wellfield #1 located at 999 Main Street and to revise the title of the map to correspond to the Zoning Bylaw and to amend the date of the Map in Section 10.D. 

By request of the Board of Selectmen.

Click the following links for more information on Article 7.

Proposed Groundwater Protection Overlay District Map - Showing Existing and Proposed District Boundaries

Groundwater Protection Overlay District Map - Showing District Boundaries as Approved at Fall Town Meeting

Groundwater Protection Overlay District Additional Information

Rejected - Article 8 Temorary Moratorium on Marijuana Establishments

ARTICLE 8.   To see if the town will amend the Zoning Bylaw, Section 4.E to add a temporary moratorium on the use of land or structures for the operation of any marijuana establishments, as defined in G.L. c. 94G Section 1.  This moratorium shall be in effect through December 31, 2018. 

By request of the Board of Selectmen.



The West Newbury Planning Board (the “Board”) submitted an amendment to replace the existing Signs Bylaw with a new Bylaw that provides better clarity and guidance for users.    It seeks to strike a balance between having prosperous businesses, preserving the character of Town, and protecting residents’ enjoyment of their properties. Click HERE to view the Bylaw. 


Staff Contacts

Name Title
Leah Zambernardi, AICP Town Planner

Board Members (Elected)

Richard W. Bridges



John Sarkis



Vice Chair


Raymond A. Cook


Brian R. Murphey


Cindy Sauter

Associate Member

2018 (Appointed)