Skip to content

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

DEVENS — The Devens Enterprise Commission during a Public Hearing held at its meeting Tuesday night approved proposed changes to its official rules and regulations, with a few amendments, primarily language, as discussed.

Mostly, they talked about sheds. Where they can go, how big they can be, and what it means to be “behind the established line” in terms of streets and existing structures.

This was classic zoning conversation, with DEC commissioners acting in one of their roles as sole permitting authority for Devens and in lieu of traditional land-use and health boards.

According to DEC Director Peter Lowitt, these are changes Devens residents asked for, especially those living in historic houses with restrictions that rule out sheds.

Once the state approves the revised DEC rules and regulations, which have already been reviewed and approved in writing by the Massachusetts Historic Commission, historic district rules will be relaxed accordingly.

Then residents in the district may put sheds on their properties, one per lot, provided that the buildings conform with the new rules.

For example, the structures can’t be permanently attached to a foundation, so that if the sheds become unsightly, they can be removed.

Size is limited to 120 square feet and the shed can’t be visible from the street or “any street,” as the amended text will read.

A few set-back parameters also apply, some of which are referenced in another section of the rules and regulations, Lowitt said.

Besides sheds, new rules and regulations allow fences to be six-feet versus five-feet high, with the usual caveats, such as finished sides facing the neighbor’s yard.

Some of the new provisions are “tech-driven,” Lowitt said, allowing variety in roofing materials and windows, which are now available in vinyl that looks like wood.

Besides semantic nuances, concerns commissioners raised included how to avoid creating a “jungle” of sheds in the backyards of multiple dwellings outside the historic district, with one shed allowed per unit.

The rules and regulations specify that the structure or structures may not occupy more than 20 percent of the yard space, Lowitt said. beyond that, the issue of style and color would be best addressed by the Homeowner’s Association.

Commissioner Paul Routhier suggested that DEC staff bring the matter up with the Housing Authority.

Lowitt agreed it was a good idea, as were other amendments commissioners asked for.

After some discussion, Chairman James DeZutter called for a motion to approve the requested changes, subject to the amendments. The roll call vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.