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More than 40 years ago, the Hawley Planning Board proposed and town voters accepted the Protective Bylaws, Hawley’s first attempt to maintain and enhance “the rural nature of the town of Hawley.”

Since then, the town’s protective bylaws and zoning bylaws have addressed matters such as driveway construction, site subdivision, lot road frontages, building setbacks, parking, and large-scale or commercial projects. Most recently the Planning Board conveyed the oversight or review of site plans (for large-scale projects) to the Zoning Board of Appeals (currently the town’s Selectboard).

Consulting with the Planning Board is the recommended first step for any town resident to take when considering a construction project. While most inspection and permit aspects are now handled by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), and both new and renovation construction must adhere to the Commonwealth’s building code, the Hawley Planning Board can guide the resident to ensure that the town’s building requirements are met. (Also recommended, for overall site development, is a consultation with town’s Conservation Commission in order to ascertain any impact on existing wetlands and other environmental impacts.)

The Planning Board further suggests reviewing the town’s protective bylaws to ensure that basic siting, size, and septic requirements are met. Generally, projects can proceed after Planning Board review; most projects fall in the ANR [Approval Not Required] category, in which case the Planning Board signs off on a project, and the plans and documentation can proceed to FRCOG for the necessary building permit(s) and necessary inspection phases. Note that so-called perc and soil testing (once done by the Town’s Board of Health) are now supervised by FRCOG.

As you embark on your project, members of the Planning Board are available to answer your questions and ensure that your proposed construction will meet town, regional, and state requirements and receive all necessary building permits. To get in touch with the Planning Board, call the Town Office at 413 339-5518 or email

  • Kimberly Orzechowski, Chair
  • Peter Beck
  • Lloyd Crawford
  • Harold Green
  • Trina Sternstein
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