Zoning and Subdivision Revision

The Dorset Planning Commission is working on a comprehensive revision to the town’s Zoning and Subdivisions Bylaws, including a complete replacement of the zoning map and districts. The changes would affect all property in town. This holistic review and revision to the town’s regulations was recommended in the 2020 Dorset Town Plan.

The Dorset Planning Commission hosted  Community Meetings to present the draft, answer questions and take comments on the first draft of the proposed regulations in July. The Planning Commission considered all comments received and has further refined the proposed regulations in response. The PC has released a revised draft as of 12 Jan 2023 and scheduled a public hearing on the proposed regulations for 28 February 2023 at 7 pm in the Town Office.

Summary of Recent Changes

In response to community input, the Planning Commission completed a final review of the proposed regulations and made several changes.

The proposed maximum building footprint for the Village Business and Village Mixed Use district was lowered to 3,000 square feet. The proposed lot coverage in the Village Business district was lowered to 60%. Event facility is no longer proposed as an allowed use in any of the village districts. Building a new structure in the village districts to be used for event hosting as an accessory use would also not be allowed.

The proposed minimum lot size in the General Business and Rural Mixed Use districts was lowered to 2 acres. Most of the industrial uses proposed to be allowed in the Rural Mixed Use were moved from permitted to conditional uses.

Some language was added to the Design Review standards to address preservation of the remaining marble sidewalks and walkways, and installation of new outdoor lighting in the historic area.

Helicopter and light plane landing areas are proposed to be prohibited townwide.

Specialty schools were moved from permitted to conditional uses where proposed to be allowed.

Language was added to the subdivision section to prohibit building envelopes above 2,000 feet in elevation.

The PC also made two changes to the proposed zoning map since the last update in September in Dorset Village, changing areas previously proposed for the Village Mixed Use district to the Village Residential district.

Online Map

You can use the online map to find your property or other area in Dorset that you are interested in (updated 5 Jan 2023). The link will show you two maps side-by-side. The currently adopted zoning map is on the left and the proposed zoning. The zoning districts are shown if different colors.

You can enter an address in the search box (upper right) or just pan and zoom to find a specific location. If you click on a location, a box will pop up and tell you what the existing and proposed zoning districts are for that location.

Once you know the proposed zoning district(s) you are interested in learning more about, you can download the handouts for those districts (below). There are also other informational handouts available. You can download a copy of the proposed regulations and maps (below).

You can ask questions or make comments through the contact form (below) If you want to get paper copies of the handouts, maps or proposed regulations, contact the Dorset Town Office.

Draft Land Use Regulations

Documents Available for Download

In addition to a PDF of the proposed regulations in their entirety, there are also a series of maps and handouts available for download.

  • Comment Matrix (through 26 September 2022)
    This matrix will be used to track changes made to the proposed regulations going forward from the first public review draft. It includes specific requests for changes to the proposed regulations. It is not inclusive of all questions or general comments received by the Planning Commission in writing or at public meetings. It summarizes the requests for specific changes to the proposed regulations and zoning map for PC consideration and the PC action on each.

  • Comments Received (through 23 August 2022)
    This is a compilation of the written comments submitted electronically and responses in chronological order.

  • Technical Review
    This document was prepared prior to the PC starting the revision to the land use regulations. It evaluated the adopted zoning and subdivision regulations against the policies of the town plan and identified out-of-date provisions that no longer conform to state or federal law.

Submit Questions or Comments

Note: The PlaceSense office will be closed between January 19 and February 15. We will compile and respond to comments and questions submitted during that period upon our return.