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Your first step should be to talk with the Zoning Enforcement Officer at the Code Enforcement Office. The Town of Bedford is divided into both residential and commercial districts. Within each district, there are uses that are allowed as-of-right while others may not be allowed at all and still some that are allowed only by Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Before you sign a lease it is important to know if your business is compatible with the zoning district in which it would be located. Your future tenant space may also be located in the town's Historic District which has strict guidelines on the exterior appearance of your building; including signs.
Under the MA Building Code, a building permit is required to renovate the space. Section 105.1 of the MA Building Code, 780 CMR, requires a building permit for any construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, removal or demolition of a building or structure. It also requires a building permit to change the use or occupancy of a building and to install or alter any equipment for which provisions have been made under 780 CMR. Along with the building permit application, adequate documentation needs to be submitted to accurately describe the scope of work to be performed. Additional approvals from other departments may be required depending on the scope of work and/or your type of business. Please be aware that in most cases, documentation will be required to be stamped by a design professional.
No. Under s.110.R5 of the MA Building Code, 780 CMR, an individual must be properly licensed as a Construction Supervisor to perform the work and/or supervise others when working in a commercial and/or multi-unit residential building. When the work is completed under the building permit and all work has been approved by the inspector(s) then a Certificate of Occupancy is issued to identify the new tenant within that space.
If the work you are performing does not trigger any building code or zoning code requirements then you would be required to file an application for a Certificate of Occupancy. Once filed, you should request an inspection of the tenant space by the building inspector approximately one week prior to opening; there are times when an inspection by the Fire Department is needed as well. During the inspection the building inspector will be looking at the existing building elements to determine if they are being properly maintained. For example, exit doors, exit signs and emergency lights should be operational; Handrails should be properly secured, fire extinguishers should be up to date and tagged, etc. You also want to tell the building inspector where and how you will be locating furniture, display cases, cubicles, etc. since their placement may obstruct a required egress path or door. If any building element is in disrepair then it will be required to be repaired/replaced and re-inspected prior to opening your business.
Yes. Art.40.3, s.1(A) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw (found under Article 40 of the General Bylaws) requires a permit to be issued by the Building Inspector prior to erecting, re-erecting, constructing or altering any sign. There is certain criteria that controls the size, number and placement of any given wall sign for a business so please be sure to review Art.40.4, s.3(A) to establish what criteria best fits your situation; additional / other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District. Please note that under certain circumstances you may be required to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals and/or the Historic District Commission for additional approvals.
Yes. First of all, please be aware that under Art.40.4, s.1(B) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw all internally illuminated signs are strictly prohibited. Secondly, Art.40.5, s.2(A) requires a Special Permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals for all externally illuminated signs. Please note that under certain circumstances you may also be required to go to the Historic District Commission for additional approvals.
No; unless approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Under Art.40.5, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw, no sign shall be illuminated between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am. This provision is strictly enforced so please be aware that if you are using an automatic timer to control the illumination of your sign then a power loss will affect the timer mechanism and it would need to be reset.
I'm thinking about having a big sale. Can I put an A-frame sign or temporary lawn sign outside to advertise the big sale?
No. Under Art.40.4, s.1(B)(10) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw these types of signs are considered movable freestanding signs and since they are not specifically permitted they are prohibited under the bylaw.
Yes. Art.40.4, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw allows one freestanding sign on each lot. There is certain criteria that controls the size and placement of any given freestanding sign for a business so please be sure to review Art.40.4, s.3(B) to establish what criteria best fits your situation; additional/other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District. Please note that under certain circumstances you may be required to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Historic District Commission and/or the Conservation Commission for additional approvals.
Art.40.4, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw also addresses awning signs, projecting signs, banners as well as other types of signs; certain signs have specific criteria that must be complied with so please review this section to see what best fits your situation. Additional/other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District.
Town of Bedford10 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
Town Main Directory: 781-918-4000
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