The Official website of the Bolton Economic Development Committee

Doing Business in Bolton


This guide is not all inclusive with regard to the necessary approvals, permits and licenses that may be required for a particular project but does provide a basic overview of the development review and permitting process. If you have further questions or comments please contact the Town Planner, Jennifer Burney at 978-779-3308 or planner@townofplanner.com

Overview of Development Permits

1. Zoning:

The Bolton Zoning Bylaw indicates where particular uses are allowed and which development projects require site plan approval, special permits or are allowed by right. Please refer to the Town’s website for a copy of the Zoning Bylaws at http://www.townofbolton.com/Pages/BoltonMA_WebDocs/docs

You can also obtain a hardcopy from the Town Clerk. You can access all applications and associated rules and regulations on the town’s webpage at:  Visit the particular board/committee page for relevant material.

The Town’s zoning map can be obtained here

• Board of Appeals – Hears applications for variances and special permits for pre existing non conforming uses. Visit the website for applications:  http://www.townofbolton.com/pages/BoltonMA_ZBA/index

• Planning Board – Hears applications for Special Permits for businesses located in the limited business, business and industrial districts. An informal consultation between the applicant and the planning board prior to the filing of an application is recommended and can prevent delays in the processing of the final application.   Some of the by right uses include office buildings, light manufacturing, research & development laboratories. Visit the website at: http://www.townofbolton.com/pages/BoltonMA_Planning/index for Applications and Rules and Regulations and http://www.townofbolton.com/Pages/BoltonMA_WebDocs/docs for the Zoning Bylaws.

• Design Advisory Team (DAT) – The goal of design guidelines is to create an acceptable consistent look and feel for future commercial development, keeping in line with the rural, historic feel of the Town of Bolton. These design guidelines were created to assist applicants by highlighting the key isues that should be addressed at an early stage in the design process and to encourage the creative application of design principles that involves collaboration and accommodation. Review by the DAT is required only if recommended by the Planning Board, Board of Appeals or the Board of Selectmen for commercial development within the Town of Bolton.

• Economic Development Committee (EDC) – The EDC is an advisory board. It is recommended that applicants meet with the board to discuss any proposed businesses or expansions. The board typically meets the first Monday of each month. Feel free to contact the Town Planner with any questions or to arrange a meeting with the above listed boards. Visit the website at: http://www.townofbolton.com/Pages/BoltonMA_Economic/index

2. Economic Incentives:

Bolton has been designated as an ETA (Economic Target Area) and an EDA (Economically Distressed Area) by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD). Bolton belongs to the Framingham-Marlborough Region ETA. This designation allows the Town to participate in Economic Development Tax Incentive Programs which can allow for local and state tax relief if certain criteria is met such as development investment and job opportunity. Visit the  Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) for further information and/or Rosemary Scrivens, Central Regional Director for Massachusetts Office of Business Development Phone: 508-792-7506 x128.  For more information or to discuss economic development or redevelopment opportunities please contact Jennifer Burney, Town Planner at 978-779-3308

3. Wetlands:

In accordance with the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (M.G.L. Ch. 131, Section 40 and Regulations 310 CMR 10.00) and Bolton’s local Wetlands Bylaw (Section 1.18) projects may require permits issued by the Conservation Commission to ensure protection of wetland resource areas. Please contact Carol Gumbart the Conservation Administrator at 978-779-3304 or by email at Visit the website at: Town of Bolton Conservation Committee.

4. Building:

Prior to the construction or alteration of a structure, the Building Inspector must issue a building permit based upon 780 CMR, the State Building Code. Contact Mike Sauvegeau at 978-779-3312 or buildinginspector@townofbolton.com. Visit the website at: Town of Bolton, Building Inspector.
The Building Inspector has limited hours: Mon, Wed, and Sat 8-9 am and Tues 7-8pm.4.

5) Business Certificates:

Town Clerk – Contact Pam Powell, Town Clerk at 978-779-2771 or to file a business certificate with the Town Clerk.

What is a business certificate?

Commonly referred to by the name “D/B/A” (“doing business as”) a business certificate creates a public record of the name and address of the owner(s) of a business. Consumers are entitled to this information and it may not otherwise be readily available.

Who must file a business certificate?

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, Section 5 states that any person conducting business in the Commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partner, shall file (a certificate) in the office of the clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated.

Under Chapter 110, Section 6 a business certificate is not required if a corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a partnership is doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner. Certain other associations and partnerships may also be exempt (refer to above citation for details.)

Who does not have to file?

You do not have to file a d/b/a when you are doing business as a sole proprietor under your own complete name, such as John Smith Company, or if you are incorporated and are doing business under the true incorporated name.

Are there any special requirements for a home-based business?

Call the Building Department at 978-779-3312 for this information.

How do I file or renew a business?

Forms are available in the Town Clerk’s Office. Each person named on the certificate must either sign the form in person at the Town Clerk’s Office or have their signatures on the form notarized by a Notary Public. The filing fee is $40.00. The business certificate is renewable every four (4) years.

What do I do if I discontinue or withdraw from business, or move to another location?

The Business Certificate Amendment is to be filed with the Town Clerk if one of the following occurs before the expiration:

1) Business is discontinued.
2) One or more of the persons named on the certificate is withdrawn or retired from the business or partnership.
3) One or more of the persons named on the certificate dies.
4) Change of residence of one of the named persons on the certificate.
5) Change of location where the business is conducted.

What is the penalty for failing to file a business certificate?

The requirement to file a business certificate is a State Law (MGL Chapter 110, Section 5). Failure to do so is punishable by a fine of up to $300.00 per month of violation.

Are business certificates public documents?

Yes. The business certificates are on file with the Town Clerk’s Office until one year after expiration, and may be viewed by anyone making a request.

Does the filing of a business certificate protect me from others using the same name?

No. The protection of a trademark (word, name, symbol or device) in Massachusetts is accomplished through the Secretary of State’s Office. Go to the State’s website: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/corpweb/cortmsm/tmsminf.htm Other information about starting a business in Massachusetts can be found on the State’s website

6. Licenses:
If you require a liquor license or a Common Victualler license please contact Linda, Town Secretary at 978-779-2297

7. Board of Health:
In order to protect, preserve, and maintain the existing and potential groundwater supply and groundwater recharge areas within the Town of Bolton, an applicant must file with the Board of Health and obtain and comply with a groundwater alteration permit. Please contact Michelle Carlisle the Board of Health Administrator at 978-779-2297 or at boardofhealth@townofbolton.com and/or the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, Sanitarian, Bill Brookings at 978-772-3338

8. Site Plan Review:

Please refer to the table of uses in the Zoning Bylaw for those uses that require a Special Permit with the Board of Selectmen  http://www.townofbolton.com/Pages/BoltonMA_WebDocs/docs. Additionally, Site Plan approval is required for all non residential uses that are being established or expanded in ground area or any building being erected or externally altered.

Please contact Linda Day, the Town Secretary at 978-779-2297

9. Signs:

Written permission is required by the Board of Selectment to place posters, handbills, placards, advertising matter or signs in Bolton. Please contact Linda Day, the Town Secretary at 978-779-2297

10. Business contacts:

• Rosemary Scrivens, Central Regional Director for Massachusetts Office of Business DevelopmentPhone: 508-792-7506 x128

Services: help companies create and retain jobs, as well as promote private investment in the state. Facilitate simplified, timely access to a host of governmental and non-governmental resources and incentive programs that will help businesses grow faster and stronger.

• Mass. Small Business Development Center NetworkCentral Regional Office – 508-793-7615 Services: Business development, cash flow analysis, marketing and sales strategies, financing options.