Anybody in Hadley or other CT River/Pioneer Valley Mass.?
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  1. #1
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    Default Anybody in Hadley or other CT River/Pioneer Valley Mass.?

    Apologies in advance if this is out of place. Thanks in advance for any input!

    I'm considering buying a house in western Mass. and trying to figure out potential zoning gotchas. I'm VERY early in the process so trying to avoid digging myself into a hole! I know there's a few folks here in central/western Mass and reaching out to see if anybody knows the turf well.

    I operate a very small CNC shop that could fit comfortably in most any residential garage, and do 95% R&D for a product I've been working on for a while, and the occasional parts for somebody. I run it as an LLC because I'm genuinely trying to build a business of it but it's not close to my day job. If it does become successful I'd expect to either contract out manufacturing or get a proper industrial unit.

    I started reading town zoning rules for one of the properties I like, and it's unclear whether I would stand a chance or not. It's in an area zoned as Agricultural-Residential, and there's an exemption available for a "Home-Based Business," but it's unclear whether I would fit into that. This is in the town of Hadley, for anybody wondering.

    Alternatively, I could keep the business address at my primary residence in Boston, and call the milling machine and welder in the barn a "hobby" or "farm tools," but if that's the case I might as well buy a place where I'm allowed to do what I want. I rent an industrial unit in Boston now, but for what I'm paying for the lease there I could pay the mortgage on a decent piece of property a couple hours outside the city, and get a nice garden in addition to shop space.

  2. #2
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    I'm not in Mass, but close, (40 minutes to Hadley) My son is living in Mass.

    Regardless of the zoning and ordinances, it's the neighbors who call the shots.

    One phone call to "the town", and you are sunk.

    And that is a tuff call...

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  4. #3
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    I have the "entering Pioneer Valley" sign in front of my shop. I am in Worcester County but growing up my school district was western MA all the way down to CT. My Dad grew up in Amherst, Hadley, Northampton area. We do still have relatives down there but I dont know too much about the home business side of things.

    I ran my shop out of my garage for 3 years and it was zoned Res-Com. We used phase converters at the time.

    I am sure a commercial space could be found at a reasonable price compared to Boston.

    I also think that If you can get the power needs in your residence You will probably be better off going that route. The valley has some of the most fertile ground in the country. The river floods every year and when it recedes the fish get left behind to fertilize the land and whatnot for your gardening needs.

    Lots of babes in the valley at the colleges. 50k-60k students in Amherst/Hadley. 100k students if you count Springfield/Westfield.

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    It so depends on the neighbors

    You can do whatever you want with the right ones, or nothing even what is legal with the wrong ones

    Try looking for already mixed use properties

    I started my business in my barn[in eastern mass], with good neighbors, but it also happened organically, and when it got busy enough, I moved

    You are moving into a new neighborhood and running a business right away. Even tolerant neighbors might see that as pushing it.

    If you buy 10 acres with a barn in the back it is different from a 50x100 lot with a garage 6 feet from the neighbors house

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    Best advice I can offer is to call the town hall in the town you're interested in moving to and ask the authorities there. There is no other way to do it without fearing the risk of being shut down.

    Sure you can just move there and do it on the sly......but you'll always be looking over your shoulder wondering when or if the knock on the door will come to cease and desist.

    Later,
    Russ

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    I know nothing of the area. But as Russ said, call the town/township first. They may be the ones you have to deal with or they may pass it off to the county. Here in the Land of 10,000 taxes/rules, my township doesn't give a rip what I do as long as the county is OK with it. I operate with a conditional use permit as a home occupational business. My neighbors have NO say in what I can do/can't do.

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    I'm from Western Mass. Where my folks live, you can't even have the truck
    you make a living with in your yard. Think Frito Lay or Pepperidge Farm.
    Though the cops let people keep them behind the station.

    My cousin is doing it on the sly right now.. Since yesterday. I'm not going
    to say where, but the town has been mentioned. We'll see how it goes.

    Like anywhere, the further away you are from people, the less likely they are
    to get mad. I would guess you would have a lot easier time in places like
    Warren or Monson than you would in Longmeadow. I'm pretty sure they can
    still arrest you there as a vagrant if you don't have at least $7 on your
    person.

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  14. #8
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    I think my shop may be in the same county as Amherst. I just went to the town hall and got a DBA for my location. Had to get the zoning manager to sign off on it.

    Try calling the town hall where you are looking. TOWN HALL not City Hall. You want out of those cities out there for sure.

  15. #9
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    Thanks all. I agree on the advice about how to do it the clean way--I haven't even looked at any property yet, so no reason to get into something that's going to give me trouble down the road.

    The last realtor I spoke to (she said she's getting more calls now than in any other time in 32 years ) said the way to do it would be to talk to the town building inspector. So that's probably the next step before I start getting too attached to anything.


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