Growth and Development


What does it mean to "go through Growth Management"?

Growth Management is a program which regulates development in the town by limiting the allocation of Title 5 sanitary system design flow at a property. In other words, the amount of gallons allotted to a property is regulated based on the use (e.g., bedroom, restaurant seats, retail space). The Growth Management program has four categories (Affordable Housing; Mixed Affordable/ Market Rate Housing; Market Rate Housing; Commercial/All Other/ Economic Development Permits) through which an applicant can apply for additional growth (gallons of use per day). The Board of Selectmen annually sets priorities within each category. These categories are allocated new gallons annually by January 15 at the Growth Management Review once the Board of Selectmen certifies that the Town is in compliance with its Department of Environmental Protection permit.

How does the Growth Management process work?

An application for Growth Management is reviewed by several Town departments. The application process may require that the applicant demonstrate that the parcel of land where the growth is to occur is able to physically manage the addition of flow by producing an engineered on-site septic system plan without any variances to State or local regulations.

To start the Growth Management process,

  • Meet with Building Commissioner or Town Planner to determine applicability (whether Growth Management applies) and which category the application will fall under.
  • Demonstrate ability to grow/expand – growth is limited to Title 5 capacity unless there is a public purpose (examples of public purposes include Economic Development, affordable housing, municipal use, or a laundromat). You may work with the Health Department to understand your current Title 5 capacity.
  • Receive all necessary discretionary permits and approvals.
  • Submit building permit / growth management application to get into the queue.
  • Receive award, and proceed with finalizing building permit approvals.

How are Growth Management gallons allotted?

Growth Management allocations are distributed based on an application process. Zoning Bylaw Growth Management Categories Section 6400 (PDF) lists the priorities for the Growth Management Allocations. The first listed use within each General Use Category shall be the highest use priority within that General Use Category. If all gallons are allocated for a particular use within any given year, a first come first serve queue will be established based on priority for each category.


How do I know how many legal bedrooms I have?

There are two things you need to know when looking into whether a room in your dwelling is legally a bedroom. First, you need to know the State Title 5 design flow of your dwelling – this is the gallons per day you are assessed for the municipal sewer, or the gallons per day your septic system is designed for. Per the State Title 5 Code, each bedroom is allotted 110 gallons per day. For example, a single family home with a septic system designed for a flow of 440 gallons per day, there should be four legal bedrooms in the dwelling.

Secondly, any room that fits the definition of a bedroom (as defined in Provincetown Board of Health Regulations Part VII, Article 6) may be considered a bedroom from the Health Department's perspective – even if you do not use it as a bedroom. Conversely, rooms that have traditionally been used as a bedroom, but do not meet the current definition of a bedroom may qualify for a Historic Bedroom Determination from the Board of Health. Please see the questions below for more information.

What is a legal bedroom?

It is always best to check the current Board of Health regulations (Part VII, Article 6) for the current definition of a bedroom.

How can I add a bedroom to my property?

To add a bedroom to an already existing dwelling the property owner must demonstrate through an engineered Title 5 septic plan that the parcel of land can maintain a septic system for the increase in flow without any variances from State or local regulations. If adding a bedroom includes any sort of construction or demolition, you must apply for a permit from the Building Department.

Can I rent a room out in my house?

If you would like to rent out a room in the house you own and in which you live, you do not need to apply for a Certificate to Rent. You do need to ensure that the house and room meet all Minimum Standards of Human Habitation (105 CMR 410).

If you are renting out more than three or more rooms in your house, then you may need to register as a guest house. Please call the Licensing Agent at (508) 487-7000 extension 535 for more information.