Q&A: Having Play Dates

Q Our condo community is considering converting a large community room into a gym and kids play space, separated from each other by a child fence. Are there any Massachusetts codes surrounding establishing gyms in residential buildings and can children occupy the same room?

—Curious in Cohasset

A “There are a number of issues raised by this question,” says John E. Shaffer, an attorney at the law firm of Marcus Errico Emmer & Brooks, P.C in Braintree, MA. “First, I will assume that the gym or fitness center and play space in the community room will be used exclusively by the residents of the condominium. Certainly many codes and statutes would apply should the intent be to create a gym/play space that will be open to the general public that do not come up in the context of a private facility. Assuming that the facilities will only be for the unit owner/residents, there is to my knowledge no special code or statutory requirements that would apply to a plan to simply use part of an existing community room as a fitness center and a child play space. Of course if there is to be significant construction involved, you would have to comply with local building codes, obtain a permit, etc. I would suggest looking at the condominium documents to see whether there are any limitations on the use of the community room that would preclude the uses that are being considered. Similarly I would check the local approvals of the condominium (special permit, etc.) and local zoning to see if there are any limits on the use of the space however, I think this is unlikely.”