Building Department - FAQ's

Q:        What work requires a Building Permit.

A:        Anything other than paint and paper will probably require a Building Permit.  This also includes most repairs, eg. Roofing, siding, replacement windows, etc.

Q:        Do I need a permit for a shed.

A:        All shed’s, whether site-built or purchased pre-fab. must have a permit.  Sheds over 120 square ft. (10 x 12) or over 10 ft. in height must also have a frost resistant foundation.

Q:        Can I place my shed, pool, cabana, or garage anywhere on my lot I choose.

A:        Yes, provided that you comply with the setback distances for the zoning district your property is located in as well as required setbacks from wetlands and septic systems (as determined by the Conservation Commission and Board of Health, respectively).  To go closer to the property line than zoning allows requires a special permit from the Z.B.A.

Q:        The building permit application is very complicated and doesn’t seem to apply to what I want to do.  Where can I get help?

A:        The application is geared towards new construction and a large number questions refer to the process of building a house or other building.  Answer the questions that make sense with regard to the work you want to do.  To obtain a permit to replace your existing roof require you to fill in the statistical information at the top portion of the form, owner, address, contractor, etc., and then describe the work in the space at the bottom of the application.  Other information is available from your property tax receipt.  We are always willing to answer your questions and help with the paperwork.

Q:        How do I find out if what I want to do is OK?

A:        Interpreting the Zoning By-Law can be very difficult and confusing.  A copy of the By-Law is available on line and for purchase at the Town Clerk’s office.  It contains a table of density regulations and a table of use regulations  [both the use (what you want to do), and the structure (the building you want to do it in) must be allowed for your project to fully comply with the regulations]. The answer to most building  / zoning questions can be found there.  We’re here to help you sort it out.

Caution:  Don’t make any commitments before you check the zoning!