The Planning & Zoning / Land Use Department is responsible for the administration of planning and zoning, wetlands and subdivision regulations, as well as reviewing and processing zoning and inland wetland permit applications. The Department acts as the professional staff for the Planning & Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. The Department also provides accurate and timely information on land development to the various Town departments and the general public.
The Planning & Zoning Department's responsibilities extend from advising individual residents on zoning-related matters to consulting with regional, state, and federal agencies. Among other ongoing projects, members' work includes:
- processing applications and zoning permits
- preparing staff reports to the Zoning and Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Inland Wetlands Watercourses Commission
- providing timely informational updates to the public
- enforcing compliance with local zoning regulations
- maintaining public records of applications and Commission rulings
- recommending revisions to local regulations
- cooperating and consulting with local, regional, and state ad hoc land-use committees
- assisting in the periodic updates to the Towns Comprehensive Plan of Conservation and Development
All new structures and additions to existing buildings need an approved zoning permit prior to receiving a building permit. Generally, for most residential uses, the zoning permit application is reviewed by the Zoning Enforcement Agent (ZEA) who also acts as the Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer (IWEO). If the structure or addition complies with the zoning regulations the zoning permit is issued. Other activities may be allowed only with the approval of the Planning & Zoning Commission as part of the special exception process or if a variance is granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.