Planning & Zoning

White River Junction Design Review District
White River Junction’s natural beauty and visual and historic character are important assets to the town, and contribute substantially to its economic base. In order to protect and enhance these attributes, the design review process ensures that development considers
  • Existing architecture
  • Sign placement and design
  • Site layout
  • Streetscape design
Although reuse of existing buildings is encouraged wherever possible, new construction is appropriate when designed with sensitivity to the historic character and design features in the district. Specific recommendations for development and redevelopment of the downtown are made in the: These documents incorporated into the Zoning Regulations by reference.

Within this designated district, all structures that are erected, reconstructed, altered, restored, moved, or demolished, or any type of land development, such as fencing, landscaping and signs, must be in compliance with the Design Review sections detailed in the bylaw. Not all improvements require review by the 5-member Design Review Committee, which makes recommendations to the Planning Commission.

To find out more, contact Lori Hirshfield at 802-295-3075 or or by email.

Zoning Permits
A zoning permit (PDF) is required prior to any land development in the Town of Hartford. Land development is defined as:
  • Any change in use of any building or other structure, or land, or extension of prior use
  • Construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building or structures
  • Division of a parcel into 2 or more parcels
  • Excavation in excess of 20 cubic yards of material per year or filling in excess of 200 cubic yards per year
Upon review of a zoning permit application, the Zoning Administrator will determine if any further reviews are necessary in order to approve the zoning permit. Once a complete zoning permit application is submitted, it is reviewed and a decision is rendered within 10 business days. The state of Vermont requires a 15-day appeal period once an application is approved before the permit is effective and issued. Once a zoning permit is issued, the applicant must start work within 6 months and be completed with the project within 2 years of the date of issue or the zoning permit will become null and void. One 6-month extension to both time periods may be granted by the Planning Commission prior to the start or completion dates.

Certificates of Occupancy
After the issuance of a zoning permit and prior to occupying a structure, the applicant must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO ensures that all approved projects are in compliance with the Zoning Regulations and any other required conditions of approval for the project. Contact the Department at 802-295-3075 to arrange an inspection for issuance of a CO. Be certain to complete the CO Application - Certificate of Compliance (PDF).

Sign Permits
The Sign Ordinance governs many aspects of signs and the standards vary by zoning district. Most signs require a sign permit (PDF). A list of exceptions is available at the Department of Planning and Development Services.

Home Occupations/Home Businesses
The purpose of the home occupation (PDF) and home business permits (PDF) are to regulate the usage of homes as offices and businesses. A zoning permit is required for both.

Subdivision
The division of a parcel into 2 or more parcels, revisions to a previously approved subdivision or other division of land for the purpose of sale, lease, license, and land development requires subdivision approval by the Planning Commission. The Town of Hartford has regulations regarding the subdivision of land. Copies are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. Subdivision applications require a public hearing with the Planning Commission. Public hearings are held every 5 weeks. Copies of the public hearing schedule (PDF) are available online.

Zoning permit application forms are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. For more information, please contact Zoning Administrator Jo-Ann Ells or Assistant Zoning Administrator Matt Osborn at 802-295-3075 or email.

Site Development Plans Any use other than single-family, 2-family dwellings or any structure and improvement to such use may not be established, expanded or modified without site development plan approval by the Planning Commission. Home occupations, forestry and agricultural uses are also exempt of site development plan approval. Upon the receipt of a zoning permit application, the zoning administrator will determine if site development plan approval is required. The Planning Commission reviews site development plans with respect to the following:
  • Compliance with other provisions of the zoning regulations
  • Landscaping, screening and setbacks
  • On-site circulation, parking and loading facilities
  • Protection of renewable energy resource
  • Provision of safety and convenience of pedestrians, bicyclists and handicapped persons
  • Traffic circulation between the site and the street network
Site Development Plan standards and other zoning regulations that may apply to a project are located in the Hartford Zoning Regulations. Copies are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. Most site development plan applications require a public hearing with the Planning Commission. Public hearings are generally held every 5 weeks. Copies of the public hearing schedule are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services or by clicking here. For more information, please contact Zoning Administrator Jo-Ann Ells at 802-295-3075.

Conditional Use Permits
Each zoning district breaks down uses into 2 categories - permitted uses and conditional uses. Permitted uses are allowed with a zoning permit and sometimes require site development plan approval by the Planning Commission. Conditional uses are allowed if specific criteria (listed below) are met to ensure that the use is appropriate for the area. Upon receipt of a zoning permit application, the Zoning Administrator will determine if a Conditional Use Permit is required. An application for a conditional use permit is reviewed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, who reviews the application to ensure that the following standards are met:
  • Any town bylaw in effect
  • Capacity of existing and planned community facilities
  • Capacity of the roads and highways in the vicinity
  • Character of the area affected
  • Objectives of the zoning district
  • Utilization of renewable energy resources
Almost all conditional uses also require site development plan approval by the Planning Commission. Conditional use permit standards and other zoning regulations that may apply to a project are located in the Hartford Zoning Regulations. Copies are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. Most conditional use permit applications require a public hearing with the Planning Commission. Public hearings are held every 5 weeks. Copies of the public hearing schedule are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. For more information, please contact Zoning Administrator Jo-Ann Ells at 802-295-3075 or by email.

Variances
The purpose of a variance is to gain relief from a provision of the zoning regulations. A variance allows an applicant to depart from the requirements of the zoning regulations provided that the applicant can prove adherence to the variance or setback waiver criteria as established by state statute. The Zoning Board of Adjustment reviews variance applications based on the following criteria:
  • Due to such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed with strict conformity with the provisions of the Zoning Regulations, and a variance is necessary to enable reasonable use of the property.
  • The unnecessary hardship has not been created by the applicant.
  • The variance does not alter the essential character of the neighborhood, substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, reduce access to renewable energy resources or be detrimental to the public welfare.
  • The variance will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least deviation possible form the zoning regulations.
  • There are unique physical circumstances or conditions peculiar to the property.
Upon receipt of a zoning permit application, the Zoning Administrator will determine if a variance is required. Variance applications require a public hearing with the Planning Commission. Public hearings are held every 3 weeks. Copies of the public hearing schedule are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services.

Flood Hazard Area Regulations
The Town of Hartford regulates development within flood hazard areas as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Copies are available at the Department of Planning and Development Services. For more information, please contact Zoning Administrator Jo-Ann Ells at 802-295-3075 or by email.

Fee Schedule
The following is a list of fees for each type of permit and service provided by the Department of Planning and Development Services.

Zoning Permits

Permit Fixed Fee
Per Unit Fee*
Single-Family Dwelling
$165 $0.05 / square foot
2-Family Dwelling / Multi-Family
$165 ($150 for additional units)
$0.05 / square foot
Motel/Hotel (Per Unit)
$75 $0.05 / square foot
Commercial Structure / Use
$365 $0.05 / square foot
Industrial Structure
$365 $0.05 / square foot
Accessory Structure (Decks, Sheds, Gazebos, Pools)
$50
$0.05 / square foot
Residential Alteration / Addition (Barns, Garages)
$100 $0.05 / square foot
Commercial / Industrial Alteration / Addition
$150 $0.05 / square foot
Signs (New, Refacing)
$35 $0.05 / square foot
White River Junction Design Review (Administrative)
$35 N/A
Minimum Fee
$35 N/A
Town Clerk Filing Fee for All Permits (As of July 1, 2009)
$10 N/A
*Per unit fees are based on the footprint of the structure and number of floors, including finished basement, if any.

Applications to Design Review, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment

Application Fee Additional Information/Fee Requirements
All Zoning Board of Adjustment Applications
$130 N/A
Site Development Plan
$130 Plus the square root of the gross leasable area or the square root of the activity footprint for other uses
Lot of Line Adjustment Between Existing Lots
$130 N/A
Minor Subdivision
$165 Plus $50 per new lot
Major Subdivision
$315 Plus $50 per new lot
Residential Planned Development
$400 Plus $50 per new lot or unit created
Non-Residential Planned Development
$400 Plus the square root of the gross leasable area or the square root of the activity footprint for other uses
Planned Development Amendment
$130 Plus the square root of the gross leasable area or the square root of the activity footprint for other uses
White River Junction Design Review Committee
$65 Includes Planning Commission approval, if required
Town Master Plan Amendment
$725 N/A
Town Zoning Regulation Amendment
$725 N/A
Administrative Approval
$65  

Document Hard Copy Fees

Document Fee
Master Plan
$20
Regulations/Master Plan (CD)
$5
Subdivision Regulations
$1
Zoning Regulations
$10

Residential Construction Impact Fees

Category Fee Demand Unit (per)
Fire/EMS $48.99 each dwelling unit
Libraries

$10.34

each dwelling unit
Recreation $340.45 each dwelling unit
Schools $0.88

per sq. ft. of heated living area ($1,315.00 CAP)

Residential Addition

Category Fee Demand Unit (per)

School

$0.88

per sq. ft. of heated living area ($1,315.00 CAP)

Non-Residential Construction

Category Fee Demand Unit
Fire/EMS $0.13 per sq. ft. of gross leasable area
MUNICIPAL WATER, SEWER OR DRIVEWAY PERMITS
Note:  Applicants utilizing Municipal water and/or sewer, adding or changing driveway, must see Public Works located at Airport Drive, prior to submitting application to Planning & Development in order to obtain contract and any applicable fees/liens (contract copy must be attached).