Department of Planning and Development Services
To provide efficient and professional planning and development assistance and service to the Hartford community, while preserving the history, character and uniqueness of Hartford.
The Department of Planning and Development Services is responsible for the administration of local planning issues including, zoning permits, zoning enforcement, flood plain regulations, long range planning projects, housing, economic development, energy, downtown promotion, tourism, and administration of state and federal grants. The department staffs the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation Commission, Conservation Commission, Hartford Business Revolving Loan Fund Committee, Energy Commission and Design Review Committee. The Department also works closely with the Two Rivers-Ottaquechee Planning Commission, Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, Vital Communities, and Small Business Development Center.
Lori Hirshfield, Director
Jo-Ann Ells, Zoning Administrator
Matt Osborn, AICP, Planner, Assistant Zoning Administrator
Brenda Lamphere, Administrative Assistant
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When Do I need a Zoning/Building Permit?
Zoning/Building Permits are needed for business signs, some land improvements and any structure that is going to be erected and remain erected, regardless of the construction material (shed, gazebo, lean-to, pool) for single or two unit residential properties. See below regarding requirements for commercial and multi-unit properties.
What do I need to submit with the Zoning/Building Permit application?
You need a drawing showing:
- dimensions of the lot including all property boundary lines, abutting streets and north arrow;
- all existing and proposed driveways and structures, with dimensions of each and distances from the property lines;
- location of any surface water (streams, lakes, rivers, ponds) as identified on the most recent Hartford Natural Resources Map, and distance of the proposed structure from the surface water; and
- any portion of the property is in a Flood Plain.
Projects requiring public utilities must submit written determination from the Hartford Department of Public Works regarding impact fees.
Why do I need to show surface waters on my property?
The Town is concerned about protection of the areas surrounding surface waters known as the riparian buffer. To do this, the Town regulates what and how improvements may be done in these sensitive areas. If you are planning to place a structure or do any site work near surface waters, contact Matt Osborn at firstname.lastname@example.org before you begin to determine if you need further review.
Can I locate the structures anywhere on the property?
No. You need to find out the Zoning District the property is located in to determine what the minimum setback (distance) from your property line and public road needs to be.
Do I need a Zoning/Building Permit for a fence, hedge or retaining wall?
In most instances, no, and may be located on a boundary line if it can be erected and maintained from the property of the person erecting it. It can be up to 6.5 feet high from the ground except as follows:
· in Residential and R-C Zoning Districts, it can be as high as 3.5 feet within the front setback area;
· in the setback area separating residential and commercial uses, it can be as high as 8 feet from the ground, and
· in I-C Zoning Districts, it can be as high as 8 feet from the ground.
In Commercial Zoning Districts, retaining walls over 42" high need a zoning permit and certification by a Professional Engineer on the design, structural stability, and construction.
In Residential and Rural Zoning Districts, a permit is needed when the distance between the wall and any boundary or easement line is less than twice the height of the wall.
How do I find out if my property is in a flood plain and do I need any special approvals before I can construct?
The Town has maps which can be reviewed at the Department of Planning and Development. Some types of land improvements and construction of structures require additional local, state and FEMA reviews and approvals before construction can occur.
What approvals are required for commercial properties?
For any construction or change of use on a commercial or multi-unit (3 or more) residential property, you must first obtain Site Development Plan approval through a public hearing before the Planning Commission. Some projects also require a public hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustments- see schedule. Depending upon the impact of the project, you may be able to make the changes with an administrative approval rather than going through the public hearing process.
Do I need a Zoning/Building Permit to construct a driveway?
Yes, if you are removing from the lot more than 20 cubic yards per year of soil, sand, rock or gravel, or adding or moving on-site more than 200 cubic yards per year. You first will need to obtain Conditional Use approval through a public hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustments. If the removal or filling is in connection with a development for which Site Development Plan Approval has been granted, you do not need the Conditional Use Approval.
If you are accessing a public road, you also need a driveway permit from the Hartford Department of Public Works.
Are there fees associated with obtaining a Building/Zoning Permit?
How long does it take to process a Permit?
From the day that we receive the completed permit application, we have up to 10 business days to act on the application. Once it is approved, there is a State mandated 15-consecutive days which constitutes posting of the Permit Notice (be sure to return your signed confirmation memo when posted) in which the application could be appealed. If no appeal, the permit becomes effective at the end of the time period. The permit will be sent to you.
Must construction begin and be completed within a specified time period after I receive a Permit?
You must begin the project within 6 months and complete it within two years from the effective date of the permit. You may request a one time 6-month extension for each deadline before these time periods expire. Contact the Department of Planning and Development Services at 802-295-3075 or email@example.com when the project has been initiated and completed, or for an extension.
What should I do if there is a change in the project after I have received the permit?
You will need to obtain a new permit approving the change before the work is initiated. For commercial and multi-unit projects, you also will need to obtain approval from the Planning Commission and/or Zoning Board of Adjustments. Administrative approval in lieu of a public hearing may be possible for some projects if the change is minor and has no adverse affect.
How do I apply for an Administrative Approval?
You must submit to the Zoning Administrative Officer a written description and site plan changes describing in detail the proposed change. If approved, you then will need to obtain a zoning/building permit.
What do I do after the project is completed?
Most projects require an inspection to ensure that it was constructed in accordance with the permit and have a Certificate of Occupancy issued. Contact the Department of Planning and Development Services at 802-295-3075 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a site visit.
Does the Town have building codes regulating construction methods?
No. The State does regulate commercial and multi-family construction. For more information, contact Mike Bedard at the Hartford Fire Department, 802-295-3232, or email@example.com.
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