FAQ

FAQs

What is a FAQ?

FAQ is an acronym meaning frequently asked questions.

Fire Prevention

When is a permit needed from the Hartford Fire Department?
For new construction, alterations, renovations, additions, or demolition of public buildings.

  • Installation of new fire protection systems.
  • Whenever a public building changes uses.(Example 1: a business office becomes a mercantile.) (Example 2: a single family, owner occupied home becomes a rental.)
  • Whenever a place of assembly, which holds more than 50 people, changes ownership or increases the occupant load.
  • For the erection of a temporary structure for public use such as a tent over 1200 square feet, grandstands, or bleachers.
  • To conduct a hazardous process such as flammable liquid spraying, explosives storage and manufacturing, and flammable liquid storage.

You should contact the Fire Prevention Division for a complete list of situations that require a permit. A fire prevention permit is usually needed even if you have received a Town Zoning Permit.
What is a public building?

Most buildings that the public has the occasion to enter except for owner-occupied single-family dwellings, registered home day cares, and working farms.

How do I submit an application for a construction permit?
First you must develop a complete set of plans that adequately detail the scope of the work. Often, these plans must be developed by a Vermont licensed design professional such as an architect or engineer. Once you have a plan, you must complete the application for construction permit. Submit completed application with the appropriate fee to:

Fire Prevention Division
Hartford Fire Department
812 VA Cutoff Rd.
White River Jct. VT 05001
802-478-1931

Construction Permit Application

Listers

When will the reappraisal begin?

The process is underway. The Town has engaged Vision Governmental Solutions to provide on the ground and in the neighborhood contacts with Town property owners.

How will I know when someone is in my area?
The Listers office will be updating the website of what area of town is being canvased. Look for the "Where are the Data Collectors this week?" on the 2017 Revaluation News page.

We will also be sending out a phone message a week or two before they are in your area thru the Vermont Alert (VT-Alert) system. You can also call the office anytime to check 802-295-3077.
How do I enroll in the VT-Alert system?

You can enroll by going to https://www.vtalert.gov/enroll and fill in the required information. For more information see the FAQ for Vermont Alert.

What can I expect of the inspection?
Your home will be visited by a representative of Vision Governmental Solutions. The VGS representative will take a photo of the front of your home and inspect the interior and exterior making note of the construction, quality and condition of your residence.

The VGS staff person will not be assessing your furniture, decorative elements, appliances or personal items that are not built-in, or any other removable elements.
Will the VGS representative ask to come into my home? May I deny access?
The VGS representative will ask for your permission to enter your home to conduct an interior inspection to note the interior features of your home and their construction, quality and condition. You may deny the VGS representative access to your home.

We strongly encourages all residents to allow an interior inspection. It is vital in having accurate records to determine your assessment. However, if you deny access and later want to appeal the valuation, an interior inspection is required at that time and your appeal will not be considered without it.

If you choose not to admit the VGS representative, the VGS representative will appraise your home from a street view. There may still be an increase or decrease in the value of your property. Refusing entry does not mean that a new assessment will not occur.
Will the VGS representative take photographs of the interior of my home?
The VGS representative will not photograph the interior of your home.
How can I feel safe with a stranger in my home?
The Town of Hartford has received and reviewed background checks for all VGS representatives that were completed recently in connection with a VGS project for another town. In addition, VGS has conducted its own background checks on all of the representatives who will be visiting the homes in the Town and gathering data for the appraisals.

The VGS representatives will have two identification badges, one from the Town and one from VGS. All have been employed by VGS for more than 15 years. All of the representatives, with one exception, were on the staff who prepared the Town’s reappraisal in 2007.

If you are concerned about someone in your neighborhood, you are encouraged to call the Hartford Police Department or the Town of Hartford Assessor’s Office to verify that the person at your door legitimately represents VGS. Also ask to see BOTH forms of ID.

If you are concerned about being alone then we encourage you to invite a neighbor, a friend, or a family member to be with you during an interior inspection so that you might feel more secure.
When will I learn about the new assessment value of my property?
As part of the revaluation process once all the values are estimated for the entire town, the values will be published for each property owner to review, approximately May 2017.
What if I disagree with the value resulting from the reappraisal?
First, review your entire property card. If there are any discrepancies, notify the Listers to correct the record. Second, if you still disagree with the assessment, you will need to make an appointment for a 'Grievance' hearing with the Listers.
More information about how to appeal and the time frame within which an appeal may be filed will be provided when the new appraised values are issued.
Who may I call if I have questions or additional concerns?

The Listers office at the Town of Hartford. The number is 802-295-3077 or email pstark@hartford-vt.org or mwilson@hartford-vt.org

What if I am unhappy with my taxes, can I grieve them with the Listers?

NO. The assessed value is what is utilized to set your taxes. The tax rate is based on what is approved in March at the education and town meetings as the budgets. You need to VOTE!

What if I have a hardship?

There are several reasons stated in the law that outline what is an acceptable hardship in order qualify for property tax relief. (See VSA 24 § 1535. Abatement). You will need to contact the town clerk to apply

Parks and Recreation

Who Can Submit a Park/Facility Use Application and Obtain a Park/Facility Use Permit?
Any group, business, or organization wishing to have an event, function or group activity in the Town of Hartford Park system is welcome to submit a Park/Facility Use Application. 
How Do I Obtain a Park/Facility Use Application?
  • Call us at (802) 295-5036 • Email recreation@hartford-vt.org
  • Download the Special Events Information Brochure by clicking here.
  • Download the Park/Facility Use Application by clicking here.
What is the process for obtaining a Park/Facility Use Permit?
  • Complete a Park/Facility Use Application and return (by mail, fax, or email) to Hartford Parks & Recreation Department, 171 Bridge Street White River Junction, Vermont 05001
  • Once your application is on file, we will evaluate your Park/Facility Use Application and email a permit along with instructions, including any additional documents and/or fees required for your reservation.  
  • Additional permits may be required depending on the size of your event and the impact on Town Park property.
  • Depending on your rental, a Certificate of Insurance may be required.
What other type of permits might I need for my event?

Events that include (but are not limited to) alcohol, fireworks, open fires, street closures and a large number of participants, may require additional permits issued by the Town. We can work with you to determine if additional permits are required.

Does the Park/Facility Use Permit give us exclusive use of the park or facility?
The Park/Facility Use Permit allows the renter to use only a designated area of the parks grounds or facility.
What are the fees?
  • Rental Fees:  Once your application is reviewed, we will be in contact with you regarding any fees associated with the park/facility rental. • Additional fees will apply for the use of electricity and water. If warranted, the charge for rental of additional portable toilets will be at the cost of the renter.
  • Water and electricity charges will depend on the event and the amount of actual usage.
How do I view or register for Recreation programs?
Visit www.hartfordrec.com. You can create your own account and register for available programs.

Call 802-295-5036.

Visit us at the Parks & Recreation Office located at the Hartford Town Hall, 171 Bridge Street, White River Junction, VT, 1st Floor.

Planning & Development

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 before you begin to determine if you need further review. Contact Matt Osborn.

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 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 inches 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. 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?
Yes.
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 period of 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 is made, 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 2 years from the effective date of the permit. You may request a 1 time 6-month extension for each deadline before these time periods expire. Contact the Department of Planning and Development Services at 802-295-3075 when the project has been initiated and completed, or for an extension. Or, you can email Brenda Lamphere.

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. Contact the zoning administrative officer.

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 to schedule a site visit. You may also email Brenda Lamphere.

VT-Alert

What is the VTALERT ENS emergency notification system?
This service allows you to sign up to get emergency alerts on your mobile phone, work phone, text message, e-mail, home phone, and more.

You can also choose the locations you want to be contacted about. You can receive notifications about emergencies that may affect your home, your parents' home, your workplace as long as those locations are within the boundaries of the State of Connecticut.
When will it be used?
The system will be used to notify residents about imminent threats to health and safety. Public safety officials may send alerts about life threatening emergencies.
How do I sign up?
Click here to register for this service.
Will I still get emergency notifications if I don't sign up?
If you don't sign up, you will still receive notifications on your traditional wireline phone, but nowhere else.

The VTALERT ENS - Emergency Notification System utilizes the state's Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) database for location-based notifications to the public for life-threatening emergencies. The E9-1-1 database includes only traditional wireline telephone numbers in the state. If you want the system to be capable of sending you alerts to other communication devices that you use, then you must provide your contact information by logging in to the VTALERT Citizen Alert Sign-Up Web Page which is accessible by the link provided below.
What if my phone number or email address changes?
The system is only as good as the information you provide. If your cell phone, work phone or email address changes, you must go to your VTALERT ENS profile and update the information. The one exception is traditional landlines. If a traditional landline changes to another landline number, that information will be updated.

It is the registrant's obligation to provide notification of any changes in registration data.
Will my contact information be shared with others?
This registration information may be disclosed to third parties for the sole purpose of the emergency notification system or as otherwise required by law.
Everbridge Application for Smart Phones?
An application can be downloaded from the app store that will allow you to get alerts even if you do not create a VTALERT public user account. Search for Everbridge.
Web Browsers?
Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari should all work well with VTALERT. If you are having difficulties accessing the new www.vtalert.gov webpage, trying clearing your cache and browsing history. Safari is especially sensitive to this on IPhones and Ipads.
What do the different shades of geometries mean on the map?
The darker the color of the geometric shape, the more alerts there are currently active in the area covered by the shape. Clicking the polygon will bring up a list of all of those alerts.
Why am I receiving a voice message on my phone even though I've never signed up?
You’ve probably received an alert as part of the Reverse 911 system. Emergency managers can distribute a message to residents without them signing up. Please contact VT-Alert Support at support@vtalert.gov if you have any questions.
Why am I receiving a Text message on my phone even though I've never signed up?
You’ve received a message from the FEMA IPAWS system.
Is there an App for that?
Yes there is. You can download an Android or iOS version of “iAlertz” from the app store.
Who can I talk with if I still have questions?
For additional help please email VT-Alert Support at dps.vtalert@vermont.gov or call us at (800) 347-0488.