8 Jan - 2020

How to Become a Zoning Expert in Five Easy Steps

We’ve seen it happen time and time again: a client comes to us with their dream renovation, only to discover that it’s not allowed by the town’s zoning code. Don’t let it happen to you! Here are our five steps to becoming a zoning code expert.

  1. Get a copy of your property survey from the closing documents on your property. You will see the existing dimensions of your house and lot, along with easements or special conditions.
  2. Check with the town to get a municipal zoning map, which divides the town into zoning areas. This will show historic districts and steep slope areas. What zoning district are you in?
  3. Look at the town zoning code to see if your ideas for an addition or alteration conform to the zoning requirements. An architect can help you interpret the code in terms of permitted uses, lot size and width requirements, and height and setback regulations.
  4. Ask an expert in the field: Can I do this? Don’t just run off and start work on drawings or with a contractor before considering the relevant zoning issues.
  5. Understand how your town’s zoning requirements affect your vision of the project. Even if there are zoning issues, do not give up.  A creative approach to your project will help you fulfill your construction goals while complying with essential zoning guidelines.

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