Why do I need a special permit?
Requirements for a special permit are set forth in the Zoning Bylaw. One of the most common reasons for a special permit is that the dwelling doesn’t meet the setback requirements (25 feet for front yards, 10 feet for side and rear yards). Many older houses don’t meet these requirements, and Section 240-3 of the Zoning Bylaw requires a special permit to “alter, change or extend any pre-existing, nonconforming structure or use.”

Other common situations where a special permit is required include garage space for more than two cars or an accessory building located in a front yard. (Please note: Any part of your property that abuts a street is considered a “front” yard. Therefore it is possible to have more than one front yard, particularly if you have a corner lot).

There are many other circumstances in which a special permit is required. The Building Commissioner will inform you if a special permit is required for your project. Criteria and procedures for special permits are described in Article XXXXII, Sections 240-212 through 240-222 of the Zoning Bylaw.

Show All Answers

1. How long does it take to get a special permit?
2. Why do I need a special permit?
3. What’s the difference between a special permit and a variance?
4. Do I need a lawyer?
5. I just received notice that my neighbor is applying for a special permit or variance for his property. What should I do? I’d like to present my opinion to the Board. Do I need to attend the hearing?
6. What happens at the public hearing?
7. What happens after the Board reaches a decision?
8. Why do I have to wait 20 days?
9. When is the decision effective?
10. What if I’m not happy with the Board’s decision?
11. I want to add an accessory apartment to my home. What do I need to do?
12. I have an illegal apartment and want to sell my home. What should I do?