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Permitting Our Projects

by Tyler

This season, we're starting four structures: an 18'x24' timber frame workshop, a 12'x16' timber frame cottage, a small shed to house batteries and electronics for a future solar array, and another small shed to enclose our wellhead and water storage (the roof will have a hatch to allow our well pump's drop pipe to be removed in the event it ever needs to be serviced). Between the two of us, Tara and I have almost zero construction experience—we have a lot to learn!

Tyler Sketching Building Sites on Permit Application

To begin the process, I stopped by our town hall to speak with the zoning administrator about what it would take to get permitted for all of these projects. I was pleased to learn that our city doesn't care what we build, as long as our structures don't violate any setbacks. We live in the rural district of our town, and it dictates that all buildings must be 35 feet from any property line, and 75 feet from the street.

We were almost positive that the sites we'd chosen for our structures were well within these bounds, but in order to be certain, Tara and I set out this morning armed with a tape measure and the plat description of our land. Together, we tromped through the woods, taking measurements. It was easy work, as most of our property lines are demarcated by old stone walls (nearly all the land in our area was used as pasture a century ago).

Stone Wall Property Line

Here is my sketch for the permit application; everything was well within legal limits:

Permit Sketch

Actually getting the permit was a cinch. From the time I brought our application in to the town hall, to the time it was stamped and recorded by the town clerk, about thirty minutes elapsed. Total cost: $40. Sweet! Now we're ready to get started with the foundations!

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Wow! What a smooth and quick process; how wonderful.
~ Julia
Posted by Julia H. on May 16th, 2013 at 7:10 PM
Brilliant! It's great when your town hall is reasonable like that :-)
Posted by Maria on May 18th, 2013 at 3:44 PM
WOW, what a complete and utter difference from living in a city like Burlington. You can't scratch you're butt without a permit here. Seriously, we just read that we can't do a simple switch out of our smoke/CO alarms in our adjoining apartment (that are already hard-wired/installed) without a permit. Plus, we may have to have a licensed electrician unplug/plug in the new alarms. The alarms are frickin' plug-n-play! Baffled.

(**Wait.....maybe this is a sign that we need to find a place in the woods like you two did. :-))
Posted by Sheila Poettgen on May 18th, 2013 at 5:29 PM