Building Permits, Zoning, Setbacks, and Variances

By: Nicole Patri

Building Permits are required when you are constructing, reconstructing, altering, repairing, removing, or demolishing a building or structure; or to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure.” We thought we would revisit our blog, “What Do I Need a Building Permit For?” to discuss this process further. Building Permits and Zoning laws feel like a hassle, we hope that understanding them better will help explain why they are necessary and helpful.

Zoning: In short, zoning is used to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community. The following information is taken off the mass.gov website and is true for Massachusetts residents.

  • In Massachusetts, towns decide their own zoning bylaws.
  • Zoning regulates the use of land and building which directly effects the value of the home or space.
    • Ensures that a property is using its most appropriate land in relation to its location and surroundings.
    • It makes sure that you’re using the best land to minimize potential negative impacts of construction.
    • To protect, wildlife, and vulnerable lands.
    • Ensure orderly development of city or town.
    • Make sure the space has adequate infrastructure like roads, water, and sewage.

These bylaws are enforced by a Zoning Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, or Commissioner.

Within local zoning laws are setbacks on your own property. Setbacks are the minimum distance a home must be “set back” from a street, road, river, flood plain, or any other place which is deemed to need protection (like conservation land, wetlands, or animal habitats.)

Any time you are expanding the footprint of a house (i.e additions or decks), you need to meet setbacks, which are different for each town and each zone within the town.

If your project must be built within a setback, you can apply for a variance. Variances are exceptions to setbacks granted after homeowners present valid reasons for variances and can prove the value of your home will not go down and will not disrupt any neighbors, wildlife, etc. If a variance is necessary for your project, Almar can assist you with applying for the variance. Once the variance is approved, we can move forward with your building permit application.

When it comes to Building Permits, when your working with Almar, we will apply for all necessary permits and keep in contact with the local Board of Health, Conservation Department, and Building Department.

Once construction begins on your project, the Building Department, Board of Health, or Conservation Department can and will check on the project as it is being built to ensure that we are building to code, and everything is running smoothly.

Inquire with us today on our website or call us during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 AM-4 PM at 781-826-2577.

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 Almar Building & Remodeling Co (Hanover Ma). As a third-generation family-owned and operated company for over 60 years Almar Building has all the benefits of a small company with the options of a larger company. From Additions, Kitchens, Bathroom, Basement Renovations, Siding, Windows, to Doors Almar services the entire South Shore of Massachusetts including Hanover, Hingham, Pembroke, Norwell, Scituate, Cohasset, Duxbury, Hanson, Abington, Rockland, Holbrook, Braintree, Weymouth, Milton, and many more towns. Building Permits, Zoning, Setbacks, and Variances