The Town of Washington, Connecticut
Office: Lower level of Bryan Memorial Town Hall
Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Note that several departments share this fax line,
so be sure to address your document clearly!
Forms: See our Forms page for application forms
U.S. Mail Address:
Town of Washington
P.O. Box 383
Washington Depot, CT 06794
Town of Washington
2 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT 06794
• Gary Fitzherbert, Chairman
• Lou Abella
• Raymond Reich
• David Werkhoven
• Nicholas Solley
• Harry Wyant, Alt.
• Karen R. Craparo, Alt.
• Philip M. Dutton, Alt.
• Janet Hill, Land Use Coordinator
• Michael Ajello, Enforcement Officer
Meeting Dates and Application Deadlines:Meetings are generally held on the fourth Monday of each month at 7:30 PM in the Land Use Meeting Room on the lower level of Bryan Memorial Town Hall. See the Town Calendar for possible schedule exceptions, for instance because of holidays. Also be sure to check Public & Legal Notices for possible last minute schedule changes.
Minutes of previous meetings are available online.
Documents of Current Interest:Selected public documents are available online. Other public documents are available for inspection in the Land Use Office on the lower level of Bryan Memorial Town Hall.
- Outdoor Lighting:
- The website of SELENE (Sensible and Efficient Lighting to Enhance the Nighttime Environment), a non-profit organization in New York State, contains much information about outdoor lighting issues.
- Sample lighting regulations
( 8 pages)from other towns in Connecticut, compiled by the Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments.
- Dark-Sky Lighting Resource Guide
( 6 pages)from the Hudson Highlands Land Trust in Garrison, New York.
- Article about outdoor lighting
( 6 pages)by David Owen, from the August 20, 2007 issue of the New Yorker magazine.
- Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers:
- The Zoning Commission, at its meeting on March 26, 2007, passed regulations concerning outdoor wood-fired boilers. The new Washington regulations refer to Connecticut statutes concerning such boilers.
( 1 page)
- Article about outdoor wood-fired boilers
( 3 pages)from the December 18, 2006, issue of the New York Times. The Zoning Commission has proposed banning outdoor wood-fired boilers, and will take up the issue in a public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 26, at Bryan Memorial Town Hall.
- EPA 1998 Project Summary, "Emissions from Outdoor Wood-Burning Residential Hot Water Furnaces."
( 4 pages)
- Experience of a Canadian owner of an outdoor boiler.
Zoning Regulations Online:The Town's Zoning Regulations (100+ pages) are available in a PDF file as well as in a Word document.
Students at the University of Connecticut School of Law—with guidance from their professor, Dwight Merriam, of the law firm Robinson and Cole have created an annotated model zoning ordinance as a tool for Connecticut towns to use in modernizing their regulations. You can read a PDF File of their “Zoning Tool Box” (approximately 400 pages) here.
Other Commissions:See our Land Use Brochure ( 16 pages) for an overview of land use in Washington.
Land use issues may involve one or more Town departments. See Land Use Commissions for general information about:
- Conservation Commission
- Historic District Commission
- Inland Wetlands Commission
- Planning Commission
- Zoning Commission
- Zoning Board of Appeals
Permits Are Required:
- For new buildings and structures including tennis and other sports courts, swimming pools, generators, fences and walls, accessory structures, signs, patios, decks, docks, and free standing antennae and satellite dishes.
- For repairs and remodeling of any building or structure that will change its use, location, or any dimension including height.
- For proposed uses of existing and proposed buildings and properties such as commercial uses in the commercial districts, home occupations, conversion of attic space, basement space or storage area over a garage to living area, shop and storage use by contractors and building tradesmen, day care operations, bed and breakfast establishments, and accessory apartments
There are two kinds of Zoning permits: those permitted by right and Special Permits. The Zoning Enforcement Officer is authorized to approve most of the applications for structures and uses in the residential districts. Uses permitted by Special Permit may only be approved by the Zoning Commission and require a public hearing.
Did You Know:
- New fences and walls require zoning permits. There are three reasons a zoning permit is required:
- to make sure the fence is on your property and not on adjoining property or in the state or town right of way,
- to check the height of the fence because fences and walls over 8 feet tall must meet the setback requirements for buildings, and
- the Town Sanitarian will ensure there will be no disturbance to your septic system.
- Tag sales require zoning permits. A tag sale permit is very easy to obtain and only costs $5. The reason for the permit is that only two tag sales per year are permitted per residential property.
- A first cut requires a zoning permit. Other towns may permit first cut maps to be filed on the Land Records without a permit, but in Washington we have soil based zoning. This makes the determination of the minimum permitted lot size a complicated process and so the proposed lot must be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Commission.
- Washington has soil based zoning. Minimum lot size depends on the soil type and amount of each soil type on the property. Please see Section 11 of the Zoning Regulations for details.
- Washington has no limit on the number of animals permitted per acre as many other towns do. Most of Washington is the R-1, Farming-Residential District and animals and livestock (with certain limitations for poultry and pigs) are permitted. Common sense should dictate how many animals may be properly cared for on a property. However, the Health Department has the authority to intervene in the event of a health hazard. Also, manure may not be stored within 250 feet of the nearest neighboring dwelling, within 300 feet of a watercourse, or on sloping land, which may drain into another property or into a wetland or watercourse.
- The Washington Zoning Commission considers all accessory structures to be permanent. If the salesman tells you it is a temporary structure and so does not require a permit, he is wrong. It could temporarily be there for twenty years and so we ensure it will meet all setback, coverage, and height requirements.
- Plastic and canvas hoop storage "buildings" require both a Zoning permit and a Building permit, contrary to what the salesman may have told you. First, they are not considered temporary. The Zoning Commission treats all structures as permanent and the Building Department may only consider a structure to be temporary if it will be up for less than 180 days. Secondly, these structures must meet the zoning setbacks for the districts in which they are located and any Inland Wetlands requirements that may be applicable. Third, State of Connecticut Building Code requirements must be met. Save yourself the trouble of having to move your hoop building once the Land Use Department discovers it. Come in for the required permits before you put it up.
- Noise generating mechanical equipment such as generators, air conditioners, and pool filters and the structures that enclose them require zoning permits. In addition to complying with the setback requirements, generators, air conditioners, etc. must be installed within 25 feet of the structure principally served and pool filters must be installed within 50 feet of the pool served.
- Setbacks: The setbacks for a frontage lot are: front yard 50 ft. (from the boundary line, not the edge of the road), side and rear yards 25 ft. Setbacks for interior lots are: front yard 75 ft. (from the boundary line, not the edge of the road), side and rear yards 50 ft.
Annual Reports:See the Town Annual Report for yearly reports on the activities of the Zoning Commission.