New Construction or Building Expansion

Zoning Commission
When the project involves changes to the exterior of the building, changes to the site or new construction, an approval from the Zoning Commission is the first step. For a successful application to the Zoning Commission, the site and building concept plans must be complete and conform to regulations.

There are two types of Zoning Approvals allowed by the Connecticut General Statues —Site Plan Approval and Special Permit

(1) Site Plan Approval – If the use is approved in the Zone and the proposal is a simple expansion enlarging a structure by less than 2,500 square feet or 25% whichever is less, a Site Plan application is required. This process will typically include review of:

  • The Building Exterior View Parking
  • Building Height Landscaping
  • Land Coverage Drainage
  • Distance from property lines Utilities

Plans will be circulated to the Fire Department, Health Department, Public Works Department among others for review and comment.

If a plan has elements that are not in conformance with the regulations for the commercial or industrial zone due to a hardship caused by the land, exceptions can be brought before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

(This simple approval process comes with no “conditions”. This does not occur often.)

(2) Special Permit –This process can take from 2 to 6 months depending on the complexity of the proposal and completeness of the plans. It includes:

  • Design review of the exterior elements, such as building size, shape, height, architecture, materials, parking, traffic report, signage and landscaping, for example.
  • A Public Hearing is mandatory.

Most plans will be sent to the internal departments for review and comment as part of the Zoning Special Permit approval. These include the Fire Department. Elements to be reviewed typically include :

  • Fire equipment access
  • Fire fighting water provision
  • Emergency exits
  • Construction fire ratings for the structure and walls
  • Need for sprinklers, and if required, sprinkler design 
  • Police Department and Department of Public Works
  • Traffic
  • Sidewalks
  • Roads

This process will often result in approvals with certain “conditions” applied. This appears to be complicated. But with thorough, professional designs the process can be quite straightforward.