Special COVID 19 (Coronavirus) Response Procedures
Please note the Planning & Zoning Department will be closed to the public until further notice. The department will continue to operate using a combination of remote and onsite staffing. Onsite staffing will be intermittent. Unless disrupted, remote staffing will occur during regular business hours.
If you wish to file an application for a permit without first consulting staff, we ask that you do so electronically using forms as PDF attachments to Audra Brown (email@example.com). Someone from the Department will confirm receipt of the application and describe your payment options.
If you prefer to mail an application, feel free to do so; however, do so with the understanding that processing might take somewhat longer than normal. We are not in City Hall often to receive mail.
Residents or others with questions about any planning or zoning topic are encouraged to email Audra.
If you are seeking documentation relating to prior zoning approvals to facilitate a property transaction (e.g., sale or refinancing, etc.) or as part of litigation, we must ask you to follow a procedure similar to that used by applicants for permits. We understand our obligations as custodians of certain public records and fully intend to honor these obligations. We are able to provide permit issuance data and view the Violations binders remotely but full scans of files may not be as timely as usual.
Also, consistent with the public meeting moratorium announced on 3/13/20, Town sponsored boards, commissions, and committees with not be meeting for several weeks. As a result, previously announced hearings will not occur when anticipated. We will do our best to determine new dates expeditiously and inform those involved.
The Department--indeed the entire Town Administration--is well aware of the impact meeting delays may have on project development timelines. Like other similar departments and agencies in other places we are exploring options (such as online conferencing) that might allow meetings/hearings to be held consistent with Vermont’s Open Meeting law while also encouraging public participation. We will report our progress as soon possible.
Do I need a Permit?
One of the most common ways to implement a plan in the country is through the use of regulations like zoning and building codes. They are important local powers, enabled under state law and our City Charter, to protect the health, safety and welfare of Montpelier residents and visitors.
For many, local zoning bylaws are long and confusing documents. For that reason the permits division has as our mission to be a guide for applicants. Staff will help with the basics (what district am I in?), inform applicants of their rights (can I put an office above my garage?), instruct applicants of the requirements (do I need to provide a side plan with the application?) and navigate the process to make sure applicants stay in compliance with the requirements of the regulations.
Our goal is also to make the process as efficient as possible. As such, most administrative permits are issued within one business day of when a complete application is received. We continually look for ways to minimize delays in any application that requires a hearing. While we may not be able to make the experience for getting a permit fun, we do hope to make it less stressful.
We strongly encourage anyone interested in developing a project in the city to contact the Department before starting. Staff can determine if the work requires a permit and, if so, how to move forward to avoid delays later on.
Below are links to each of the permit types that the Planning Department administers including downloadable application forms.
All land development in the city of Montpelier requires a zoning permit, unless specifically exempted. Land development means constructing, installing, demolishing, reconstructing, converting, structurally altering, relocating or enlarging any structure; mining, excavating, filling or grading land; changing or extending the use of land or a structure; adjusting or relocating the boundary between two parcels; or dividing a parcel into two or more lots.
No building addition or building system may be erected, installed, renovated, altered, wrecked or moved prior to the submission of a complete building permit application to the Building Department and the issuance of a building permit by the Building Inspector.
These regulations apply to "areas of special flood hazard" and "river corridors" collectively referred to as River Hazard Areas.