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Planning & Zoning

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Mission Statement

The Planning & Zoning Department works together with the commission in order to execute the mission statement outlined by Suffield Code.

The Town of Suffield is especially adapted to residential and agricultural purposes and is not an industrialized community, and in order to promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the residents; to secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to facilitate adequate provision for transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements; to avoid congestion in the streets; to encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the town; to restrict and regulate the location of trades and industries and the location of buildings designed and adapted for specific uses; to provide for the public health, comfort and general welfare in the conditions surrounding the life and work of the community; to regulate and limit the height and bulk of buildings to be erected and to regulate and determine the area of yards, courts and open spaces in general surrounding, adjoining, or used in connection with buildings erected, the Planning & Zoning commission adopts Zoning Regulations for the Town of Suffield (Suff. Code, Appendix A).

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FAQ

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units are permitted provided the lot has at least 10,000 SF above the minimum required for the zone. Additional lot area is not required in an R-90 zoning district. The unit shall not have more than three (3) rooms, including kitchen facilities and is only permitted for family members, caregivers or employees. Other requirements are listed in Section III.F.3 of the Zoning Regulations.

Accessory Structure Setbacks

Accessory structures in excess of ten (10) feet in height shall observe the same setback requirements for a principle building (See Section IV.M. of the Zoning Regulations for setbacks). Accessory buildings ten (10) feet in height or less shall observe a five (5) foot side and rear yard setback in all zones except the R-90 zone which shall be ten (10) feet for both side and rear yard setbacks and a five (5) foot side and ten (10) foot rear yard setback in the R-45 zone. These setbacks apply for all accessory structures including above ground pools. In-ground pools shall be located not less than fifteen (15) feet from the side and rear property lines in all zones as measured from the edge of the patio surrounding the pool. Accessory buildings less than ten (10) feet in height may be located in the rear half of any lot but not nearer than seventy-five (75) feet to any street.

The height of a building is measured at the mid-point of the roof or halfway between the eave and peak for a gable, hip, or gambrel roof. See “Building Height” definition in the Zoning Regulations for illustrations of all roof types.

Fences
All fences require a zoning compliance form and fences greater than six (6) feet in height require a building permit in addition to the zoning compliance form. Fences not exceeding eight (8) feet in height are allowed only in any required side or rear yard. Fences may only be four (4) feet in height and not more than one-half (1/2) solid if proposed between the building line and front property line.

Fences can be placed up to the property line and shall be erected so that the finished side of the fence faces the abutting property.

Animals

Horses
Up to two (2) horses may be kept on properties at least two (2) acres in size and one (1) additional acre for each two (2) additional horses up to 10 horses. The keeping of ten (10) horses or more requires a commercial horse farm special permit per Section V.M of the zoning regulations.

Chickens
Up to six (6) hens may be kept on properties at least ¼ acre in size. Five (5) additional hens may be kept on properties every ¼ acre after the first up to five (5) acres. Roosters are prohibited on properties less than five (5) acres. Other requirements can be found in Section V.W. of the Zoning Regulations.

Dogs
The keeping of five (5) or more dogs over the age of six (6) months requires a special permit but is only permitted in the R-45 and R-90 zones.

Other
Any other animal typically associated with a farm may only be kept on properties of five (5) acres or more. Call the Planning and Zoning Office if you have specific questions at (860) 668 3848.

Home Based Business

Under certain conditions you may operate a home based business on your residentially zoned property.

The most important condition is that your business doesn’t impair the residential character of your property. Your business must be conducted in such a way that a neighbor or passer-by wouldn’t be able to tell that you’re running a business there.

If you have a customary home based business, you must live in the house where the business is located and you can’t have a non-resident employed on the premises. No outdoor storage of materials, internal or external alterations or construction features not customarily found in a home is permitted. The use shall not create objectionable noise, odor, vibrations, or unsightly conditions noticeable off the premises nor should any equipment create electrical interference beyond what is normal for a single family home. More than routine mail or package delivery is also not allowed. No commercial type vehicle shall be used in connection with a home occupation. Commercial operations such as massage therapists, antique shops, barbershops and beauty shops are not to be considered home office occupations.

A sign of up to four (4) square feet is permitted for a home based occupation.

Customary home businesses are permitted by right and do not require a zoning permit.

A professional home based business requires the approval of a special permit by the Planning and Zoning Commission. In addition to the requirements for a home based business, a professional home based business may have one (1) non-resident employee except that medical doctors or dentists may have two (2) non-resident employees on the premises. The site plan must show parking, loading, lighting and landscaped areas as well as evidence of adequate sewer and water service.

A sign of up to six (6) square feet is permitted for a professional home office.

Lot Buildability

Residents often ask if a parcel of property is capable of supporting a house. The Lot Buildability Document outlines steps to determine the suitability of a lot. Other town departments and/or agencies that can be helpful with this process are also included.

Temporary Signage

Temporary signs are permitted in the Neighborhood Commercial (NC), Industrial (I), Town Center Village District, and the West Suffield Village District zones.

Signs temporarily attached or painted on a door, window, or wall announcing sales or special features are permitted provided they do not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the area of the door, window, or wall. These signs shall be removed immediately after the termination of such sale or special feature and shall be permitted for no more than thirty (30) days.

Freestanding sandwich-board type signs may be allowed in non-residential districts for a maximum period of sixty (60) days from the date of the required permit with the following conditions:

Signs are limited to one (1) per occupant
Signs are secured to prevent movement by wind or other elements
Signs are displayed only during hours of operation
Signs shall measure no more than two (2) by three (3) feet
A permit is issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer
A $20.00 administrative fee is collected
Signs shall meet all other aspects of these regulations
All signs shall be located behind the street line
Restaurant signs advertising lunch or dinner specials are exempt from the sixty (60) day limit on display of sandwich-board signs.

Outdoor advertising devices, including but not limited to plaques, banners, pennants, and streamer are permitted for a period of not more than two (2) weeks after the opening of a new business. Said device shall be behind the street line.

Application Process

The application process varies depending on type desired.  Call the Planning & Zoning Department to help walk you through the process.