Approvals, Denials, Adjournments and Destiny

There is no clever way of getting around it- when you do construction work: your’re going to need municipal approvals. If you don’t, you run the risk of substantial fines, penalties, delays and other complications:  see

There is a sequence to these approvals and it varies from city to city. Sometimes these boards are combined and their purvey overlaps. Before most building departments will examine the application and drawings, the following boards will render opinions on issues of  : Planning & Environmental (i.e include coastal, wetlands, steep slopes, etc.) Zoning Board of Appeals (lot size, setbacks, variances due to non conforming conditions and requests that are not consistent with municipal regulations) Architectural Review/ Historical – which view the applications merits on aesthetics and contextual “fit”.

It’s an inexact process and not as linear as one would expect: The approvals also take different lengths of time depending on the municipality, the complexity, and the staffing of the municipality, and if you have to make adjustments to satisfy the boards or need to adjourn, or face an adversarial neighbors, etc: but as a calender preview here goes: Initial receipt of application and one board review 3-6 weeks (assumes no revisions) add Each additional board review: 3-4 weeks  (assumes no revisions) add Building department review: 2-4 weeks (assumes board approvals)

So sit back, breathe deep, and learn some basic zen techniques It can be a frustrating experience, since so much control is out of your hands. These boards are often made of volunteers with little training, political appointments, or friends of other board members with terms and agendas that are seldom revealed….ugh…but you gotta deal! As a former building inspector, I know some of the behind the scenes activity, and engage fairly well in these arenas of friction and turmoil. Of course I’d be delighted to discuss your project and situation with you, so please call 914 980 5532 and ask for Steve.