Imagine you have just found the perfect house! Well, almost perfect. It’s a little small and has too few bedrooms, but over the years you plan to be there, you will add on as your family grows. Or you plan to add a deck or bury propane tanks. Maybe a new garage. No problem, right? After all, you are the homeowner, so you should be able to do what you want!
This is not always the case and many homeowners are devastated when they find out that they can’t do as they planned. There are environmental, building and zoning regulations that affect adding on to your home or building additional structures. All people who are building or adding to their home need a permit from the building department of your town before you build AND if your home has a septic system or well, you also need a permit from your local health department, which is required before you can get your building permit.
Building and zoning regulations may address issues such as your lot size, the distance from your neighbor’s property line or the distance from the center of the road. Environmental health issues most often come into play for properties that have septic systems and/or wells. There are specific regulations about the placement of structures in relation to the location of the septic system and the well. There is a regulation, CT Public Health Code (CPHC), Section 19-13-B100a, (commonly referred to as B100a) which requires that if you want to add an addition, deck, shed, garage, additional bedrooms, a swimming pool or bury propane tanks, there must be an area on your property for a replacement septic system, should your current system fail after you add your addition (or shed, garage, deck, swimming pool or buried tanks). Permission from the health department cannot be granted until this is demonstrated. This is the law and is enforced by local health. If your addition is not a bedroom per public health code definition and if it does not increase the footprint of the existing house and if it doesn’t take up land space, you may be able to get a health department permit with only a thorough review of your plans by a health department representative.
If the house you are looking to buy has a septic system and a well and you are purchasing the house with the intention of adding on to make it suitable for your family, learn about CPHC B100a BEFORE you make the purchase. Note: B100a applies to all homes. There is a lot more to know about this process. Educate yourself before you make a purchase or spend money on having plans drawn up. District residents (Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge) can call QVHD, 203 248-4528 to speak to a sanitarian during office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 to 4:00 p.m., or request a “B100a” fact sheet. You can also view the fact sheet online, www.qvhd.org, search Additions and Accessory structures.