Building Permit Denials

A Town of Union Official has just informed you that it is not possible for him to grant you a building permit. Do you have to do without that needed bedroom, the larger kitchen or the patio roof? The answer is "Not always"! Based on 2015 and 2016 figures, one building permit in every ten was denied for various reasons. This page will help explain the reason the permit request was denied and the procedure necessary to possibly receive permission to accomplish your project.

By law the Building Inspector has to enforce zoning law as written and does not have the power to grant permits based on one's personal needs. In some cases, the inspector may suggest alternatives, which can be approved. In other cases, he feels as helpless as the unsuccessful applicant for a Building Permit.
Why can't I do what I want to do?In most cases, it is one of three reasons that your request was denied. The reason was probably one (or more) of the following items:

  • The Town of Union Zoning Ordinance requires certain setbacks from property lines to structures on the lot. Also, accessory structures, such as sheds and pools, have to have a minimum setback from the principal building or other accessory structures. In many cases, the existing structures on the lot do not meet the current ordinance.
  • Each parcel of land in the Town of Union is zoned based on a comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan portrays the Town's future land use scheme and in doing so, may conflict with current uses on the lot. It is possible that a residential use currently exists on a parcel designated on the master plan and zoning map as commercially zoned property. Since residential uses are not permitted in commercial districts a permit cannot be issued.
  • The Building Inspector has to enforce the Zoning Ordinance as he reads it. It may be possible for you to read the same section of the ordinance and disagree with the inspector's ruling.

Code Staff assists applicants in preparing for applying for the necessary variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Town of Union has a pamphlet, which explains the variance procedure.