About the Town Plan & Zoning Department
The Town Plan and Zoning Department (TPZ) is the town’s land use agency and serves several functions for the town.
Development Review and Site Inspections
- TPZ reviews proposed projects for consistency with Fairfield’s local Zoning regulations and development standards. Most single family or 2-4 family residential projects including accessory structures such as pools, garages, or sheds are reviewed and administratively approved by the department’s Zoning Enforcement officers. However, commercial, industrial, mixed-use or larger scale multi-family developments must be reviewed by the Town Plan and Zoning Commission.
- All properties within Fairfield are located within a certain zone (as shown on the Zoning Map). The zoning district (residential, commercial or industrial zones, etc.) defines what uses such as a single-family house or a restaurant would be allowed on the property and then which standards such as set-backs, coverage, and height limits would dictate the location and size of the building on the site. The TPZ staff is a resource for all property and business owners to understand what they can and can’t do with their properties.
- Sometimes unusual lot characteristics such as an odd shape, size, sloped topography or natural features such as a rock outcrop or stream may prevent using the standard zoning requirements that would apply to most lots. This circumstance is known as a hardship and may qualify you to apply for a variance before the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow for revised standards for your proposed construction project to proceed. Please contact Fairfield’s Zoning Enforcement Officer to review your proposal and initiate this process.
- PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PROPOSED PROJECTS, INCLUDING ACCESSORY STRUCTURES, REQUIRE SUBMITTING AN A-2 SURVEY TO DEMONSTRATE COMPLIANCE WITH ALL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS.
- Zoning Compliance permits issued by the TPZ Department require inspections and follow-ups. Inspections can be initiated by complaints, violations of zoning regulations, issuance of special permits, special exceptions, and certificates of zoning compliance.
Long-Range Planning or Project Studies
- TPZ also conducts long-range planning studies such as the Plan of Conservation, and Development (POCD), transportation and mobility safety plans, the Hazard Mitigation Plan, and assists and coordinates with other planning efforts to promote public safety, support the placement and high functionality of community amenities, expand housing opportunities, and improve the quality of life for all Fairfield residents and businesses.
- Click here for a link of recent studies.
Coastal Site Plan Review and Floodplain Management
- Fairfield’s coastline is one of its greatest amenities. Development on properties adjacent to beaches, dunes, and tidal creeks and marshlands may be subject to Coastal Site Plan Review to ensure these unique environmental resources are protected during and after construction and may include landscaping improvements to add native vegetation that adds habitat value.
- Fairfield has over 4,000 properties in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood zone area. As the Town’s Floodplain Administrator, the TPZ has adopted special Flood Mitigation Regulations that dictate construction standards to protect new and substantially improved properties.
- All properties that propose improvement work or damage repair that costs more than 50% of the value of the property must modify the structure to make it safe from future flooding events. All properties in the flood zone that propose new work must submit a Substantial Damage Estimate form. Please note that damage repair of any kind – whether it’s flood, fire, or wind is included in the 50% cost estimate.
- The Town of Fairfield is a member of the Metro-COG region and participates in the regular update of a multi-town Hazard Mitigation Plan to make Fairfield more resilient to future natural hazard events such as hurricanes and Nor-easters. Efforts include flood mitigation studies and future projects.
Land Records Research
- The TPZ Department retains permit and land use history for many properties in town and is a land records research center for title searchers, attorneys, surveyors, developers, property sellers and purchasers, and realtors.
- Please contact TPZ Staff at 203-256-3050 should you need information regarding a property.