Building Frequently Asked Questions
What are the zoning setbacks for a pool (above ground pool, shed, etc…); Do I need a fence around the pool?
The Town of Andover has several districts with different set back requirements. In addition the Zoning By-Law has special requirements concerning recreational structures in section 4.2.4. You will need a plot plan and speak with a Building Inspector to determine what the setback requirements are. The Inspectors are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. You need to check with the Conservation Division regarding wetland setbacks and with the Health Division regarding sanitary code requirements. A self-closing and self-latching fence is required for a pool as soon as the pool can hold water.
Do I need a permit for a fence; what side of the fence has to face the road; how high can a fence be; does a fence have to meet the zoning setbacks?
If the fence is over six feet in height, a building permit is required. There is no requirement regarding which way the fence faces. The State Building Code, 780 CMR regulates the height of the fence. Fence can be installed close to the property line as long as no part of it extends over a neighbor’s property.
What is a plot plan? Where can I get a plot plan? Where is the Registry of Deeds?
A plot plan is a plan of the survey done of the property and shows the location of the principal structure(s) and accessory structures. The survey is prepared by a State licensed land surveyor. The Essex North Registry of Deeds is located at 354 Merrimack Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 304, Lawrence, MA 01843.
If my property is listed in the Ballardvale Historic District or on the Mass Historic Register, how does that affect my Building Permit application?
If the property is located in the Historic District, the Historic District Commission must review the proposed work.
Can you tell me if this lot is buildable? What is a “hundred-percent-upland” rule?
A Building Inspector will have to review a Certified Plot Plan to determine if the lot is buildable. You shall also check with the Conservation Division regarding wetland setbacks and with the Health Division regarding septic system or sewer connection design. Building Inspector will also check that the lot area consists of one-hundred-percent of contiguous upland. The minimum lot area cannot include any wetlands or natural slopes in excess of 25% over a horizontal distance of thirty feet as measured perpendicular to the contour on a lot intended for building purposes. The Inspectors are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Can I do my own electrical work as the homeowner?
It is required that a Massachusetts Licensed Electrician applies for electrical permits and performs all the work.
Do I need to get a permit for small jobs?
Yes. Permits are required for all wiring jobs. The Electrical Inspector is available between 8.00 and 10.00 AM.
Do I need an electrical permit for an above ground pool?
Yes. You will not be issued a Building Permit for a pool unless an electrical permit has been issued to a Massachusetts Licensed Electrician.
Why can’t I do plumbing and gas fitting work as the homeowner?
The State of Massachusetts requires a Massachusetts Licensed Plumber or Gas Fitter to apply for permits and to perform plumbing and gas fitting work.
Why do I need permits?
To protect public health and safety.