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Community Development FAQ

What hours are you open?

M-F 8 AM - 4 PM

Our address is 3 North Lowell Road, and we are located next to the Town Hall above the old fire station.

What type of information do you have on my property?

The Department has a file on every property in Town. These files may contain any building, plumbing, and electrical permits, as well as any inspection reports for work done. We also may have information on your well and septic systems, your property boundaries, and the locations of any wetlands on your property.

What time do you do inspections?

Inspections are done daily, except Wednesdays or during severe weather, between 10:00am and 2:00pm and require at least a 24 hour advance notice. To schedule an inspection please call the Community Development Department at 603-432-3806. In order to schedule an inspection we will need the address, permit number, and lot number.The building inspector will not enter an occupied home to do an inspection unless someone is onsite.

How do I find out the zoning requirements of my property?

The full zoning requirements can be found here, or at the Community Development Department.

What are the minimum requirements for a buildable lot?

The minimum requirements are 50,000 square feet with 175 feet of frontage, which are soil and slope dependent. The exception to these requirements are our open space developments, which require only 30,000 square feet and 60 feet of frontage.

What are the setback areas for structures on a lot?

30' setback from the side and rear lot lines and 50' setback from the front lot line.

Open Space developments have 15' side and rear lot line setbacks and 20' setbacks from the front lot line.

Waterfront lots have a 50' setback from the road and 50' setback from the reference line of the water. There are additional State requirements the NH Department of Environmental Services should be contacted.

What does WWPD stand for and can I build in it?

Wetland and Watershed Protection District.

A special permit from the Planning Board is required for excavation, filling, drainage, stump removal, or otherwise altering the surface configuration of the land located in the WWPD.

Do I need a permit for an above ground pool or hot tub?

A building permit is needed for both and a licensed electrician needs to apply for an electric permit.

All construction in the Cobbetts Pond and Canobie Lake Watershed Protection District need to check with the Code Enforcement Officer to see if a Minor Watershed Application is required.

Do I need a permit for wood stove, new boiler, gas or oil?

The Windham Fire Dept (434-4907) issues these permits.

Do I need a permit to finish an attic or basement?

A building permit is required for both. You may need an electrical and plumbing permit as well. Call the building department for more information.

Do I need a permit for a fence ?

A fence permit is required.

Do I need a permit for a shed?

For a shed 100 sq. ft. or less,  no permit is required and it is allowed to be 10 ft. from the property line.

For a shed 101 sq. ft. to 200 sq. ft., no permit  is required but it must meet all the setback requirements.

For a shed 200+ sq. ft. or greater, a permit is required and must meet all setback requirements

All construction in the Cobbetts Pond and Canobie Lake Watershed Protection District need to check with the Code Enforcement Officer to see if a Minor Watershed Application is required.

What do I need to know about tree cutting on my property?

A property owner has a general right to cut or remove trees on their property, as they wish. This is true whether the trees are located in or out of the road right-of-way, unless the Town or State holds title to the right-of-way. This is also true even if a road has been designated a ‘scenic road’.

Tree cutting in the Wetland and Watershed Protection District is permitted, however, any type of stump removal activity requires a Special Permit from the Town of Windham Planning Board.

Tree cutting and stump removal activities within the protected shoreland buffer are regulated by the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. Under the CSPA, trees removed within the 50 foot waterfront buffer may be removed in accordance with a grid and point system, but stumps must remain intact within the ground. Trees removed within the 150 foot natural woodland buffer must comply with the unaltered state requirement. Stumps may be removed in this area, but any activity requiring mechanized equipment will require a shoreland impact permit.

Public utility companies and municipalities must follow certain procedures prior to cutting trees. For a utility, the law requires not only notice, but landowner permission. The Town may cut or remove any trees that interfere with public travel or are deemed a public nuisance. However, trees with a circumference of more than 15 inches at 4 feet off the ground generally cannot be cut until the owner is notified in writing.

Can I have farm animals at my house?

Yes. Farm animals are allowed in the Rural and Residential Districts. You must follow the “Best Management Practices: Housing and Space Guidelines for Livestock” adopted by the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Rockingham County Conservation District and the UNH Cooperative Extension. The requirements for Agriculture can be found in Sections 602.1.1.2 & 603.1.2 of the Windham Zoning Ordinance.

How old do you need to be to live in a Housing for Older Persons community?

55 years of age with 3 minor exceptions: a care giver living with you, an employee of the complex or the HUD subsidized rental units.

How many Housing for Older Person communities are in Windham? 

Six. The requirements for Housing for Older Persons can be found in Section 600 of the Windham Zoning Ordinance.

Are there any subsidized rental units for Older Persons in Windham?

Yes, there is one 24 unit community. This community has a 62 years of age restriction.

What do I do if I think my neighbor has improperly constructed a dock?

The Town of Windham does not regulate docks. However, seasonal and permanent docks do require permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

If you are concerned as to whether a dock has received a permit from DES, please visit DES’s on-line “OneStop” service at http://des.nh.gov/onestop/ to determine whether a dock permit has been issued. For optimal results, DES suggests searching by the map and lot number rather than by the address or owner.

Keep in mind when searching OneStop that the dock permit could have been issued as a Dock Permit or as a Wetlands Permit.

If you discover that no permit has been issued, or the dock that has been constructed deviates from what was permitted, you may have a civil cause of action against the dock owner.

Are there particular regulations regarding temporary/ political signs?

Temporary signs require a permit.

Temporary signs may be a maximum of 24 sq. ft. in size and must be event or product related, e.g. a grand opening or a special event;
Only one (1) on-site temporary sign per property is permitted at any one time;
Off-site temporary signs are strictly prohibited, except that non-profit organizations may display temporary signs with a permit on Town-owned property and rights-of-way;
Temporary signs must comply with the applicable sign setback regulations for the district in which the property is located; and 
Temporary signs may not be placed within the right-of-way of any State-owned road.

The following types of temporary signs, however, DO NOT require a permit:

Traffic and directional signs;
Unlighted signs advertising real estate for sale;
Signs advertising work performed by an architect, engineer or contractor;
Window signs provided they meet the requirements of Section 706.5.1;
An “OPEN” flag being no more than 15 sq. ft. (one permitted per business);
Political signs; and
An A-frame sandwich board sign meeting the requirements of Section 706.6.2.6.