Planning & Zoning

Planning and Zoning Commission
The duties of the Borough of Fenwick Planning and Zoning Commission are established by State Statutes. The Commission has both planning and zoning responsibilities:

Planning Responsibilities
At least every ten years the Commission must review and amend or re-adopt a Plan of Conservation and Development for the Borough showing its recommendations for the most desirable land use and density within its jurisdiction. The current Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) was adopted in 2017.

The Commission also reviews and makes recommendations under C.G.S. Section 8-24 on all proposed municipal improvements, such as streets, parks or municipal buildings, and any proposal to acquire, abandon or sell any municipal property. It can also adopt subdivision regulations.

Zoning Responsibilities
The Commission is responsible for drafting and adopting the Zoning Regulations of the Borough of Fenwick, which have been adopted under the authority of Chapter 124 Zoning and Chapter 477a of the Connecticut State Statutes and the Ordinances of the Borough of Fenwick.

The Regulations are designed to preserve the Borough of Fenwick as a family residential community. No land or improvement within the borough can be used for any purpose except as expressly and specifically permitted in the Regulations. 

The Commission is also responsible for reviewing and deciding on any permits (e.g. Special Permits, Site Plans) required by the Zoning Regulations.

Site Plan approval authorizes a land use activity which is permitted in a zone as long as it meets the standards set out in the regulations. The majority of land uses in the Borough, including new buildings, additions or modifications to existing buildings, swimming pools, etc. require Site Plan approval. Some minor modifications can be approved administratively by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

A Special Permit authorizes a land use activity which is permitted in a zone, but not necessarily at all locations. Special Permits are required for architectural features exceeding 35 feet in height and for marine facilities or incidental uses (e.g. dock, boardwalk, fence) located within 50 feet of a coastal resource. To determine whether a Special Permit use should be permitted, the Commission must hold a public hearing and review an application against the specific criteria in the Zoning Regulations. Special Permits must also be filed on the Land Records for the Town of Old Saybrook before they become effective.

All property in the Borough is within the coastal Area Management boundary. Except where specifically exempted by the Regulations, a Coastal Site Plan Review for consistency with the Connecticut Coastal Management Act is required for all applications to the Commission or to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Permit authority lies with the Borough but all applications are also referred to CT DEEP’s Land & Water Resources Division, Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, for comment. Certain types of applications have a mandatory 35 day referral period.

Many properties within the Borough are also within a Special Flood Hazard Area as defined by FEMA. All construction within these areas is reviewed for compliance with the Regulations and FEMA standards. Compliance with these requirements enables property owners within the Borough to obtain flood insurance and helps reduce flood insurance rates for everyone.

Planning & Zoning Commission meetings are scheduled on an as needed basis.