FAQ – Plot Plans

1. Is a plot plan required?

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If the work involves a new structure or an addition to an existing structure (including a vertical addition), a plot plan is required. As with construction plans, you must submit three copies.

2. I have a mortgage plan that was given to me by the bank when I purchased my home. Can this be used?

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The purpose of a plot plan is for determination of compliance with dimensional controls of the Zoning Ordinances. A mortgage plan is only a rough approximation of where the house is located, and was prepared only for mortgage purposes. Due to the inaccuracy of these plans, they can only be used if the project is far in excess of the required setbacks (generally, at least 5 feet in excess of the required setback). If the plan shows that your project will be close to the required setbacks, a more accurate plan will be required.

3. Can I prepare my own plot plan, if I am certain where my property line is?

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No. Plot plans can only be prepared by a Registered Land Surveyor, and must bear his/her stamp.

4. What if I have over 100 feet to my property line and it is obvious that I will not be anywhere near the required setbacks?

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A stamped plot plan is still required. There may be easements, wetlands or other restrictions that the homeowner is not aware of and will only be shown on a stamped plot plan.

5. What information is required on a plot plan?

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The surveyor generally knows the procedure for preparing a plot plan and the information required. Setbacks to all structures must be shown. If any structure is to be demolished, its location must be shown. Also, any easements must be indicated on the plan. Any new driveway must have the setback from the property line and its slope shown on the plan. Trees with a diameter of 8” or more must be shown, and grades (before and after construction), must be shown. Some of these requirements may be waived if the work is of a minor nature.

6. If I have a plot plan, can I draw my addition on it?

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No. You must submit the unaltered plot plan along with a separate plan drawn to scale showing the location of the proposed addition. This can generally be done by the homeowner or architect. However, if there is doubt as to the location and conformance with setback requirements, a certified plot plan showing the proposed structure will be required.

7. If I don’t have a plot plan, where can I get one?

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Mortgage plans can sometimes be obtained from the bank. Also, the Department of Municipal Inspections has plans on file for many properties in the city. If available, these may be acceptable. Otherwise, you must contact a Registered Land Surveyor to prepare a plan for you.

8. Can the city recommend surveyors?

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No. They are listed in the yellow pages. It is suggested that you contact a surveyor who is familiar with the area. Shop around, since prices vary greatly.

9. How much is a plot plan?

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There are too many variables to give an accurate estimate. You can probably expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars for simple jobs to a few thousand dollars for more complex jobs. This amount should be considered when you are estimating the cost of your project.

10. How does the Department of Municipal Inspections know if the structure was placed in the location proposed?

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For all new houses and for additions that are close to the required setbacks a certified “as-built” plot plan must be submitted to the Department of Municipal Inspections after completion of the foundation. Framing cannot proceed until the plot plan has been submitted.

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