The Town of Southold regulates the types of uses that can be made of every parcel of land within its jurisdiction, from Laurel to Fishers Island. Through zoning, it decides where commercial, agricultural and marine business may be located. It controls the size of land needed to build homes, and what lands are to be reserved for recreational uses. It sets the scope and limits of development and preservation.
Through its building regulations, it provides standards and practices designed to ensure health and safety in the way we construct, and how we interact with our neighbors, on the next plot of land and throughout the community.
Zoning and building regulations shape and define the community we live in. See them here:
How Zoning Works
The Town Board has the authority to determine the zoning of all of the land within the Town of Southold except for the Village of Greenport itself, and areas under the jurisdiction of other governmental agencies, such as State and Federal lands.
The Town Board has overall responsibility for zoning issues. It acts with the advice and assistance of the Planning Board, the Board of Trustees, the Zoning Board of Appeals, as well as the Department of Planning and the Building Department, which consist of civil servants employed by the Town.
The Planning Board is appointed by the Town Board. It has authority and responsibility to make independent decisions concerning site planning applications, including commercial and agricultural development, and residential subdivisions. It also advises the Town Board on long range planning and development issues.
The Board of Trustees is made up of elected officials who are charged with protecting certain sensitive areas of our Town. They have authority over coastal waters, wetlands, beaches and other land in close proximity to waterways. Generally, projects that involve use or construction in these sensitive areas require a permit approved by the Board of Trustees.
There is also a Zoning Board of Appeals, appointed by the Town Board, to consider requests for variances from zoning regulations and decisions of the Department of Planning and the Building Department.
The Department of Planning has the responsibility to assist the Planning Board and the Town Board. It gathers information about the various projects that are being considered and, where appropriate, makes recommendations to those Boards. It also processes the applications submitted to the Planning Board. Finally, the Department has a key role in assisting in the development of the Comprehensive Plan.
The Building Department is responsible to review building permit applications to ensure that the proposed use is permitted under the existing zoning regulations, and that the proposed structures or improvements meet building codes.