Frequently Asked Questions

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How far does my house/garage/pool have to be from my property line?

25 feet in the side and rear yards.  Front yard setback is 35 feet in the Single Family Residential (SFR) and Commercial (C) zones, and 50 feet in all other zones.  Only docks and boathouses may be placed within 50 feet of Lake Winnipesaukee.

How long do I have to wait for my building permit to be approved?

By statute we may take up to 30 days for a residential permit and 60 days for a non-residential permit, but we try to have permits ready much quicker.  See R.S.A. 676:13.

Can I tear down my house and rebuild in the same building footprint or foundation?

In most cases, yes, you can rebuild your house in the same footprint, but not in all cases.  Contact the office for an answer regarding your specific situation.  Also, see Article 9 in the Zoning Ordinance.

My neighbor has cut down some of my trees. Can the town do anything about this?

No, the town cannot get involved in such matters.  If a neighbor cuts your trees, installs a driveway on your property, or does other similar things, it is a private matter between property owners.  The town would only be involved in regulatory issues such as permitting and inspections.

I have a grandfathered, non-conforming lot. Can I build on it?

In most cases, yes, you can build on an existing non-conforming lot.  You must first obtain a driveway permit, secure septic approval or a sewer permit, and meet all current setbacks.  Please call or visit the office for a determination for your specific situation.

Why wasn’t I notified that my neighbor was building a new house?

No notice is required to build a house and none is provided.  A building permit is required, but not a public notice.  No notice is required for a commercial building permit either, although abutters are notified when the Planning Board reviews a commercial site plan which is required before the town will issue a commercial building permit.

Do I need a building permit to put up a fence? Where do I have to place the fence? Do I have to place the “good” side toward my neighbor?

Yes, a building permit is needed for a fence.  The fence must be placed one (1) foot from the property line unless it is a common fence and the neighbor agrees to placing the fence on the property line.  You do not have to place the “good” side toward your neighbor (although a spite fence is not allowed – see R.S.A. 476:1 to 476:3).

What is the zoning of my property?

There are eight (8) zones in Gilford in various locations around the town.  Four (4) zones are residential, three (3) are commercial, and one (1) is industrial.  All islands except Governor’s Island are zoned Island Residential (IR).  All of Governor’s Island is zoned Single Family Residential (SFR).  For other zoning information, please contact the office.

Where are the Historic District boundaries and what impact does the Historic District have on me?

The Historic District generally includes all lots fronting along Schoolhouse Hill Road, along Belknap Mountain Road from Gilford Avenue to the schools, along Tannery Hill Road, and along part of Potter Hill Road.  The regulations of the Historic District require property owners to have all outside building and site changes first approved by the Historic District Commission.  For specific boundaries and regulation information, please contact the office.  Also, see Article 14 in the Zoning Ordinance.