Vocabulary definitions

Architectural Review Board

Reviews residential projects and provides input on the exterior architectural design and chosen materials in order to maintain cohesion with the surrounding homes in the municipality.

Board of Health

A municipal jurisdiction typically at the county level that oversees the review, approval and installation of a septic system and drilled well.

Buffer Zone

An offset from the delineation line of a wetland.


An engineered channel typically used to carry stormwater.

Curtain Drain

A below grade perforated pipe used to channel stormwater


The process of removing soil from a parcel for development.

Deep Test Holes

The process of retrieving soil through a boring into the ground in the layers in which it naturally occurs. The soil is then characterized and assessed for building feasibility.


A process where a certified wetland scientist marks the boundaries of a known wetland on a parcel.

Disposal Area

Also known as a "septic field" this is the area where sanitary waste is directed to below grade.

Drilled Well

A deep boring into the aquifer or "water table" where water is pumped from to serivce the development.

Environmental Conservation Board

A municipal jurisdiction that reviews residential projects for all environmental related concerns typically with a parcel's proximity to a wetland or water course.


The process of disturbing land to build below existing grade.


The process of importing soil to a parcel for development.

Flood Plain

An area designated by FEMA that is prone to flooding during high intensity storms.

Floor Area Ratio

The ratio of total floor area of a home to area of a parcel

Gas Connection

The process of making a service connection from a municipal gas main to service to the development.

Height Restriction

A limit designated in feet and stories that is typicaly outlined in the zoning code.

Highway Permit

Required when performing work for a parcel that fronts a county or state road.

Historic Conservation Board

Reviews residential projects for cohesion in design with regards to the historic preservation in appearance of a town.

Percolation Test

Commonly called a "Perc Test" this analysis is performed by an engineer or member of the town to understand the rate water percolates through soil. This is required for parcels that will require a septic system.

Planning Board

Reviews applications for specfic site related permits and is typically a precusor approval needed before applying for a building permit.


The process of removing environmentally hazourdous materials from the soil.

Retaining Wall

A load bearing structural wall that allows for a sharp transition in grade.


A distance measured from the property boundary that is defined in the municipal zoning code.

Sewer Connection

The process of making a service connection from a municipal sewer main to service to the development.

Soil Conservation

The process of mitigating soil disturbance within and around the development.

Steep Slope Development

The process of developing on a demarked steep slope (typically above 15%) and requires additional site design consideration.

Stormwater Management

The process of capturing, detaining and disposing rainwater that falls onto a site.

Street Opening Permit

Required to perform utility connection work in the street to service the development.


The process of breaking up a parcel into two or more individual parcels.

Subsurface Treatment System

A subsurface treatment system or a "septic system" captures and disposes waste on-site and below grade through naturally occuring microbial processes.


A variance is typically issued by a zoning board of appeals and is an acceptance of a proposed design that does not conform to the requirements of the zoning district it is located within.

Walkout Basement

A basement with an exposed foundation wall that has a direct entrance to the rear or side yard of a parcel depending on the direction of slope.


An area of land that drains water into a specific body of water.

Water Connection

The process of making a service connection from a municipal water main to service to the development.

Zoning Board of Appeals

Review applications for appeals when a proposed parcel for development does not meet the zoning requirements of the zoning district it is located within. This is commonly used for homes being developed in non- residential zoning districts or that not meet the setback requirements.


  • Architectural Review Board Board of Health Buffer Zone Culvert Curtain Drain Cutting Deep Test Holes Delineation Disposal Area Drilled Well Environmental Conservation Board Excavation Filling Flood Plain Floor Area Ratio Gas Connection Height Restriction Highway Permit Historic Conservation Board Percolation Test Planning Board Remediation Retaining Wall Setback Sewer Connection Soil Conservation Steep Slope Development Stormwater Management Street Opening Permit Subdividing Subsurface Treatment System Variance Walkout Basement Watershed Water Connection Zoning Board of Appeals