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Building Contact Info

James Finley

Building Inspector and Zoning Administrator

phone icon (845) 677-3419 ext. 112                                                                           Cell (call or text): (845) 219-9724
fax icon (845) 677-1195
email icon Email
home icon 10 Reservoir Dr, 2nd floor
       Millbrook, NY 12545



Monday - Friday
8:00am - 3:00pm

Inspections by Appointment

Appointments may be made by phone or email at least 48 hours in advance.

As inspections may be at any time in the day, it is recommended that an appointment is made prior to visiting the Building Department office to ensure that the inspector will be available.


The Town of Washington Building Department enforces the New York State Building codes by issuing building permits, performing inspections, issuing Certificates of Occupancy and receiving and investigating complaints of violations or hazardous conditions. Statewide, building codes have been in effect since 1984, and a building permit, followed by a Certificate of Occupancy, is required for any work which must comply with these codes, and is not specifically exempted from requiring a building permit, such as repairs or detached storage sheds smaller than 144 square feet in size.

Land use is regulated by the Town of Washington Zoning Code, and is enforced by the Zoning Administrator. In addition to reviewing all building permit applications for compliance with zoning regulations and for any known violations prior to a building permit being issued, the Zoning Administrator also receives and reviews applications to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, receives and investigates complaints of zoning code violations, and conducts municipal title searches as part of real estate transaction.

A typical sequence of events, from a building permit application being received to a building permit being issued is described in the following flow chart.

Application Flow Chart


Building Permit Application (5/2023)- Required for all actions requiring Building Inspector Approval

Zoning Review Checklist (3/2023)- For reference. May be included with building permit applications where applicable.

Swimming Pool Barrier Agreement (2/2023)-Required for all applications for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas

pdf Owner's Endorsement  - Required if the owner is authorizing another person or entity to make an application on their behalf.  If property is in a partnership, LLC or corporation additional information is required.

CE-200 - To be provided by homeowner or sole proprietor. Contractors with employees MUST submit Certificate of Worker's Compensation Insurance (C105.2 or U26.3) AND Certificate of Disability Benefits Compensation (DB120.1) Per Section 57 of Worker's Compensation Law, ACORD forms are NOT acceptable proof of coverage.

Fee Schedule- For complex renovations, additions or new construction it is recommended that the permit fee total be verified with the Building Inspector prior to submitting a payment. Permit payments and renewals should be made payable to the Town of Washington.

Tent Permit- Simplified application for large tents or temporary structures requiring a building permit.

Truss Notice 4/24/23- Required to be submitted with any applications for construction that will utilize trusses or engineered lumber structural elements. Additionally, a sign or symbol compliant with applicable NYS codes is required to be posted prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.

Table R301.2- Local design criteria.


Zoning Code Complete (Revised 7 22 2022)

  pdf Wetlands Law (Adopted 5-12-2011)  Regulations of activities such as construction or land clearing within the controlled buffer areas around sensitive wetlands or watercourses

Solar and Wind Energy Law (Adopted 2018) Regulations pertaining to solar panels and windmills

  pdf Land Subdivision Code

  pdf Appendix A, Schedule of District Use Regulations  A description of uses permitted by right or with Town approval in the respective zoning districts.

  pdf Appendix B, Schedule of Area & Bulk Regulations  Includes required setbacks from property lines and maximum lot coverage or structure height.

  pdf Current Zoning Map  Includes a map of the Town of Washington with Zoning use districts marked. Dutchess County ParcelAccess also includes this information as part of the parcel property card, as well as additional useful aerial, topographic and wetland overlays, property inventory information and measurement tools.

  pdf Current Wetlands Map  Please note, this is subject to field verification or deliniation.


Applications for structures, improvements or uses are first received by the Building Inspector or Zoning Administrator. In cases where the proposed construction or activity requires further approval, or is not permitted under the Town Zoning Code, this initial application will be denied and the applicant referred to either the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals.

Planning Board: Hears applications such as subdivisions, lot line adjustments, site plans for commercial projects, conversions of barns or construction of new accessory (guest or farm employee) residential housing, permit applications for signage, home occupations and soil mining or quarrying, applications for the installation of commercial solar arrays and telecommunications equipment, wetlands permits and other special permits as listed in the Zoning Code.

Zoning Board of Appeals: Hears applications for Use and Area Variances to the restrictions of the Zoning Code, Appeals for Review of orders, decisions and requirements made by the Building Inspector or Zoning Administrator, and Appeals for Interpretation.


Typically conducted as part of a real estate transaction or refinancing, a municipal title search is requested by an attorney or title search company to check if there are any Building or Zoning violations or open permits at a property, and includes a full report of the known inventory.

The fee for a municipal title search is $200, plus an additional $15 for each improvement separate from the primary structure, such as a barn, detached garage, guest house or swimming pool.

The Town of Washington requires that the following forms be supplied with every municipal search request, and the search cannot be completed until these have been received. A site visit will only be requested if there are any violations or inconsistencies discovered during the search.

Request for a Municipal Records Search

Consent to Inspection

Owner's Endorsement (Approved 8/13/20)


Complaints regarding building code violations, property maintenance code violations, or unsafe buildings may be made in writing, by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or, in emergency cases, by phone. 

  pdf Building Complaint Form

Complaints regarding Zoning Code violations, such as commercial use of a residentially zoned property without a Special Permit, or activity impacting a regulated wetland or watercourse must be received in writing, per Section 490.1 of the Zoning Code, except where such violations pose a threat to life, health or safety.

Zoning Complaint Form

Building & Zoning FAQs

Building fees vary depending on the type of project, but are typically based on square footage. Please see the posted fee schedule for details.

Permits are issued as quickly as possible, following a complete review for compliance with all applicable State and Local building and zoning codes. This typically takes between one business day for minor applications and several weeks for larger projects.

Incomplete applications cannot be accepted for review, and will result in delays.

You have the right to file for a variance from the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.  Please see the posted application form for an area variance for a checklist outlining the application process and required documentation.

Setbacks vary according to the zone you are in.  A list of setbacks for the various zones is found in Appendix B of the Town Zoning Code.

A second residential structure on your property will need approval by the Town Planning.  You should know before you proceed that Town code requires that you have double the acreage of the zone you are in.  For instance if you are in a 10 acre zone, you would be required to have 20 acres of land.  Furthermore, Department of Health approval will be required.

As required by State law, building permits for projects which cost over $20,000 may not be issued unless stamped plans have been provided, with the exception of: certain structures used directly and solely for agricultural purposes, OR single family dwellings of 1,500 square feet or less.

Yes.  Demolition permits are required for the removal of a structure or the substantial alteration of a structure.

As in all other municipalities which are required to enforce the New York State Building Codes, a permit is required for any tent larger than 400 square feet, except those used exclusively for recreational camping, or those open on all sides and no larger than 700 square feet, individually or in aggregate.

Inspections vary depending on the project. Typical inspections for an addition or new construction building include: a pre application site visit, footing inspection, inspection prior to pouring foundation walls or slab, framing inspection, rough electrical, HVAC and plumbing inspection (with pressure test), roofing underlayment and flashing inspection, and a final inspection upon completion. Various third party inspections may also be required, including: independent electrical inspection, or blower door testing for energy code compliance.

As in all municipalities required to enforce the New York State Building Code, a building permit is required before beginning any work, except that which is specifically exempted from requiring a permit under 19-NYCRR Part 1203.3. Most work involving cutting, modifying, or replacing structural components, the installation of permanent heating and cooling equipment such as heat pumps, installation of fuel gas piping or propane tanks, roof replacements, electrical work, pellet or wood stove installation, installation of any swimming pool deeper than 24" and even replacement windows and doors will require a permit. Typical work which is exempt from permit requirements includes: playground equipment, sheds smaller than 144 square feet, and the direct replacement of HVAC equpipment or water heaters which does not differ from the original specifications. 

Both your tax grid ID number and zoning district can be easily found by searching the Dutchess County ParcelAccess mapping tool. In addition to viewing a full property card which gives this information, several other useful tools exist, including map layers which shown wetlands, and a measuring tool which can be used to get approximate distances to property lines.