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Town Clerk FAQs
The fee for a marriage license is $40.00 which includes one certified license.
It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the paperwork for a marriage license. The Town Hall is currently closed due to the Coronavirus. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment to obtain a Marriage License.
A couple who intends to be married in New York State must apply in person for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state. Each applicant must furnish acceptable proof of age and identification by submitting one of the following age related documents:
- Birth Certificate
- Baptismal Record
- Naturalization Record
And one of the following identity related documents:
- Driver’s license
- Employment Picture ID
- Immigration Record
There is a twenty four hour waiting period from the time you obtain your marriage license until the time you are married. A marriage license is valid for 60 days, beginning 24 hours after it is issued.
Marriage License Worksheet – Complete this sample worksheet and bring it with you when you apply for a marriage license.
The cost of a marriage license is $40.00, which includes the issuance of a Certificate of Marriage Registration. This certificate is automatically sent by the issuing clerk to the applicants within 15 days after the completed license is returned by the officiant (person who performs the ceremony). It serves as notice that a record of the marriage is on file. Couples who do not receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration within four weeks of the wedding should contact the town or city clerk who issued the license.
Information regarding all previous marriages must be furnished in the application for a marriage license. This includes whether the former spouse or spouses are living and whether the applicants are divorced and if so, when, where and against whom the divorce or divorces were granted. A death certificate or certified copy of the decree of divorce or certificate of dissolution of marriage shall be required for each previous marriage. A copy of a Certificate of Dissolution can be obtained at the County Clerk’s Office in which it was filed; New York State makes this information available here.
A person’s last name (surname) does not automatically change upon marriage and neither party to the marriage is required to change his or her last name. The bride and groom need not take the same last name. One or both parties may elect to change the surname by which he or she wishes to be known after the marriage by entering the new name in the appropriate space provided on the marriage license.
The new name must consist of one of the following options:
- The surname of the other spouse
- Any former surname of either spouse
- A name combining into a single surname all or a segment of the pre-marriage name or any former surname of each spouse
- A combination name separated by hyphen, provided that each part of such combination surname is the pre-marriage surname, or any former surname of each of the spouses.
The use of this option will provide a record of your change of name. The marriage certificate, containing the new name is proof that the use of the new name is lawful. The local Social Security Administration office should be contacted for your social security identification can reflect the name change. Your marriage license surname cannot be changed after the marriage ceremony.
On June 24, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Marriage Equality Act. The Law amends New York’s Domestic Relations Law in the following ways:
- Applications for a marriage license shall be granted regardless of whether the parties are of the same or a different sex;
- A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or a different sex;
- No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being of the same sex or a different sex;
- No religious entity, benevolent organization or not-for-profit corporation that is operated, supervised or controlled by a religious entity, or its employees, can be required to perform marriage ceremonies or provide its facilities for marriage ceremonies, consistent with its religious principles.
Any couple that meets current requirements for getting married in New York State is eligible to marry regardless of sex. More information on the requirements of getting married in New York State is available at http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/marriage.htm.
As required by New York State Law, the Town Clerk maintains an accurate accounting of all births and deaths that occur within the town. (Excluding the Village of Millbrook) This information is confidential and is never disclosed over the telephone.
- Birth Certificates: A birth certificate is mailed to the parents of each child born within the Town of Washington. Certified copies are available for a fee of $10.00.
Requirements: A letter of request may be submitted in person or through the mail. The written request must include the following information:
- Birth name
- Date of birth
- Father’s name
- Mother’s maiden name
- Place of birth (address)
- Reason for request
- Signature on letter
- Fee of $10.00 for each copy requested
- If request is made through the mail, the signature must be notarized and include a self addressed stamped envelope.
- If birth name is different then current name on ID then a copy of a marriage license or legal document showing the name change
One (1) of the following forms of valid photo-ID:
- Driver license
- State issued non-driver photo-ID card
- U.S. Military issued photo-ID
- Two (2) of the following showing the applicant’s name and physical address:
- Utility or telephone bills
- Letter from a government agency dated within the last six (6) months
Important Notes: Failure to include necessary identification will result in rejection of your application.Copy of Passport required in addition to the above ID if request is made from a foreign country that requires a U.S. Passport for travel
Death Certificates may be obtained through the Town Clerk's office if the death occurred within the Town of Washington, excluding the Village of Millbrook.
Death Certificates may be issued to the spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased. Certificates may also be issued to a person with a:
- documented medical need
- documented lawful right of claim (provide proof)
- New York State Court Order
Upon written request, a certified transcript of death (death certificate) will be provided for a fee of $10.00 per copy.
We are able to provide copies of the following types of records for genealogy research purposes:
Birth Certificates – if on file for at least 75 years and the person whose name is on the birth certificate is known to be deceased.
Death Certificates – if on file for at least 50 years.
Marriage Certificates – if on file for at least 50 years and the bride and groom are both known to be deceased.
The time periods are waived for direct-line ancestor is a person in the direct line of descent, ie., the child, grandchild, great grandchild of the person whose record is requested.
The direct line ancestor applicant must provide the following:
- Proof of their relationship of the person whose record they are requesting.
- Proof of the death of the person whose birth certificate they are requesting.
- Proof of the death of the bride and groom whose marriage certificate they are requesting.
The standard fee for a genealogy search is $22.00. This includes a three year search of the index, the retrieval and re-filing of the document and either a copy of the record or a no record report. When more than a three year search is requested the fee increases. The fee applies separately for each record requested. Processing a genealogy request generally takes between 3 and 14 business days.
Dog licenses may be obtained at the Town Clerk's office. The fees are as follows:
- Spayed or neutered dogs $8.50
- Intact dogs $15.50
- Exempt from fees if proper documentation is provided: Guide Dog, Service Dog, War Dog or Police Work Dog
Dog licenses are to be renewed annually through the Town Clerk’s office. They may be renewed by mail or in person.
In the event of an enumeration, unlicensed dogs will be assessed an additional fee of $25.00.
Hunting and fishing licenses are issued during normal business hours. To renew a sporting license a current driver’s license is required. If applying for a hunting license for the first time, a hunter’s education certificate or previous proof of hunting must be presented. The fees vary depending upon the type of license being purchased.
For information on regulations and hunter education classes click below:
The Town Clerk's office is open Monday - Friday from 9 am - 3 pm. The Town Hall closes daily from 12:30 - 1:30.
The Assessor's office is open 9 am - 12 noon, Monday - Friday.
Afternoon hours are by appointment
To register for the STAR credit or to review the New York State STAR Exemption Program, please contact the New York State Department of Taxation at (518) 457-2036.
Senior, Veteran, Disability and Agricultural Exemption forms may be obtained from the Assessor's Office located on the second floor of the Town Hall or the New York State Department of Taxation website.
Information on Senior Citizen Exemptions
Information on Veterans' Exemptions
Information on Exemptions for Persons with Disabilities
Information for Agricultural Exemptions
The exemption application and required documentation must be filed by March 1st with the Assessors' Office.
- Physical property change due to new construction or demolition
- Correction of factual property features such as missing data
- Adjustment due to a change in market conditions
- Removal of expired Court decisions (grievance, small claims or other judicial review)
- Refinements to assessments to maintain equity for all property owners.
New York State Real Property Tax Law specifies that property values for the current Assessment Roll be based on real estate market conditions as of July 1, the prior year. Any increase in your assessment is generally due to physical changes in your property or changes in market conditions from July 1, to June 30th.
- Additions, garages, barns, pools, tennis courts, decks and othher improvements that have been made to the property
- Increase or decrease in value due to neighborhood desirability.
- Land value adjustments based on neighborhood delineations.
Justice Court FAQs
The Highway Garage is located at 21 Russell Knolls, Millbrook, NY 12545.
Town roads are assessed on a regular basis by the Highway Superintendent.
Paving schedules are determined by the funds that are available and the maintenance that is needed for the safety of our community.
Potholes are repaired year round. If you have a pothole in your area that needs repair, please call 677-3910, and the Highway Superintendent will inspect the area to determine the best course of action.
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.
Tax Collector FAQs
YES. The failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by law (NYS Tax Law Section 922). Neither the tax collector nor any other official has the authority to waive statutory penalty charges.
Yes, you may pay a tax bill using Visa or Mastercard.
There is an additional credit card processing fee charged by the processing companies that will be automatically charged to your credit card.
The town does not accept partial payments. The bill must be paid in one full payment.
No, payments may be mailed to the Tax Office. A US Postal Service postmark is used to determine the date the payment was made. We recommend that if you are waiting to the last day to pay your taxes, that you see the postal clerk affix the postmark. A postage machine, such as Pitney Bowes, does not count as a US Postal Service postmark.
If you are a property owner 65 years or older or have a disability you may complete the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Form RP-923 to have a copy of your bill or notice of unpaid taxes sent to a third party. Request for a duplicate tax bill
The new assessed value should be first applied on the school tax bill. If the new assessment hasn’t been applied to the bill, please contact the Assessor’s Office at (845) 677-8321. You will be required to complete an App for Corrected Tax Roll.
Town Board FAQs
Zoning Board of Appeals FAQs
A variance is permission granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals so that property may be used in a manner not allowed by the local zoning code.
- Use Variance: a request to use land for a purpose not allowed in the zoning regulations.
- Area Variance: a request to obtain relief from the dimensional requirements of zoning regulations, such as setbacks from property lines or maximum lot coverage.
Variances provide flexibility in the application of the zoning law and afford the landowner an opportunity to apply for administrative relief from certain provisions of the law.
The Zoning Board of Appeals has been delegated the statutory authority to issue Use and Area variances. The jurisdiction of the Zoning Board of Appeals is limited to reviewing the decisions of, or hearing appeals from, determinations made by the administrative official charged with enforcing the Zoning code. The Board is limited to granting the MINIMUM variance necessary that addresses the need for a variance while preserving the character, health, safety and welfare of the community.
When an application for permission to build is made to the Building Inspector that does not comply with the literal requirements of the Zoning Code, the Building Inspector must deny the application. If the reason for the denial is that the application violates the use or area provisions of the law, the applicant may apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a Use or Area Variance.
To obtain a Use Variance, the applicant must demonstrate that the applicable zoning regulations cause an unnecessary hardship. To prove unnecessary hardship, the applicant must establish that the requested variance meets ALL four of the following statutory conditions:
- No reasonable return: The property owner cannot realize a reasonable return on the property, as zoned, provided that the lack of return is substantial, as demonstrated by competent financial evidence.
- Unique circumstances: The hardship must be unique to the owner's property and not applicable to substantial portion of the zoning district.
- Granting the variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.
- The hardship must not be self created.
These four conditions are requirements that must be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals during reviews of applications for Use variances. Furthermore, the Board must find that the applicant has met all four elements before a Use variance may be granted.
For the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a variance from the dimesional and area requirements of the Zoning code, it must find that the benefits to the applicant of the requested variance will outweigh the detriment that the granting of the variance would cause to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood. The Board must weight the benefits of the requested variance to the applicant against the five factors set forth in the statute, however, for Area variances, satisfying all five factors is not required under the law.
- Change to the neighborhood character: Will an undesireable change be produced in the character of the neighborhood, or a detriment to nearby properties be created by the granting of an Area variance?
- Alternatives: Can the benefit sought by the applicant be achieved by some method, feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an Area variance? For example; can a proposed addition be constructed in a different location on the property where a varaince would not be required? The applicant should at least explain the possibility of various alternatives and explain why they may or may not be feasible.
- Substantiality of the request: Is the requested Area variance substantial or minimal?
- Effect on physical or environmental conditions: Will the proposed Area variance have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or zoning district?
- Is the alleged difficulty self created?
The Zoning Board of Appeals, when granting a Use or Area variance, may impose reasonable conditions and restrictions that are directly related to, and incidental to, the proposed use of the property. Once granted, Use and Area variances will continue to apply to the subject property, along with any reasonable conditions, and are not personal to the property owner. For example; the ZBA may not restrict a variance to use by only the current property owner.
Planning Board FAQs
The Town of Washington Zoning Code requires the following types of projects to be reviewed by the Planning Board:
- Subdivisions of land (Residential and non-residential)
- Lot line adjustments
- Site plans or changes to existing site plans for Commercial projects
- Stables and Riding Academies (Public or private)
- Conversions of Barns and Accessory structures to residential use
- Construction of Accessory Residential Housing (permanent or temporary)
- Signs, except as permitted by right under Section 331 of the Zoning code
- Most home occupations
- Any Soil Mining or Quarrying activity
- Installation of certain Solar Energy or Telecommunications equipment
- Wetlands Permits
- Other Special Permits, as listed in the Zoning code
No. A variance is required when a property owner wants to build structures or use land in ways that are contrary to existing local zoning regulations. The property owner would seek a variance through the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Uses and structure limitations (such as setbacks from property lines, maximum lot coverage, and maximum building height) can be found in the Zoning Code.
For any questions or assistance, please contact the Building and Land Use department, or see additional information available on the Building and Land Use home page.
The Town of Washington has a Wetlands and Watercourses Law, which requires that a property owner apply file a seperate WETLAND PERMIT FORM before any work is commenced on or near a wetland area or watercourse. This regulated area ist typically 50 to 100 feet from the edge of the wetland area or watercourse.
The Planning Board meets once a month, on the first Tuesday of the month, usually at 6:00 P.M. See the current Planning Board schedule for specific meeting dates and application deadlines (typically two weeks prior to the meeting)
Planning Board applications can be downloaded from the Planning Board home page of the Town website (above) or can be obtained by contacting or visiting the Building and Land Use department at the Town hall during operating hours.
Yes. Fees and escrow fees for Planning Board applications can be found on the list of Planning Board fees (above). In addition, if a Public Hearing is required as part of your application, notification costs such as postage and newspaper publication are borne by the applicant.
Yes. The applicant or their authorized representative must be present and explain the project to the Board at the public meeting. Often, questions are asked by the Board or members of the public and additional clarification or information may be needed before the Planning Board can make a final decision.
In some cases, where change in use of the home is considered "de minimus" no approval is required. In other cases, the proposed home occupation is permitted by right, and an application for a permit would be directed to the Zoning Administrator. In still other cases, certain home occupations and uses are permitted only by Special Permit and approval of the Planning Board is required. See Section 321 of the Zoning Code. When Planning Board approval is necessary, the applicant must fill out the Planning Board application and any other required documentation and submit this to the Planning Board secretary. A public hearing will be required before the Planning Board votes on your application for a Special Permit. Please contact the Zoning Administrator for any questions or clarification on which situation applies in your case.
The Town of Washington has a Wetlands Law that requires that a Wetland Permit be obtained prior to beginning any modifications such as clear cutting, filling, construction, dredging or excavating in a regulated wetland, watercourse, or within the controlled area of a wetland or watercourse (typically 50-100 feet from the boundary of the wetland or watercourse) This application is available through the Planning Board home page (above)
A lot line change that has been agreed upon by both affected landowners can usually be acheived in a fairly simple way. The parties fill out a Planning Board application and submit that together with a survey showing the property line changes. A proposed lot line adjustment is subject to Article II, Section 20.2 (Minor Subdivisions and Lot Line Adjustments) of the Town's subdivision regulations. However, the Planning Board has historically not treated lot line adjustments (with no new lots created) as subdivisions and generally does not require a public hearing. The applicant (or their representative) must appear before the Board to discuss the application. If no new lots are created and there are no significant environmental impacts, the Board will usually vote on the proposed lot line change at that first meeting.
If an application is approved by the Planning Board, the next step is dependent on the type of application and the type of approval granted. In some cases, conditions are established by the Planning Board in their approval, which may need to be met and confirmed prior to proceeding with the project. It is important that applicants make note of these conditions and/or contact the Planning department for clarification of what is required in order to proceed.