2. Words and Terms

2.1 Basic Usage

 

2.1.A  Basic Rules

1.  In the construction, interpretation, application, use and enforcement of these Regulations, the rules, terms, and definitions contained in this Section shall be observed and applied, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise.

2.  In the construction, interpretation, application, use and enforcement of these Regulations, words or terms not defined in this Section shall be interpreted by the Commission. In making any such interpretation, the Commission may:

a. Consider the meaning that will give the regulation its most reasonable application;

b. Consider the common meaning of the word or term; and/or

c. Consult one or more of the following:

i. The State Building Code, as amended.

ii. The Connecticut General Statutes, as amended.

iii. The Illustrated Book of Development Definitions (Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research (Piscataway, NJ), as amended

iv. Black’s Law Dictionary.

v. A comprehensive general dictionary.

 

3.  In the construction, interpretation, application, use and enforcement of these Regulations, the following rules shall apply:

a. The word “shall” is mandatory and not discretionary.

b. The word “may” is permissive.

c. Words used in the singular may include the plural, and the plural the singular.

d. Words used in the present tense may include the future tense.

e. Words which are specifically masculine or feminine shall be interpreted as interchangeable.

f. Any official, agency, commission, board or department identified in these Regulations is that of the City of Groton, unless otherwise specified.

 

 2.1.B  Common Terms

In the construction, interpretation, application, use and enforcement of these Regulations, commonly used terms shall be interpreted as follows:

1.  The word “lot” includes the words “plot”, “site” and “parcel”.

2.  The words “zone”, “zoning district”, and “district” have the same meaning.

3.  The phrase “used for” includes the phrases “arranged for”, “designed for”, “intended for”, “maintained for” and “occupied for”, and vice versa.

4.  The phrase “these Regulations” refers to the entire Zoning Regulations of the City of Groton.

5.  The word “Section” refers to a section of these Regulations, unless otherwise specified.

6.  The word “person” or “applicant” includes any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, organization or other legal entity.

7.  The word “building” includes the word “structure”, and any part thereof.

8.  The word “built” includes the words “erected”, “constructed”, “reconstructed”, “altered”, or “enlarged”.

9.  The “City” means the City of Groton, Connecticut.

10.  The “State” means the State of Connecticut.

11. The “Commission” means the Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Groton, unless otherwise specified.

12.  The phrase “Zoning Map” means the latest officially adopted Zoning Map of the City of Groton.

2.2 Definitions

For the purpose of these Regulations, except as otherwise stated or as the context may otherwise require, the following words shall be defined as follows:

NOTE: Select the alphanumeric tab on the left corresponding to the term you are searching

Accessory See “Principal vs Accessory” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Agriculture – As defined in CGS Section 1-1(q), the cultivation of the soil, dairying, forestry, raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including the raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training and management of livestock, including horses, bees, poultry, fur-bearing animals and wildlife, and the raising or harvesting of oysters, clams, mussels, other molluscan shellfish or fish; the operation, management, conservation, improvement or maintenance of a farm and its buildings, tools and equipment, or salvaging timber or cleared land of brush or other debris left by a storm, as an incident to such farming operations; the production or harvesting of maple syrup or maple sugar, or any agricultural commodity, including lumber, as an incident to ordinary farming operations or the harvesting of mushrooms, the hatching of poultry, or the construction, operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs or waterways used exclusively for farming purposes; handling, planting, drying, packing, packaging, processing, freezing, grading, storing or delivering to storage or to market, or to a carrier for transportation to market, or for direct sale any agricultural or horticultural commodity as an incident to ordinary farming operations, or, in the case of fruits and vegetables, as an incident to the preparation of such fruits or vegetables for market or for direct sale. See “Aquaculture”, “Farm”, and “Farming” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Amusement Center – A business establishment containing more than three amusement devices.

Amusement Device – A machine that is controlled and operated by the insertion of a coin or token or electronic remuneration and intended for the amusement or recreation of a patron, including, but not limited to, baseball and football games, pinball games, electronic video games, and other similar games.  Such devices shall be considered accessory an establishment provided there are three or fewer devices.

Animal Hospital– Any lot on which four or more dogs or cats or other animals, six months or older, are available for sale, boarded for compensation, or kept for medical treatment.

Animated SignSee “Sign-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Antenna – A device used to receive or transmit telecommunications or radio signals.  Such signals shall include, but not be limited to, radio, television, cellular telephone, paging, personal communication services (PCS), and microwave communications.  Examples include panels, microwave dishes, and single poles known as whip antennae.

Apartment – A room or suite of two or more rooms within a multi-unit structure which is rented or occupied as the home or residence of an individual, family, or household.

 Aquaculture – The farming of the waters of the state and tidal wetlands and the production of protein food, including fish, oysters, clams, mussels and other molluscan shellfish, on leased, franchised and public underwater farm lands.  See “Agriculture”, “Farm”, and “Farming.”

Assisted LivingSee “Institutional Residential Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

BannersSee “Sign-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

BasementSee “Story-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations. 

Bed and Breakfast EstablishmentSee “Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Boarding HouseSee “Residential Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Boarding, Rooming, or Lodging UnitSee “Residential Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Board / Passenger / Vehicle Ferry –  See “Ferry and Boat-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Buffer or Buffer Strip – A strip of landscaped land along a property line which, with the exception of required utility installations, shall be free of any building or use.

 

Building vs Structure

 

Building –A structure having a roof supported by columns or walls which is permanently affixed to the ground for the housing or enclosure of persons, animals, or property.  The definition shall include any independent units into which a building is divided by party walls.

  • The connection of two buildings by means of an open porch, breezeway, passageway, carport, or other such open structure, with or without a roof, shall not be deemed to make them one building, except in the case of a private garage so attached to a dwelling.
  • The term “building” shall not include mobile homes or trailers.

 

Structure –Anything constructed or erected which requires location on the ground or attachment to something having a location on the ground.  Except as otherwise indicated, “structures” as used in these Regulations shall be deemed to include buildings, swimming pools, open entries, pier signs, and fences or walls,. See Section 5.3.D of these Regulations for the definition of structure for floodplain management purposes.

 

 

BuildingSee “Building vs Structure” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Building, AccessorySee “Principal vs Accessory” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Building Group – Two or more principal buildings located on a single lot.

 

Building Height

 

Building Height – The vertical distance measured from average level of the ground along the street facade of the building to:

  • The highest point of the roof beams in the case of flat roofs;
  • To the average height of the gable in the case of pitched roofs; or
  • To the highest point of the building where no roof beams exist or there are structures wholly or partly above the roof.

 

Building, PrincipalSee “Principal vs Accessory” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Building Setback LineSee “Setback” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Business Services – Establishments primarily engaged in rendering business-type services including but not limited to banks, credit unions, loan companies, and other financial institutions, real estate and insurance agencies, utility offices, government, and printers.

CellarSee “Story-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Certified Massage Therapy – In accordance with CGS Section 20-206a(d), as may be amended, the systematic and scientific manipulation and treatment of the soft tissues of the body:

  • By use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means; and
  • By a therapist certified by the state of Connecticut as having met at least one of the following requirements:
    • Successful completion of a course of study that provides 500 or more classroom hours at a school of  massage therapy accredited by the American Massage Therapy Association; or
    • Successful completion of 70 classroom hours at a school of massage therapy accredited by the American Massage Therapy Association in addition to prior medical training including a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, physical therapy, chiropractic science, osteopathy, or medicine.

Child Day Care CenterSee “Day Care-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Clubs, Lodges, and Associations – A recognized organization duly formed or existing under the laws of the State of Connecticut which has been established and is operated for a recreational, social, fraternal, religious, political, or athletic purpose whose facilities and activities are available only to the members and guests, and specifically excluding any organization whose chief activity is carried on primarily for business or gain unless specifically approved or authorized by the Commission.

Coastal Resources – As defined in CGS Section 22a-93, the coastal waters of the state, their natural resources, related marine and wildlife habitat and adjacent shorelands, both developed and undeveloped, that together form an integrated terrestrial and estuarine ecosystem.

Commission – The Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Groton.

Community Residential Counseling Facility  – See “Institutional Residential Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Condominium – A form of ownership in which more than one owner has control over a certain property jointly with one or more persons.

Congregate HousingSee “Institutional Residential Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Convalescent Home, Nursing Home, or Rest HomeSee “Institutional Residential Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Cooperative – A form of ownership in which more than one stockholder of a corporation has control over a certain property jointly with one or more other stockholders.

Corner LotSee “Lot-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 

Coverage-Related Terms

 

Building Coverage – The portion or percentage of a lot occupied or intended to be occupied by all buildings and structures on such lot as enclosed by the walls of all buildings on a lot, together with the area enclosed by the columns of all covered porches and similar roofed structures.  For the purposes of calculating building coverage, fences, landscape walls, and retaining walls shall not be included

 

Lot Coverage See “Building Coverage” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 

Day Care-Related Terms

Day Care –A program of supplementary care to people outside their own homes on a regular basis for a part of the twenty-four hours in one or more days in the week, generally excluding overnight hours.

Adult Day Care –Day care provided to adults unable to take care of themselves and/or in need of assistance.

Child Day Care –Day care provided to children, including nursery school and pre-school programs.

Day Care Center –A location which offers or provides day care to more than twelve related or unrelated people outside their own homes on a regular basis.

Family Day Care Home (Child) –A private family home caring for not more than six children, including the provider’s own children not in school full time, where the children are cared for not less than three or more than twelve hours during a twenty-four-hour period and where care is given on a regularly recurring basis except that care may be provided in excess of twelve hours but not more than seventy-two consecutive hours to accommodate a need for extended care or intermittent short-term overnight care.  During the regular school year, a maximum of three additional children who are in school full time, including the provider’s own children, shall be permitted, except that if the provider has more than three children who are in school full time, all of the provider’s children shall be permitted; This definition shall not be deemed to represent an intensification of use of a property.

Family Day Care Home (Adult) –A private family home caring for not more than six people, including the provider’s own adult relatives where the people are cared for not less than three or more than twelve hours during a twenty-four-hour period and where care is given on a regularly recurring basis.

Group Day Care Home –A location which offers or provides day care:

  • to not fewer than seven or more than 12 related or unrelated people; or
  • That meets the definition of a family day care home except that it operates in a facility other than a private family home.

 

Developable Land – With regard to limitations on the number of lots in a subdivision in a residential zone, the amount of developable land is determined by the following methodology:

  1. Take the “gross area” of the property.
  2. Deduct the area of easements, rights-of-way, and other areas restricted from development use to determine the “available area”.
  3. Calculate each of the following:
Resource-Restricted Area   Minimum Open Space Area
Within the “available area”, determine the amount of “resource area” by summing the area(s) on the property that are restricted due to the presence of any of the following resources:

a.       Inland wetlands;

b.      Tidal wetlands;

c.       Steep slopes (20 percent or steeper); or

d.      Coastal resources as defined by Section 22a- 93(7) of the Connecticut General Statutes, except shorelands, developed shorefronts and coastal flood hazard areas.

 

In accordance with Section 3.05.5 of the Subdivision Regulations, multiply the “gross area” of the property by the open space set-aside percentage.

 

Express the result in square feet or acres.

 

Determine the percentage that the “resource area” represents relative to the “available area.”
Multiply the resource area by this percentage (for example, if the resource area represents 26 percent of the available area, take 26 percent of the resource area) to determine the resource deduction (expressed in square feet or acres).
 4.  Determine which result (“resource-restricted area” or “minimum open space area” is larger) and deduct this from the “available area” to result in “developable area.”

 

Development – Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to, the construction of buildings or structures; the construction of additions, alterations or substantial improvements to buildings or structures; the placement of buildings or structures; mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment; the storage, deposition, or extraction of materials; and the installation, repair or removal of public or private sewage disposal systems or water supply facilities.

Drinking Establishment – An establishment where the primary activity is the sale of alcoholic beverages at retail for consumption on the premises under a permit from the Liquor Control Commission for a café or tavern.

Drive-In Establishment – A business establishment so developed that its principal retail or service character is dependent on providing a driveway approach or parking spaces for motor vehicles so as to either serve patrons while in the motor vehicle or permits consumption in the motor vehicle of food or beverage obtained by a patron from said business establishment, (e.g., restaurants, service stations, cleaners, banks, theaters, etc.).

Drop Box – An outdoor receptacle used to receive donations or contributions which has not been specifically approved or authorized by the City Planner or by the Commission.

 

Dwelling-Related Terms

 

Dwelling – A building, or portion thereof, other than a Quonset hut, Nielson hut, or similar portable buildings used exclusively for residential occupancy, including one-family, two-family, and multi-family dwellings.

Dwelling Unit – A dwelling, or portion thereof, providing a single housekeeping unit with complete living, sleeping, cooking, and eating facilities, including bathroom facilities.

One-Family Detached Dwelling– A dwelling accommodating one dwelling unit and having no party walls or walls in common with an adjacent house or houses.

One-Family Semi-Detached Dwelling– A one-family dwelling having one vertical party wall in common with an adjacent house, the two houses together accommodating but two dwelling units, one on either side of the vertical party wall.

Two-Family Detached Dwelling– A dwelling accommodating two dwelling units and having no vertical party wall or walls in common with an adjacent house or houses.

Multiple-Family Dwelling– A dwelling in which three or more families dwell independently, each occupying one or more bedrooms and kitchen.

 

Eating EstablishmentSee “Restaurant in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Family – Any number of individuals occupying a dwelling unit and living and cooking together as a single not-for-profit housekeeping unit, with all rooms used in common.  Occupants of an Institutional Residential Facility as that term is used in these Regulations shall not be considered to constitute a family.

Family Day Care HomeSee “Day Care-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Farm – A property used for farming including the farm buildings, and accessory buildings thereto, nurseries, orchards, ranges, greenhouses, hoop-houses and other temporary structures or other farming structures used primarily for the raising and, as an incident to ordinary farming operations, the sale of agricultural or horticultural commodities.

FarmingSee “Agriculture” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 

Ferry And Boat-Related Terms

Board / Passenger / Vehicle Ferry –A ferry boat which carries passengers and vehicles on trips which have separate origin and destination points, one or both of which are within the City of Groton.

Passenger Ferry –A ferry boat intended to carry passengers only and not vehicles on trips which have separate origin and destination points, one or both of which are within the City of Groton.

Tour / Sportfishing Boat –Boats which carry passengers on recreational trips, when the trip has an origin point within the City of Groton.

 

Flood-Related Terms

See “Flood-Related Terms” in Section 5.3.D of these Regulations.

 

Floor Area – The floor area of a building is the sum of the gross horizontal areas of the several floors of all buildings on the lot, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the centerline of walls separating two buildings.  Floor area shall include the area of basements when used for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, but need not include a cellar or portion of a basement used for incidental storage or housing of mechanical or central heating equipment.

Functionally-Dependent FacilitySee “Water Dependent” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Garage, Private – An accessory building, or portion of a principal building, used for the storage of vehicles as an accessory use.

Garage, Vehicle Repair, and/or Service – A facility used for repairing, overhauling, removing, adjusting, replacing, assembling, or disassembling any parts of any motor, engine, or vehicle.

Gasoline Station – Any lot, building, or part thereof, used for the sale of gasoline or other petroleum, and which may include facilities for lubrication, washing, or otherwise servicing vehicles, but not including any painting.

GrandfatheredSee “Non-Conforming-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Group Day Care HomeSee “Day Care-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Habitable Room – A room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating purposes, excluding kitchenettes or dining bays less than 60 square feet in area, bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers, or communicating corridors, closets, storage spaces, and basements.

Halfway HouseSee “Institutional Residential Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Half-StorySee “Story-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Historic/Institutional Adaptive Reuse – The reuse of an existing building owned by the City or Town of Groton, the State of Connecticut or an institution that is of historic, architectural, or aesthetic significance to a use that is not otherwise allowed in the zone.

 

Home-Based Business

Home-Based Business — The use of a portion of a dwelling for business purposes by the resident occupants which use is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of such dwelling unit for dwelling purposes when such use does not change the residential character thereof.

Home Office — The use of a dwelling for occasional business use (as part of employment typically occurring elsewhere) or a home-based business involving no employees and minimal visits to the premises by non-residents.

Home Occupation, Minor — The use of a dwelling for a home-based business (which shall not involve more than one (1) non-resident employee) involving no more than five (5) patron, client, or associate visits per week.

Home Occupation, Major — The use of a dwelling for a home-based business when it involves:

·         Two (2) or more non-resident employees;

·         Or six or more patron, client, or associate visits per week; or

·         Classroom, studio, or outdoor teaching activity not normally permitted in the district.

A home-based business might include dressmaking and millinery, or might include consultation by such professions as physicians, dentists, lawyers, clergymen, architects, musicians, engineers, teachers, insurance agents, or real estate brokers.

Barbershops; beauty parlors; beauticians; manufacturing; commercial woodworking; animal hospitals; dance studios; mortuaries; tea rooms; restaurants; metal working; automobile, boat or other vehicle repair or painting; and other uses as may be determined by the Commission are specifically excluded from the definition of home-based business.

 

Hospital – A building licensed by the State Department of Health having facilities, medical staff, and all necessary personnel to provide diagnosis, care, and treatment of a wide range of acute conditions or chronic disease, including injuries.

Hotel –  See “Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 

Institutional Residential Facilities

Assisted Living – A residential environment consisting of private residential units and/or a managed group living environment primarily for persons who are fifty-five years of age or older where nursing services and assistance with activities of daily living is provided to help maintain a maximum level of independence.

Community Residential Counseling Facility  – A residential building or group of buildings in which counselors and staff members provide counseling, rehabilitation, evaluation, and/or other supportive services to a maximum of sixteen resident persons in lodging units, excluding dependents, seeking to arrest, reverse, or ameliorate a problem or disorder, including the compulsive use of alcohol or drugs, pursuant to an organized and structured program.

Included in this definition are facilities for women and/or children who have suffered physical abuse in a domestic relationship, as well as those facilities not exempted under CGS Section 8-3e.

This definition shall not include correctional institutions, halfway houses, group homes, or other community correction programs under the jurisdiction of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction pursuant to CGS Section 18-100, as may be amended, or court-ordered treatment programs under CGS Sections 19a-127e through 19a-127h, as may be amended.

Congregate Housing – A residential environment consisting of independent living assisted by congregate meals, housekeeping and services for residents, for persons sixty-two years old or older, who have temporary or periodic difficulties with one or more essential activities of daily living such as feeding, bathing, grooming, dressing or mobility.

Convalescent Home, Nursing Home, or Rest Home.An institution licensed by the State Department of Health having facilities and all necessary personnel to provide services of a personal nature, nursing care under medical supervision, and direction to carry out non-surgical treatment, and dietary procedures for chronic diseases or convalescent stages of acute disease or injuries.

Halfway House –A building or group of buildings containing a residential or non-residential program, as the case may be, in which counselors and staff members provide supervision, counseling, rehabilitation, evaluation, and/or other support services to a maximum of sixteen resident persons under the jurisdiction of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction, the State of Connecticut Judicial Department, or the State of Connecticut Department of Health and Addiction Services, pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes.

 

Institution or institutional Use – A facility that provides a public service and is operated by a public or public/private group that is nonprofit in nature.

Junkyard or Motor Junk Business – The term “junk yard” shall be construed to include any “junkyard,” “motor vehicle junk business,” and “motor vehicle junk yard,” as defined in State Statutes, any place of business or of outside storage or deposit, whether in connection with another business or not, which has stored or deposited two or more unregistered vehicles which are no longer intended or in condition for legal use on the public highways, or used parts of vehicles or old iron, metal, glass, paper, cordage, or other waste material or discarded second-hand material which has been a part, or intended to be a part, of any vehicle, the sum of which parts or material shall be equal in bulk to two or more vehicles.  Said term shall also include any place of business or of outside storage or deposit of vehicles for parts or for use of the metal for scrap and where it is intended to burn materials which are part of a vehicle or cut up of the parts thereof.

Landscaped / Landscaping – The term landscaped or landscaping shall mean an area appropriately graded and with the exception of ledge and natural rock outcropping shall be at least covered with grass, ground cover, evergreen plantings, and any additional plantings required by the Regulations or the Commission.  See “Buffer or Buffer Strip”  See “Screening, Complete Visual” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Licensed Medical Marijuana Dispensary – A pharmacist licensed pursuant to Chapter 400j of the Connecticut General Statutes, who the Department of Consumer Protection has licensed to acquire, possess, distribute, and dispense marijuana pursuant to sections 1 to 15, inclusive, of “An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana”.

Licensed Medical Marijuana Producer – A person or organization that is licensed as a producer by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection under section 10 of an “An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana and whose purpose is to cultivate marijuana for palliative use and selling, delivering, transporting or distributing such marijuana only to licensed dispensaries under sections 1 to 15, inclusive of the above Act.

 

Lodging Facilities

Bed and Breakfast Establishment – An owner-occupied building and property (i.e., the principal residence of the owner) having six or fewer guest rooms without separate kitchen facilities, in which overnight accommodations and breakfast only are provided to guests for a fee.

Hotel – A building providing transient lodging for the general public with or without meals and intended for public accommodation, and so designed that normal access and egress are controlled from a central point, and further, that no provisions are made for cooking in any lodging room.

Motel – A building or group of buildings providing transient lodging for the general public, having a private outside entrance for each room or suite of rooms, and for each of which rooms or suite of rooms off-street parking spaces are provided on the premises, and further, that no provision is made for cooking in any lodging room.

 

Lot-Related Terms

Lot – A plot or parcel of land:

  • under the same ownership,
  • occupied or capable of being occupied by a principal building (or group of principal buildings, where so allowed) and the accessory buildings or uses customarily incident thereto, and
  • including such areas, setbacks, and yards as are required by these Regulations.

Lot-Types

Corner Lot–A front lot abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection.

Front Lot–A lot having the required lot width on a street.

Rear Lot–A lot in which the buildable area is located generally to the rear of other lots having frontage on the same street.

Through Lot–A lot, other than a corner lot, which has frontage on two or more streets.

Lot Line Locations

Lot Line – Any property line bounding a lot.

Street Line –The dividing property line between a street accepted by the City of Groton or approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission under the Subdivision Regulations and the lot.

Front Lot Line –On a rear lot, the lot line which is adjacent to the accessway leading to the rear lot and which is most closely parallel to the street providing access.

Rear Lot Line –The lot line generally opposite to the street line; if the rear lot line is less than 10 feet in length, or if the lot comes to a point in the rear, the rear lot line shall be deemed to be a line parallel to the street line, not less than 10 feet in length, lying farthest from the street line.

Side Lot Line –A lot line other than a “street line” or a “rear lot line.”

Lot Measurements

Lot Area – The gross horizontal area contained within the property lines of the lot.

Lot CoverageSee “Coverage-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Lot Depth – The mean distance from the street line of the lot measured in the general direction of the sidelines of the lot.

Lot Width – The horizontal distance between side lot lines measured parallel to the street line and along the front yard setback line.

Mean High Watermark – The average height of the tide measured and recorded during any given day or cycle period.

Micro-Brewery-Distillery-Winery – A facility manufacturing and/or producing beer, wine, and/or spirits and including the packaging of such alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises for retail or wholesale sales, or a combination thereof.

Motel –  See “Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Nightclub / Lounge / Dance Hall – A space in a building providing facilities for dancing and/or entertainment, and which may or may not be operated in conjunction with a restaurant / eating establishment or a drinking establishment.

 

Non-Conforming-Related Terms

Non-Conforming –A condition or situation that is not in conformance with a requirement of these Regulations.

Pre-Existing Non-Conforming – A condition or situation which existed lawfully on the effective date of these Regulations or any amendment thereto, and which fails to conform to one or more of the applicable provisions or requirements of these Regulations or such amendment thereto.

“Grandfathered” –A term used to describe a pre-existing non-conforming situation.

Non-Conforming Lot – A lot which does not conform to these Zoning Regulations for any prescribed lot requirements, such as lot area, width, or depth.

Non-Conforming Structure – A structure or building which does not conform to these Zoning Regulations for any prescribed structure or building requirement, such as front, side, or rear yard setback; building height, or building coverage; lot area per dwelling unit; dwelling units per building; parking and loading spaces; etc.

Non-Conforming Use – A use, whether of a building, structure, or lot, or combination thereof, which does not conform to the use regulations of the zoning district in which it is located.

 

Open Space – An area of land which is either naturally vegetated, is landscaped, or is developed and maintained for recreation or conservation purposes.

Open Space, Usable – That portion of the ground space on the same lot and contiguous to the principal building which is either landscaped or developed and maintained for recreation or conservation purposes.  Usable open space shall not include those portions of a lot that are utilized for off-street parking or loading, driveway or building purposes.  Usable open space shall not include those portions of a lot deemed unusable for recreation or conservation purposes by the Planning and Zoning Commission because of severe or dangerous topographic or soil conditions.  (as used in the “Multi-Family Standards” section of the Regulations)

Parking Lot – An area other than a street used for the parking of registered vehicles.

Passenger Ferry See “Ferry and Boat-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Personal Services – Establishments primarily engaged in providing services involving the care of a person or their personal goods or apparel including but not limited to barbershops, beauty salons, shoe repair, health clubs, certified massage therapy, laundromats, tailor, dressmaking, and millinery.

Premises – A lot, plot, or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon.

 

Principal vs Accessory

Principal Use – The primary or predominant use or activity of a lot, building, structure, or property.  See also “Accessory Use”

Accessory Use – A use of land, building, or structure which is clearly incidental to, and customarily in connection with and located on the same lot with the principal building or use.  See also “Principal Use”

Parameters For Being “Accessory”

Customary – Something commonly practiced, used, or observed such that it is considered conventional and typical rather than unusual.

Incidental  – Something likely to ensue as a minor consequence of another activity or something that happens as a minor part or result of something else.

Subordinate – Something inferior, smaller, fewer, and of less importance or impact or something placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position.

Principal Building / Structure – A building in which is conducted the main or principal use of the lot on which said building is located.  The connection of another building or structure to the principal building or structure by means of an open porch, breezeway, passageway, carport, or other such open structure, with or without a roof, shall not be deemed to make such other building or structure part of the principal building or structure, except in the case of a private garage so attached to a dwelling.  See also “Accessory Building/Structure” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Accessory Building / Structure – A building or structure which is customarily incidental and clearly subordinate to the principal building and/or use on the same property.  The connection of a building or structure to the principal building or structure by means of an open porch, breezeway, passageway, carport, or other such open structure, with or without a roof, shall not be deemed to make such other building or structure part of the principal building or structure, except in the case of a private garage so attached to a dwelling.  See also “Principal Building” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 

Rear LotSee “Lot-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Rear Lot LineSee “Lot-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Recreational Vehicle – A vehicle which is: a)  built on a single chassis;  b)  measures 400 square feet or less at the largest horizontal projections;  c)  designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable; and,  d)  designed primarily not for use a permanent dwelling, but a temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

Repair Services – Establishments providing repair of electronic devices, office equipment, furniture, and similar items including but not limited to radio, television, and electrical appliances, upholstery shops, and shoe repair shops, but excluding automotive repair or services, major repair of boats or marine equipment, or machinery repair.

 

Residential Lodging Facilities

Boarding House –A dwelling providing unsupervised and uncounseled living situations in which meals, or rooms and meals, are provided for compensation to more than one, but fewer than sixteen persons other than members of the family of the proprietor.

Boarding, Rooming, or Lodging Unit –A building or portion thereof providing a single housekeeping unit in an unsupervised and uncounseled setting, with living and sleeping facilities, including bathroom facilities, but excluding cooking and eating facilities.

Rooming House –A building providing unsupervised and uncounseled living situations in which rooms are rented for compensation to more than one (1), but fewer than sixteen (16), persons other than members of the family of the proprietor.  The serving of meals or provision for cooking is prohibited.

 

Restaurant / Eating Establishment – An establishment in a permanent building, kept, used, maintained, and advertised as a place where meals are regularly served to the general public.

Retail Business – An establishment engaged in selling goods or merchandise to the general public for personal or household consumption.  This may include but is not limited to apparel stores, drug stores, grocery, meat and seafood stores, antique shops, music shops, sporting goods stores, hobby shops, gift shops, and book, stationery, magazine, candy and tobacco shops; but excludes the sale of gasoline, motor vehicles, and heavy equipment.

Rooming HouseSee “Residential– Lodging Facilities” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Screening, Complete Visual – A type of screening which affords a year-round effect and through which the screened object is totally obscured.  Complete visual screening should consist of fences, walls, screen planting, or combinations, such as compact evergreen planting designed to provide 80% or more continuous opacity beginning at least twelve months after installation, when viewed horizontally from between 2 and 10 feet above average ground level provided such plants are maintained to provide such opacity on an on-going basis.

Setback – The minimum horizontal distance from any street or lot line to any building, structure, or use, measured in a straight line from and perpendicular to such street or lot line (i.e. – from the property line inward).  See also “Yard” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

SF – Square feet.

 

Sign-Related Terms

Sign –An illustration or display of any kind, attached or erected in any manner and displayed out-of-doors in view of the general public for recognized advertising purposes.  The term sign shall include a directly illuminated sign erected inside the window display area of a building, as well as outside flags or banners, but shall not include a non-illuminated, on-premises sign erected inside the window display area of a building.

Animated Sign–Any sign or source of light, or part thereof, which flashes, alternates, rotates, moves, or in any way simulates motion, exclusive of time and temperature signs.

Banners– Attention generating devices of various shapes, sizes and colors that are typically made of, but not limited to, flexible materials such as fabric, cloth, nylon, canvas, that do not typically include a rigid frame and are intended to hang overhead from a pole, bracket, or similar device attached to a fixed object such as a light pole or building.

Commercial Advertising or Off-Premises Sign – Any sign owned or operated by any person, firm, or corporation engaged in the business of outdoor advertising for compensation for the use of such signs, or any sign advertising a commodity or activity not sold, produced, or conducted on the premises.

Directional Sign – A sign intended to direct the way to a place or activity or to point toward a place or activity.

Double-Face Sign– A sign containing the same advertisement on both sides of the supporting structure.

Flashing Sign– Any sign, the illumination of which is not kept constant in intensity at all times, and/or which exhibits sudden or marked changes in such light intensity or color effect, exclusive of time and temperature signs.

Ground or Free-Standing Sign– A sign supported by one or more uprights or braces in or above the ground.

Illuminated Sign – A sign which is illuminated by either internal or external lighting devices or sources.

Indirectly Illuminated Sign– A sign which is illuminated by external lighting devices or sources only.

Identification, On-Premises, or Point-of-Sale Sign – Any sign advertising a commodity sold or produced on or a business conducted on the premises where the sign is located.

Projecting Sign – A sign which is affixed to an exterior wall of any building and extending more than 15 inches beyond the building walls or parts thereof.

Wall Sign – A sign which is affixed to the exterior walls of any building and projecting not more than 15 inches from the building wall or parts thereof.  Wall signs shall also include illuminated signs erected inside window display areas of a building.

Sign Area – The number of square feet contained within a single contiguous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of the actual sign surface.  Structural members and supports required by the Building Code and not bearing advertising matter and not forming an integral part of the display shall be excluded from the sign area.  The allowable area of a double face sign shall be computed on the one side only.

Number Of Signs– For the purpose of determining the number of signs, a sign shall be considered to be a single display surface or display device containing elements organized, related, and composed to for a unit.  Where matter is displayed in a random manner without organized relationship of elements or where there is reasonable doubt about the relationship of elements, each element shall be considered to be a single sign.

 

Specialized Classrooms – Classroom or instructional space intended to provide instruction in specific subjects, including, but not limited to, engineering, drafting, accounting, or trades for adults not involving any offensive odor, noise, vibration, smoke, particulate matter, dust or other objectionable effects, and other studio-style classrooms for the purpose of providing instruction in dance, art, theater, yoga, martial arts, music, etc.  No meal service, overnight activities, or outdoor activities shall occur on-site.  Office and storage space that supports the primary instructional use is allowed.

 

Story-Related Terms

Story – That part of a building between any floor and the floor above, or in its absence, the ceiling or roof above unless such part is a cellar or a half-story.  (Note that a basement is a story but a cellar is not a story.  See Section 5.3.D of these Regulations for the definition of basement for floodplain management purposes.)

Cellar – A portion of a building located partly or wholly underground where the ceiling is not more more than 3.0 feet above the average level of finished grade adjoining the exterior walls of the street façade.

Half-Story – – Any area under the pitched roof at the top of a building where:

  • The floor is not more than 2 feet below the plate; and
  • Less than 60% of the area of the floor is used for rooms, baths, or toilets.

 

Street – Any right-of-way used for streets, roads, highways, avenues, boulevards, lanes, or other vehicular access ways.

Street, Private – Any street other than a public street.

Street, Public – Any street officially accepted by the City of Groton, as approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission under the Subdivision Regulations of the City of Groton.

Street Facade – The exterior wall surface of a building which is visible from and generally parallel to the street providing access and/or the mailing address.

Street LineSee “Lot-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

StructureSee “Building vs Structure” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Structural Alteration – Any change in or addition to the structural or supporting members of a building, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, or girders.

Structural Fill – Screened earth material engineered to meet specific gradients of particle size, geotechnical conditions and controlled compaction rates to support the foundation or slab of a building or structure or of a paved surface.

Swimming Pool – Any “swimming pool” as defined and regulated in “The Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut,” as amended.

Taxi Services Facility – A commercial site where licensed taxis are parked and maintained and from which are dispatched only from site.

Telecommunication Facility – Towers and/or antennae and accessory structures and equipment used in receiving or transmitting telecommunications or radio signals from a mobile communication source and transmitting those signals to another wireless site, and other communication source or receiver or to a central switching computer which connects the mobile unit with land based telephone lines.

Terrace – A structure not more than 18 inches in height above average grade on any side and located on the ground with no structural supports other than a subsurface base material.

Through LotSee “Lot-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Tour / Sportfishing Boat See “Ferry and Boat-Related Terms” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

 Use – The specific purpose for which a lot or building is designed, arranged, intended to be used, or for which it is or may be occupied or maintained.  The terms permitted use, special use, or its equivalent shall not be deemed to include any non-conforming use.  See “Principal vs Accessory”

Use, AccessorySee “Principal vs Accessory” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Usable Open SpaceSee “Open Space, Usable” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Vehicle – Any motor vehicle as defined by the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, as amended.

Vehicle Dealership – A facility or lot primarily used for merchandising vehicles.

Vocational Training Facility – A facility established to provide instruction and training for school to work transition to physically and developmentally disabled persons (14 years or older) providing school to work transition programs and instruction and guidance in one or more of the following areas: daily living, personal and social adjustment, self-care, work habits and skills, speech and language development. Such a facility shall not provide any residential or overnight care or accommodations or medical treatment facility providing inpatient or outpatient services of any kind. Such a facility may offer a recreational program involving activities that are social, athletic or purely diversionary in nature.

 

Water Dependent-Related Terms

Water-Dependent– Uses or facilities which require direct access to, or location in, marine or tidal waters and which therefore cannot be located inland, including, but not limited to, marinas, recreational and commercial fishing and boating facilities, waterfront dock and port facilities, water-based recreational uses, navigation aids, basins and channels, industrial uses dependent upon waterborne transportation, or requiring large volumes of cooling or process water which cannot reasonably be located in an inland site and uses which provide general public access to marine or tidal waters.

Functionally-Dependent Facility – A facility which cannot be used for its intended purpose unless it is located in close proximity to water. The term includes only docking facilities, port facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, and ship building and ship repair facilities.  The term does not include seafood processing facilities, long-term storage, manufacturing, sales or service facilities.  See “Water Dependent” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Yard– An area on the same lot with a principal building or buildings extending outward from the building to the property line or street line of the lot.  See also “Setback” in Section 2.2 of these Regulations.

Yard, Front – The yard between any street façade(s) of the principal building or buildings and any street line of the lot, extending across the full width of the lot.  For a corner lot in a residential zone, each street frontage shall be considered a front yard.

Yard, Rear – The yard between the rear wall of the most rear principal building and the rear line of the lot, extending across the full width of the lot.  For a corner lot in a residential zone, one yard, other than a front yard, shall be deemed to be a rear yard and any other yards shall be deemed to be side yards.

Yard, Side – The yard between the principal building or buildings and the side line(s), extending between the front yard and the rear yard or, where no rear yard is required, to the rear line of the lot.

Zoning / Building Permit – A review process conducted by the Zoning and Building Official to determine whether a building, structure, use, or activity meets the requirements of these Regulations at the time the review is conducted.

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