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Community Development

FAQ's & Seasonal Info

Below is a list of our most common questions asked. If after reviewing, you still have questions,

please feel free to give us a call at 352-5440 or stop by anytime Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm.  

  • Why do I have to get a permit to do work on my own home?

    This is a question many people may ask when planning alterations to their home. The purpose behind building codes is to give reasonable assurance that a home is safe from structural failure, fire hazards from electrical and heating systems, electrical shock, and other health risks. The permits provide a permanent record of the work performed and inspections conducted on the project.

    Planning these alterations can be a very costly decision to not get a permit in the future. Some homeowners are finding when they try to sell or refinance their home, prospective buyers or lending institutions want proof that alterations are in compliance with local codes. Without a permit and inspection on record, there is no proof. The homeowner must then apply for a permit with no guarantee that the remodel will meet the codes, and they face the possibility that the remodel must be redone or removed. This is a costly frustration that could cause delays in refinancing or a lost sale of their home. Your home is your biggest financial investment.  Permitting helps you protect your investment.

  • When do I need to get a building permit?

    It depends on what kind of work is being done. Many times cosmetic improvements or renovations do not require a permit but structural, electrical and plumbing do. Below is a link to items exempt from permits through the City of Keene Ordinance Section 18-27.

    Section 18-27-Permits

    If you are ever unsure of whether or not a permit is required feel free to contact us by phone, email or come right in for visit. We’re happy to walk you through the process.

  • When do I call for an inspection? And what can I expect during an inspection?

    When a building permit for your project is issued, an inspection card that lists all required inspections will be included with the permit. The permit and the inspection card must be posted at the jobsite by the applicant and will be initialed by the Code Enforcement Officer after each inspection. During the construction, the Code Enforcement Officer may require more inspections than are listed or may be requested by the applicant. It is up to the applicant to contact Community Development to schedule each inspection. Please know that when a building permit has been issued, the Code Enforcement Officer may inspect the project at any time. During the inspection, the Code Enforcement Officer will ensure that work meets all relevant codes, including but not limited to ICC and NFPA codes as well as state and local codes. The Code Enforcement Officer will also make sure the project is being completed per the approved plans. If work does not meet code or differs from the approved plans, the Code Enforcement Officer may stop work on the project until corrections are made.

  • When applying for a building permit, how many sets of plans do I need?

    For Residential permits our office requires two (2) sets of plans, one will be for the office and the other will be given back to the applicant when the permit is issued as the “Permit Set”, which should be available onsite for the Building Inspector to review during inspections. This only holds true when you are applying for a permit that requires detailed plans.


    For Commercial permits we require three (3) sets of plans, one will be for the office and the other will also be given back to the applicant when the permit is issued as the “Permit Set”, which should be available onsite for the Building Inspectors to review during inspections. The third set will be given to the Fire Department for their review and comments.

  • Seasonal Information

    • Ticks & Lyme Disease

      • Did you know that Nymph ticks are the size of a small dot and the larva are the size of a pin tip? Do you know what one looks like? For this information and more, check out the link below for a quick reference from the NH Department of Health & Human Services. This makes for an easy guide to keep handy as a reference. 
      • It’s important to know what ticks look like, how to remove them and what symptoms to look out for Lyme disease. Remember, not everyone who’s bitten will contract Lyme disease. Keep an eye out for not only the large round rash, also described as a bulls eye, but chills, a fever, headaches and muscle/joint pain 2-3 days after the bite. If you do get sick, contact your doctor immediately. For more information on Lyme disease, read these two fact sheets from the NH Department of Health & Human Services.

      • Do you know the best ways to protect you and your family from tick bites? Did you know that ticks are most active from April to September? By following a few simple steps, you can protect yourself and your family from tick bites. Though these are far from fool proof, they do make a good barrier. Follow the link below to the CDC’s page to learn how to prevent tick bites.

      • We already covered ways to help protect yourself and your family from tick bites but now les talk about your yard. A tick safe zone yard can happen with a little bit of creative landscaping. Check the CDC’s page for detailed information along with the Tick Management Handbook from The Connecticut Department of Public Health. Then check the EPA’s website on how to protect your pets since both Fido and Whiskers enjoy the great outdoors too!

      • Lastly, if you found a tick on you or in your yard and you’re not sure what type of tick it is, you can send the tick to the NH Department of Agriculture Markets and Foods by following the instructions on the form below.

      What we hope you take from this, is how important it is to be vigilant in preventing tick bites on you, your family and your pets. With any questions, please give us a call at 352-5440 or visit the NH Dept. of Health & Human Services for more information.

    • West Nile Virus & Eastern Equine Encephalitis

    • Mosquito Collection Updates

      Details on the 2020 NH State testing criteria, dates of testing and mosquito trap descriptions on this year’s Municipal Pest Management Services contract can be found here

      Currently there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by mosquitos or ticks though it continues to be recommended to remain mindful to use repellant to avoid mosquito and tick bites.

      Review the list of anecdotal description of mosquito species occurring in Maine and New Hampshire here

      Mosquito Pool Details 

      NH Arbovirus Surveillance Bulletin

      West Nile virus and other domestic arboviral activity – United States 2020

  • I’m installing a fence. Do I need a permit?

    The City doesn’t require a permit to put up a fence, but we do have a few suggestions. We recommended that you discuss wanting a fence with your neighbor. We also recommended installing the nicer side of the fence facing your neighbor. 

    Lastly, we recommend not putting the fence directly on the property line. This will allow for the maintenance on the side of the fence facing your neighbor.

  • What do I need to know about installing a wood or pellet stove?

    The City of Keene requires you or your installer to obtain a permit from prior to installing a wood or pellet stove. Permit applications can be downloaded from the Department’s website or picked up in the office on the 4th floor of City Hall. Once installed, you or your installer will schedule a final inspection to ensure that installation was completed according to manufacturer’s specifications and that it meets all code requirements for safe operation.

  • What is required to install a swimming pool?

    In-ground and above-ground pools require a permit prior to installation. Typically, manufacturer specifications, a site plan showing pool/deck location and property line setbacks, and plans showing pipes and electrical work as well as fencing are required with the permit application. Once a permit is granted, typical inspections during installation include structural, piping, electrical and grounding, and fencing. At each stage of the pool installation, the applicant must call to schedule an inspection (per the inspection card provided with the permit).


  • Can I have chickens?

    The raising of noncommercial chickens is permitted within the low density, low density-1, and medium density districts. The City does recommend keeping your neighbors in mind with regards to roosters and the upkeep and maintenance of the chickens. The raising and selling of farm animals and/or their products is permitted in the agriculture and rural districts.

  • I would like to put up a sign to advertise my business. What permits do I need to apply for?

     A sign permit is required for most signs in Keene. Chapter 102 Article VIII of the City’s Code regulates signs. Under this section you will find a list of temporary and permanent signs that require permits. You will also find signs that do not require permits or are prohibited. In addition, Article VIII outlines requirements for each district (i.e., office, central business, industrial). Sign permit applications are submitted to the Community Development department on the 4th floor of City Hall at 3 Washington St. The department can answer any questions and can be reached at (603) 352-5440.

Ribbon Cutting for South Bridge