List of Terms & Definitions

Application Fee
A one-time fee paid at the time the application is submitted. Application fees are usually not refundable.

Accessory Use
A use that is incidental to and customarily found in connection with the principal use.

Brick & Mortar
Brick and mortar refers to businesses that have physical (rather than virtual or online) presences - in other words, stores that you can physically enter to purchase merchandise.

Business Personal Property
Any tangible property owned and used for your business. This includes all machinery, fixtures, office furniture, and equipment is considered Business Personal Property.

Business Entity
Organization established as a separate existence for the purposes of taxes. Corporations, limited liability companies, and sole proprietorships are common business entities.

Building Permit
A type of authorization that must be granted by a government or other regulatory body before the construction of a new or existing building can legally occur.

Conditional Use (CU)
A “use” in city planning refers to the way a business or piece of land is designated to be used. For example, a piece of land may be designated as residential, meaning it can only be “used” as a home. A Conditional Use (CU) is a type of land use that is not principally permitted in a particular Zoning District.

A penalty for not paying a fee or operating without a permit.

Change of Use Permit
A change from one permitted use to another by the Planning Code. Whenever the use of a building or lot changes in a way that would be regulated differently than the current use, a change of use occurs.

Calendar Year
A calendar tax year is 12 consecutive months beginning January 1 and ending December 31. The tax year for a business is governed by the fiscal year it chooses.

Many permits require you to pay a renewal fee. An unpaid fee is called a delinquency and may result in additional charges or not renewing before the due date.

Discretionary Review (DR)
The Planning Department has the right to decide whether or not to approve all Building Permit applications. The Department may determine that modifications to the proposed project are necessary in order to protect the public interest.

Fiscal Year
A fiscal tax year is 12 consecutive months ending on the last day of any month except December. For example, the fiscal year for the City of Stamford operates on July 1 and ends on June 30.

Land Use
A “use” in city planning refers to the way a building or piece of land is designated to be used. For example, a piece of land may be designated as residential, meaning it can only be “used” as a home.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code
A way of classifying businesses based on what they sell (their economic activity). NAICS codes are more detailed than the older Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. For example, NAICS has more codes for the service and technology industries, and covers all three NAFTA economies. Stamford is currently moving to the NAICS Code system.

A law or regulation made by a city or town government. Even if the regulation does not become a permit, businesses must follow the rules set by Stamford ordinances.

Public Right of Way
Public space such as sidewalks, streets, curbs, and portions of driveways that intersect with sidewalk and street are considered Public Right of Way, and should always have a clear path of travel for pedestrians or vehicles.

Principal Use
A “use” in city planning refers to the way a building or piece of land is designated to be used. The primary way a piece of land or building is designated to be used is called Principal Use. There can be additional uses (see Accessory Use). Also, the primary use can be changed, (see Change of Use).

Permit Fee
A fee paid in order to obtain a permit. Different from the application which allows you to apply and may cover processing, the permit fee is for the permit itself. Some permits do not require a permit fee but they have an application or processing fee.

Payment Backlog
Fees due upon registration that had not been already paid. If you have been operating without a permit, when you do register you will have to pay the fees that should have already been paid.

Readily Achievable
Easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public accommodations (businesses and nonprofit organizations) to provide goods and services to people with disabilities on an equal basis with the rest of the public. Businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public are to remove architectural barriers when the changes are “readily achievable.” The decisions of what is readily achievable depends on the size, type, and overall finances of the public accommodation and the nature and cost of the access improvements needed. Barrier removal that is difficult now may be readily achievable in the future as finances change.

The required distance between a structure and a property line. The designation of a setback is often used by the Stamford Planning department to ensure that structures, including fences, buildings, and more, are not too close together.

Temporary Use Application (TUA)
Permits a specific land use for a limited period of time on a particular parcel/ Temporary Use Authorizations are typically not associated with significant construction activity; they authorize short-term uses like mobile food trucks