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An assessment is a value placed on property appearing in the Grand List, the basis upon which the property tax levy is distributed among the property owners in a community. In order to determine the tax liability of a particular property, the property assessment is multiplied by the municipality's mill rate. In Connecticut, an assessment is equal to 70% of the fair market value as established by the municipal Assessor. For motor vehicles and business personal property, this assessment is recalculated annually as of October 1st. Real estate assessments are established during the town-wide revaluations, which are performed on a periodic schedule, established by State Law.
Fair market value is a legal term defined by the courts and the state statute as the purchase price, which a property would bring on the open market, given prudent, knowledgeable, and willing buyers and sellers. Fair market value is the standard by which the fairness of all assessments is judged.
The buyer and seller of real estate determine the fair market value of the real estate. The Appraiser or Assessor analyzes real estate transactions that occur within the community and determine the factors that lead to the final sale prices.
Information developed through the analysis of these sales is used by Appraisers and Assessors to develop mathematical models that are utilized in estimating the market values of all properties in a community. Some of the typical factors that are used by an appraiser in estimating market values include location, condition, age, size, and quality of improvements.
Connecticut General Statutes (primary Title 12) and relevant case law (which assists in interpreting these statutes) govern assessment procedures and practices. In addition, the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Intergovernmental Policy Division, prescribes regulations and issues administrative pronouncements dealing with the administration of statutes related to assessment practices.
The tax rate, or mill rate, is established annually by the elected Board Of Finance members through the adoption of the town's budget. This process of establishing the tax rate begins with the preparation of the Town Administrative Proposed Budget and concludes with the Town's Board of Finance's adoption of the budget and mill rate. The simplified formula for determining the mill rate is the Town Levy divided by the Taxable Grand List. The Town Levy (also referred to as the Grand Levy) is simply the amount of money the Town needs to generate through the property tax in order to provide town services. The Taxable Grand List is the total of all non-exempt assessments for all real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property located within the Town's boundaries.
In order to judge the fairness of your assessment, two questions should be asked. First, does the assessment represent 70% of the probable selling price as of the Revaluation assessment date of October 1, 2018? Secondly, is my assessment similar to comparable properties in Town as of October 1, 2018? The Assessor's Office maintains information that will help you answer these questions. A list of properties that have sold and lists of assessments of all properties in Town can be reviewed in the Assessor's Office. You may retrieve a variety of information by accessing the Property Record Card Online on the Assessor's section of the town website.
You can reach the Assessor's Office by phone at 203-656-7310 or email the Assessor's Office.
The Board of Ethics is a five person body, its members elected by the Representative Town Meeting, which receives and investigates complaints about Town officials, employees and appointees who may have violated the Town’s Code of Ethics.
As detailed in the Town charter, the Code of Ethics lists a handful of behaviors which are considered unethical. The list is not comprehensive and is open to interpretation by the Board of Ethics under advice of legal counsel.
Anyone can file a complaint using the form found on the Town website which should then be filed with the Town Clerk. Complaints may NOT be filed anonymously. The Board of Ethics may also initiate its own complaint. Download the Board of Ethics Complaint Form (PDF).
The Board will “promptly” hold a meeting to hear from the complainant. But to protect the accused, pending its initial investigation, the Board first meets in “executive session” (closed to the public) to hear the details of the complaint.
If the Board believes the complaint warrants further investigation it may hold further closed hearings including testimony from the complainant, the accused and other witnesses. The Board also has subpoena power.
After these preliminary hearings the Board may vote to decline to hear the case further. Or it may move to public sessions, starting anew to hear the complaint and testimony.
After hearing the evidence in public session the Board has 35 days to render its opinion and deliver it in writing to the Board of Selectmen (or Education) with copies to the affected parties.
The Board of Ethics has no power to censure, issue fines or otherwise penalize the accused.
The Board also accepts requests for “advisory opinions”, when asked, from any Town official, employee, appointee etc. who wants to know if a certain issue they are engaged with might violate the Town’s Code of Ethics before they act.
Request forms for Advisory Opinions are also available on the Town website. Download the Board of Ethics of Complaint Form (PDF).
Three types of property are assessed and subject to taxes: Real Estate, Motor Vehicle, and Personal Property. Any land or buildings you own are considered real estate. Registered motorized or unmotorized vehicles, including cars, trucks, trailers, and motorcycles, are considered motor vehicles for tax purposes. Personal property is a general category that includes business equipment, machinery, furniture, and fixtures either owned or leased by the business. Unregistered motor vehicles are also taxed as personal property.
17.61 mills ($17.61 for each $1,000 of assessed value)
The Grand Levy is the amount of revenue in the annual town budget, which must be raised by the property tax. The balance required is received from fees, state and federal assistance, and miscellaneous revenue. The Grand List is a listing of all taxable properties located within the Town of Darien on October 1 of the Grand List year. The property tax rate is expressed in mills or thousandths of a dollar. A tax rate (mill rate) of 17.61 mills is equivalent to $17.61 of taxes per $1,000 of assessed value. The tax rate is determined by dividing the Grand Levy by the Grand List.
Taxes must be paid within one month of the due date to avoid penalty interest. Delinquent taxes are subject to interest at the rate of 18% per year (1 1/2% per month, $2 minimum), or any part thereof, from the original due date of the tax. Delinquent Motor Vehicle taxes will prevent you from registering any motor vehicle and/or boat until the outstanding taxes are paid in full (CGS 14-33) and the registration hold is cleared by the Tax Collector's Office. For information on your tax bill please call the Collector directly at 203-656-7314.
The tax office sends out a "Delinquent Tax statement" after each installment as a reminder. In addition, before the end of each fiscal year, real estate liens are filed against all properties on which there is a delinquent real estate tax. At least fifteen days prior to the filing of these liens, a notice of intent to lien is sent to each delinquent taxpayer. If payment is not made, a lien is filed with the Town Clerk's office. There is a $24 charge to release each lien, regardless of the delinquent amount due. At the time of payment, all interest, taxes, and fees must be paid before the lien can be released.
No. Per State, Statute 12-146, a Tax Collector does not have the authority to waive interest due on a delinquent tax.
The taxpayer is responsible for notifying the Tax Collector's Office at 203-656-7314 that they are now responsible for paying the taxes directly and accordingly, any reminders or notices will be sent directly to the taxpayer rather than the escrowing bank. Failure to notify the Tax Collector's Office may result in missed notifications or interest and/or penalties that can not be waived as per CGS 12-146.
Please notify the Tax Collector's Office and provide an email that can be used to send tax bills and reminders. This information is best to be emailed to the tax collector directly.
View more information about C-Pace.
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The Zoning Enforcement Officer has office hours by appointment only from 9 am to 9:45 am and 1 pm to 1:45 pm on most days. Town Hall is closed on Fridays and holidays. Please call the office at 203-656-7351 to set up an appointment. You may also call other members of the staff at the same number to make an appointment.
Real estate signs are specifically regulated pursuant to Section 934.3a of the Darien Zoning Regulations. Those regulations went into effect in September 2018. The regulations allow one sign per lot; a maximum of four (4) square feet in size; and that all parts of the sign be on the subject property. We recommend that they be at least eight feet from the paved edge of the road surface. For any questions, please call the Planning and Zoning Office at 203-656-7351.
They may be purchased in the Planning and Zoning Department for $20. You may also view Zoning Regulations.
With the exception of areas within wetlands or within 50 feet of wetlands or within 100 feet of a named River or Brook, no permits are necessary. However, there are some requirements which need to be met.
First, the fence can only be a maximum of 4 (four) feet high in front yards and 6 (six) feet high in side and rear yards (see Section 362 of the Zoning Regulations). It does not matter which way the "good side" faces, but it is recommended that it be faced "good side out". There are no setbacks for fences, however, we recommend that you put the fence about six inches or a foot inside your property line. If you are on a corner lot, Section 363 of the Zoning Regulations would apply. If you are within 50 feet of wetlands, an Environmental Protection Commission application will be necessary.
Section 406 of the Zoning Regulations deals with setbacks. Once you determine what zone your property is in, the chart below will note the applicable setbacks.
The requirements listed for each zone as designated shall be deemed to be the minimum or maximum requirements in every instance of their application. Dimensions are in feet unless otherwise indicated.
If you have submitted a formal application to the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Zoning Board of Appeals, all notices shall be mailed by certified mail between 10 and 20 days prior to the public hearing. All owners of properties within 100 feet shall be notified. More specifically, Section 1040 (1041-1043) of the Darien Zoning Regulations addresses notification for the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Section 1127 addresses notification for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Besides the basics that it must meet the setbacks for the zone (Section 406 of the Zoning Regulations, noted above), and coverage requirements, and needs Environmental Protection Commission approval if it is within 50 feet of a wetland or watercourse and/or Planning and Zoning Commission approval if it is within 100 feet of Mean High Water, Section 364 of the Zoning Regulations apply.
Overall, several permits are required (Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas Handout (PDF)):
Health Department approval of the backwash and/or filter system and the location of the pool in relation to the septic system and/or well. Contact the Health Department at 203-656-7320 for more information.
Zoning Permit application and accurate map must be submitted to demonstrate compliance with the setback, yard, and lot coverage requirements. If the pool location is near a brook, river, swamp, wetlands or coastal area, additional permits may be required.
Building Permit application with construction plans and details must be submitted to demonstrate compliance with the Connecticut Building Code (structural aspects of the pool, plumbing, electrical hook-up, etc.) Contact the Building Department at 203-656-7347.
Effective April 2, 2023, the fee for a Zoning Permit has been increased and depends on the total amount of work proposed. This is payable at the time your building permit/zoning permit application is submitted. This payment can be in the form of a check made out to the "Town of Darien" or via credit card or echeck online.
Although we try to process all of the permits in a timely manner, State law does allow us up to 30 days to do so. When submitting your Zoning Permit application, feel free to ask what the current review time is, as it varies based on the number of applications being submitted at a given time.
At the November 1, 2011 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, they had a discussion regarding at what point an ice rink in someone’s yard requires a Special Permit approval from the Commission. The discussion:
The Commission members discussed the issue of whether temporary seasonal ice rinks would require Special Permit approval, like a tennis court, or whether they would not be regulated. The consensus was that if an ice rink was as simple as no lights, no chilling machine, no boards above six inches high, and the ice rink was in the back yard, then it would not require Planning and Zoning Commission approval. If the temporary ice rink is more elaborate than those limitations, then it would require Special Permit approval from the Commission.
The Darien Flood Maps can be found on the Flood Maps page. Another way to look at those maps as they generally relate to specific parcel boundaries can be found at Darien MapGeo.
Take a look at the link to a Handout entitled, "Solar Panels Information Form and Checklist (PDF)". This gives guidance for both solar panels on a house as well as ground-mounted solar installations.