Call the Assessor’s Office and provide them with your name, phone number and the nature of the error. An appraiser will follow up on the request by calling you and if necessary, setting up a date and time for an inspection of the property to correct the record.

In Connecticut, property tax rates are expressed in Mills, or thousandths of a dollar. A property tax rate of 7.500 mills, .0075 expressed in decimal form, or .75% expressed as a percent of assessed value, results in the payment of $7.50 for each $1,000 of the properties assessed value. The Board of Estimate and Taxation sets the mill rate in May of every year in time for the July tax billing.

A record of characteristics of land and buildings was collected and verified. This included defining neighborhoods within the Town. Factors such as the size of the lot and special features were considered. Also, the dwelling is analyzed by:

Age

Condition

Size

Style

Type

Quality

Information on new construction, additions and remodeling was obtained. Outbuildings such as garages and swimming pools were noted. Other factors that have either a positive or negative impact on value from a buyer’s perspective were also considered. Sales were verified and analyzed. A valuation model was created for improvements and land. Values were assigned to building areas and physical depreciation and functional obsolescence were subtracted to reach a net value for the buildings, and then the value of the land was added to reach a market value for the property.

After model values were applied, a field review of each property was conducted. Commercial properties were valued using the income approach to value that takes into consideration market rents, typical expenses and vacancy rates, and capitalization rates based upon what a typical investor in income-producing property would expect for return of, return on and risk involved in particular types of properties. The special use properties and those where there were not enough income or sales data were valued by the cost approach. The approach basically adds the replacement cost less depreciation of the structures on a lot to the land value to arrive at an estimated market value.

What is the difference between assessed value and market value?

The assessed value is 70% of the appraised market value and is used as the basis for determining the property taxes. Market value is the typical price that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller if the property were offered on the open market, granted the buyer and seller are not related in any way or under any pressure to buy or sell.

The property tax is designed as an “ad valorem” tax, which means it is a tax based on the value of the property. An owner of a $1,000,000 property should pay twice as much in taxes as the owner of a $500,000 property. The market value of property is the standard that is used to determine one’s fair share.

You may find the assessments and sales records in binders at the counter. Or property information can be accessed at the public computer terminals in the Assessor’s office. You can print field cards for properties. That information includes various details about the parcel:

Assessment

ID number

Ownership

Size

Type

Year built

Information is provided in the Assessor’s section of the Town’s website.

https://www.greenwichct.gov/150/Assessor

Property owners should check their assessment record to see if any errors in data or property characteristics are present. The Assessor will correct errors if found.

If property owners are not satisfied with the results, they may apply for a hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) pursuant to Connecticut General Statute (C.G.S.) §12-111. Applications may be obtained at the Assessor’s Office or on the Town’s website. Appeals to the Board must be in writing on the prescribed application and postmarked or hand-delivered to the designated BAA office in Town Hall on or before February 20th.

A revaluation is an updating of all real property values as of October 1st. A revaluation consists of appraising the value of the properties, both taxable and exempt, using recent sales, building costs and income and expense information from similar property types. All real estate is revalued including:

Apartments

Churches

Commercial

Industrial

Residential

School buildings

Vacant land

All other real estate

When and where can I file for Senior Homeowner Tax Relief Benefits?

Senior homeowners, age 65 years of age or older, who meet the eligibility guidelines, may qualify to receive Local or State property tax credits.  Owners of condominiums and co-operative apartments are also eligible.  Applications are available and accepted between February 1st and May 15th.  Please contact the Assessor’s Office for complete filing details and forms.

Veterans who file their DD-214 papers with the Town Clerk prior to October 1st of each year will receive a property tax exemption on either real estate or a motor vehicle.

A Veteran who is entitled to a disability pension, as determined by the Veterans Administration, is eligible for a Disabled Veterans Exemption.

Members of the armed forces on active duty may be eligible to have one passenger motor vehicle exempt from property tax.

Please contact the Assessor’s Office for further information.

Connecticut Assessors use the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) appraisal guide for automobile valuations. The assessed value of the motor vehicle is 70% of the published average retail selling price.

Automobile owners who disagree with the assessment may appear at the September meeting of the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Building permits are written authorizations issued by Greenwich to construct a project. They are required for most construction or remodeling projects, in order to ensure the safety of the work and its compliance with building, construction, and zoning codes.

For a detailed list of activities requiring a building permit, see

https://www.greenwichct.gov/1330/What-Activity-Requires-a-Permit 

Minor repairs often do not require a permit. For a list of work exempt from building permits, see

https://www.greenwichct.gov/1347/Work-Exempt-from-Building-or-Trade-Permi

Permit Application Process, see

https://www.greenwichct.gov/1339/Permit-Application-Process

Every application for a building permit and some licensed trade permits must be first reviewed for zoning compliance before the Division of Building Inspection will accept the application for their own review and issuance. The Zoning Enforcement Officer as well as the Building Official must sign all certificates of occupancy before becoming effective. This process is handled through a Zoning Permit and Zoning Certificate of Occupancy (CO) Certification application (two copies required for any submission).

For most people, the perception of a wetland is limited to swamps and marshes. In fact, surface-dry woodlands, meadows, and even lawns can be identified as wetlands. In Connecticut, wetlands are identified by the features of the first 18 to 24 inches of soil. A wetland is caused by groundwater coming to or near the ground surface or is caused by a restrictive layer of clay or ledge blocking water from percolating downward. Soils that are identified as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial or floodplain are wetland soils.

Wetland boundaries are determined by a soil scientist on your property. The soil scientist hangs surveying tape or “flags” along the boundary of the wetland or watercourse. A surveyor then documents the location of the flags on a property survey. The agency maintains a list of soil scientists (PDF) for convenience. This list is not a recommendation and is not all-inclusive.

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses (IWWA) has issued thousands of permits and if your property ever received a permit, a copy of the surveyed wetland boundary and watercourse is likely on file. Applications made prior to 2011 are available on a public portal found on the IWWA page, or, come to the office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays and a staff member will help you look up your property records. Files for applications made since 2011 are available in the office of the agency, too. It is also prudent to research the properties next to yours as regulated areas (“buffers”) of a wetland or watercourse on an adjacent property may extend onto your land.

If the scrubby area is in a wetland and/or within 100 feet (150 feet in public drinking water supply watersheds) to a wetland and/or watercourse, then the cleanup work will likely be regulated. “Cleaning up” is the most common source of violations largely due to the somewhat vague language in the state statutes, which state “landscape maintenance” is allowed without a permit provided the work does not change the character of the area.

Acknowledging the lack of clarity in regulations, it is best to speak with a member of the agency’s staff, who will gladly meet you and/or your landscaper in the office or on-site to discuss your plans, regulations, and if applicable, the permitting process. There is no charge for this consultation.

For more information on permits where wetlands might be involved see

https://www.greenwichct.gov/496/Frequently-Asked-Questions

For Public Works Frequently Asked Questions, see

https://www.greenwichct.gov/FAQ.aspx?TID=30

Appraisal

Only a licensed, trained appraiser, with no interest in a property, can do an appraisal. An appraisal looks at similar properties which have sold recently.  To be similar it should have the same square feet, same acreage, same age and be in a similar neighborhood. In Greenwich, it is rare to find an exact match, so the similar properties are adjusted to more closely match the subject property. Adjustments take the form of placing a value on square feet and acreage, and then adding or subtracting value so that a more exact comparison can be made. In addition, the appraiser looks at the current condition of the subject property and will adjust its value to reflect its depreciation. Because there is judgement involved in making these adjustments, even appraisals using the same properties for comparison can vary in their result.

CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)

CMAs are typically done by licensed Realtors. CMAs look not only at recently sold properties but at properties on the market and ones which did not sell (withdrawn or expired listings). Sold properties give a view of the market during a specific time period, but they do not give much guidance as to the direction of the market. How properties have been selling in an area, the price of comparable properties currently for sale and the size of the inventory of properties in that price range are some of the factors the Realtor uses to price a home. Realtors who are active in the market have another advantage. They have usually had the chance to view the homes which have sold and are for sale. Based on having seen a home, they can more easily decide if it really is a comparable. Appraisers do not go to open houses and do not place any weight on house style and street appeal. This limits them in some ways. House purchases, like almost all purchases, are made on an emotional basis, even though the purchase is usually justified on an intellectual basis. As a result of the different approaches, appraisals often have different results than CMAs. Presently there is little CMA training provided to Realtors, as a result the results can vary even more widely than appraisals. Pricing your home is the most important decision you will need to make. An experienced Realtor will carefully prepare a CMA to help you with this important decision. Be sure to choose the Realtor you like and trust to help you price your home and not just the one that suggests the highest price.

Although most communities in Fairfield County regulate the size of homes which can be built by their footprint, Greenwich regulates house sizes by the percentage of living space in relation to the size of the property. This percentage is called the Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Floor Areas are measured from the inside walls, rather than from the outside of walls and includes all structures on the property including garages and basement (as long as they are above ground). Recent building code changes allow a large portion of finished attics, not to be included in the FAR count.  Check with the building department to be sure you are following the latest rules for a calculation of your FAR.

The following table shows for each zone, the FAR for that zone and the maximum size (in square feet) of all buildings which can be built on a minimum-sized lot. FAR rules are complex and interpretations change. This paper is a starting point but should not be relied on. Consult a town planner before proceeding with any commitment.

To calculate the size of a home which can be built on a property, multiply the FAR for that zone by the size of the lot in square feet.

(One acre = 43,560 Sq. Ft.)

For instance, on a 3 acre parcel in a RA-2 zone multiply 0.09 times 130,680 (the number of sq ft in 3 acres), this results in 11,761 sq ft, as the largest home which can be built without obtaining a zoning variance.

The FAR rules for legally conforming undersized and oversize lots are the same. Setback and other requirements are different.

For the latest information see the Planning and Zoning “Building Zone Regulations” https://www.greenwichct.gov/473/Zoning-Regulations

0.0625

0.09

0.135

0.225

0.315

0.36

0.55

RA-4

4 acres

10,890

RA-2

2 acres

7,840

RA-1

1 acre

5,881

R-20

20,000 sq ft

4,500

R-12

12,000 sq ft

3,780

R-7

7,500 sq ft

2,700

R-6 (2

family) 7,500 sq ft

4,125

FAR irw