Licenses and Permits

The Town issues a series of licenses and permits for a variety of purposes with specific Departments in charge of different types. Fees are associated with most licenses and permits and vary based on the type of license/permit and the size of the project. This page provides a general overview as to the licensing and permitting responsibilities of specific Town Departments.

For more information on a specific type of permit, contact the Department in charge issuing and handling that permit. If you are unsure as to which Department to contact about a license or permit you many need, please contact the Town Manager's Office for additional direction.

Land Use Department


The Land Use Department handles the majority of licenses and permits in Town. Each Department is in charge of a specific set of permits/licenses, but multiple Departments are often involved in the review process for specific permits and projects.

Building Department

The Building Department issues any and all permits associated with construction projects, whether they are new structures or alterations to existing ones. The permit application generally requires three sets of construction plans, a certified plot plan, and the permit fee. The application is then reviewed by multiple Town Departments to ensure compliance with applicable state and local regulations.

In addition to building permits, the Building Department also issues electrical permits and plumbing and gas permits. Both these types of permits require an application and the subsequent permit along with at least one, if not more, inspection(s) by the local electrical/plumbing and gas inspector.
    For more information and a full list of permits issued by the Building Department, visit the Building Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Planning Department


    The Planning Department reviews property boundary changes, new structures and/or changes to existing structures for compliance with state and local zoning and subdivision laws. The Department provides land use staff support to the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board which issue permits and decisions generally related to events such as parcel subdivisions, building use changes, site plan changes, and the placement of permanent and/or temporary signs.

    For more information, visit the Planning Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Natural Resources Department


    The Natural Resources Department reviews new construction, building alterations, and site plan changes for compliance with state and local wetlands laws and other natural resource protection laws. The Department provides staff support to the Conservation Commission which reviews projects and issues permits related to site or building work within a couple hundred feet of wetlands. For example, the Commission issues Notice of Intent permits (NOIs) which are needed before any removal or altering of wetland areas can legally take place.

    For more information, visit the Natural Resources Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Health Department


    The Health Department in conjunction with the Board of Health issues a wide variety of licenses and permits that pertain to ensuring public health and safety. The licenses/permits issued by the Department and Board range from Food and Tobacco licenses to Septic System permits. Common Health-related permits and licenses include, but are not limited to: Beach and Pool permits, Camp Permits, Car Wash Permits, Hazardous Materials Permits, Well Permits, and Body Art Licenses. Fees are associated with each type of permit and vary depending on the type and size of the project or establishment.

    For more information, visit the Health Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Engineering Department


    The Engineering Department issues permits that ensure work being done within public right-of-ways is compliant with state and local laws and regulations and does not degrade the condition of the public way. For example, the Department issues Street Cut Permits to ensure that after activities like gas line installations or alterations, the public way is repaired properly. In addition, the Department is in charge of issuing Sewer Connection permits for individuals and/or businesses looking to connect to the Town of Acton Sewer running through South Acton.

    For more information, visit the Engineering Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.


    Fire Department


    The Fire Department issues a range of permits related to fire safety. For example, the Department issues seasonal Burn permits that allow for the burning of specific types of tree and garden debris (see the Burn Permits page for more information). In addition to burn permits, the list of permits issued by the Department includes, but is not limited to: Blasting Permits, Dumpster Permits, Flammable Storage Permits, Explosives and Welding Permits.

    For more information, visit the Fire Department webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Town Clerk's Office


    The Town Clerk's Office is in charge of handling and issuing a series of permits and licenses including, but not limited to: Dog Licenses, Marriage Licenses, Raffle and Bazaar Permits, and Business Licenses. The Office can also provide copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates. 

    For more information, visit the Town Clerk's Licenses and Permits webpage or contact the Department by email or phone.

    Town Manager's Office

    The Town Manager's Office provides staff support to the Board of Selectmen who is in charge of Common Victualler Licenses which are required for establishments that prepare, cook and serve food; and One Day Wine and Malt Beverage Licenses (also known as One Day Liquor Licenses) which are required for any special event in which alcohol is provided by an organization that is not already licensed to do so. In addition, the Town Manager's Office handles and issues Class I and Class II Dealer Licenses for individuals or businesses wishing to sell new or used cars in the Town.

    For more information and a full list of permits issued by the Selectmen through the Town Manager's Office, contact the Office by email or phone.