PERMITS... its almost a 4 letter word in NJ except it has 7. Ok, really, we've all dealt with them at one time or another when we are looking to do that exciting project on our home. If you haven't yet, consider yourself fortunate. Permits can be frustrating and sometimes turn an exciting project from exciting to not so so exciting quickly. You're thinking about installing a koi/fish pond or water feature, but will you have to deal with getting a permit from the town to have this beautiful addition to your landscape installed?
The town you live in, why does that matter?
As it turns out, there is no definitive broad answer to this question. The correct answer to this questions completely relies on the town you live in and their written codes that determine what a pool is and isn't.
The best answer we can give you, and I'm sure you guessed it, it depends on the town. Each town in NJ has different codes, however they are typically based on two factors that determine if the pond or water feature is considered a pool.
What are the two factors?
1. Pond Depth
Most towns will determine the classification of a pool based on its max depth. Many towns we have worked in consider anything deeper that 24" to be considered a pool. In this instance, as long as the fish pond or water feature you are creating has open water at a depth of less than 24", you shouldn't need a permit.
2. Overall Square Footage
Square footage also plays a role in determining if you are creating a pond or a "pool". If you go over a max square footage of open water the town may classify your fish/koi pond as a pool and not a pond.
Here are a few examples of how some towns work. For our example lets say the town recognizes a pool as being more than 24" deep and square footage can not exceed 300 sq. ft.
Example 1: Your pond is going to be 23" deep with a max square footage of 150 sq. ft. Given the towns codes above this pond would be good to build without a permit.
Example 2: Your pond is 18" deep but going to be 320 square feet. Given the town's codes above, you would need a permit to build this pond. Even though you are under the depth requirements the pond square feet is too large.
What if I need a permit?
Typically what happens is the pond you want is either too deep or the square footage exceeds your towns requirements to be considered a garden pond. Most times the permit is just for safety and for the need to have a Pool Code fence installed around your pond. So far we have not run into any other permitting except for a fence around the pond.
Are there any other permit needs?
There can be, yes. Every water feature or fish/koi ponds need electric. If you don't have electric within 20' of the newly installed fountain, pond, or water fall a power source will need to be installed. All electrical work does typically need a permit from the town and inspections.
Who do you call to find out?
A phone call to the Zoning/Permitting office of your town will do the trick.
In every case, we highly recommend calling the town in which you live and ask them if a permit is necessary to install what ever water feature you are looking to add to your landscape. We do our due diligence and will call most of the towns we work in frequently to make sure the codes have not changed. Should you live in a town and we don't know the code, we will call and check to make sure we working within the codes of that particular town.
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is offering this pond information as a personal information source to our website visitors. Pond services are performed in Morris County New Jersey (NJ) Hunterdon County New Jersey (NJ) Somerset County (NJ) and Warren County (NJ). Fish and Koi Pond Construction, Streams and Waterfalls, and Fountains are all in our wheelhouse of talent. Explore our website for more ideas. Like our Facebook page for daily inspiration. Receive #TheWeeklyRibbit for weekly water feature tips and a fun video.
Over the last 18 years, Clay has been involved in landscaping and aquascaping, which led him to his passion, POND BUILDING and opening A Frog’s Dream in 2006. His true passion is to create works of art for others to enjoy and marvel at in the privacy of their own backyards.