Frequently Asked Questions
A to Z
Beavers have become active on my property. What can I do?
See the Conservation Commission's Guidance for Living with Beavers in Topsfield for information.
Coyotes are roaming around my
property. What can I do?
Call the Emergency Center Operator at (978) 887-2116. The Dispatcher
will contact the Animal Control Officer.
What should I do about a sick, injured or disoriented wild animal
on my street or property?
Do not approach the animal and be sure to keep your children and pets away.
Call the Emergency Center Operator at (978) 887-2116. The Dispatcher
will contact the appropriate authority.
How do I get a dead animal removed from my street?
Call the Parks & Cemetery Department at (978) 887-1525.
Is hunting allowed in Topsfield?
of the Town Code
regulates hunting and trapping in Topsfield.
Written consent from the Board of Selectmen (for Town property) or from
the property owner or legal occupant (for private property) is required
for hunting, trapping and the discharge of firearms in the Town of Topsfield.
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Is open burning allowed?
Open burning is allowed starting on January 15th and going through April
30th on approved days between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM with a permit
that has been issued at Fire Headquarters. The $10 permits are
issued at the Topsfield Fire Station on High Street 7 days a week from 6
AM to 6 PM. [return to top]
Buying & Selling a House
I'm preparing to sell my house.
What official steps do I need to take?
You will need to have a Title V Certificate indicating that your septic
system meets specific requirements for your dwelling. Contact a company
that specializes in septic systems for more details. You will also
need to obtain a Certificate of Compliance (certifying that the proper number
of smoke detectors have been installed and are in the proper locations and
that the detectors are all in excellent working condition) from the Topsfield
Fire Department. Contact them at their non-emergency number (978)
887-5148 to set up an appointment. [return
Where can I find the local cable channel
The Tri-Town Transcript newspaper carries the weekly Cable TV schedule.
Channel 8 (Comcast) and Channel 47 (Verizon) carry the Cable TV schedule
when ever there is not a scheduled program being broadcast. The Town
Website carries the local TV schedule which can be found on the Home Page.
How do I get a notice posted on the Channel 8/47 Cable TV
Community Bulletin Board?
Public service announcements are run on Channel 8/47 free of charge for
Topsfield, Boxford and Middleton non-profit organizations, government agencies
and schools. Download the necessary form here
or pick one up at Town Hall in the Mail Room on the first floor. You
may also call the Cable Office at (978) 887-1544. Completed forms
can be dropped off or mailed to the Town Hall or faxed to (978) 887-1502.
Forms must be received at least one week prior to the start date. [return
How do I get a plot in the Topsfield
Please refer to the Park
and Cemetery Rules and Regulations
How do I find the location of a grave in the town cemetery?
Check with the Topsfield Town Library or the Park and Cemetery Department.
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When do I need a permit before
altering my house? What does the town require?
Each home building project is different. The permits that you will
need depend upon the extent of your project and the nature of your property.
Call Inspectional Services
at (978) 887-1522
to arrange an appointment with the Building Inspector who will be able to
advise you about the permitting process.
How will I know if I am restricted by conservation rules?
Contact the Conservation Administrator who holds office hours at Town Hall.
The phone number is (978) 887-1510. [return
What is the contact information for emergency
Dial 911 for all emergencies. For less urgent matters, call the Dispatcher
at (978) 887-2116. [return to top]
What are the rules governing in-law
of the Zoning By-laws provides the rules for accessory
apartments. [return to top]
Licenses, Permits and Certificates
Where can I get my child's birth certificate
if we lived in Topsfield when he or she was born?
Birth certificates for anyone born in Topsfield are available in Town Hall
at the Town Clerk's Office.The phone number is (978) 887-1505.
Where do I go for a dog license?
Dog licenses are issued in the Office of
the Town Clerk
at Town Hall. Forms are sent out annually along with
the town census form.' The phone number is (978) 887-1505. [return
Parks, Recreation and Fitness
Is there public swimming in
Members may swim at Hood's Pond on Route 97 from June through September.
Applications for membership (and Red Cross swimming lessons) are available
at the Topsfield Library and in Town Hall beginning in March. The phone
number is (978) 887-3799.
Where are the parks in Topsfield
and for what activities are they designed?
- KLOCK PARK on North Street has soccer and baseball/softball fields.
- PYE BROOK COMMUNITY PARK on Haverhill Road (Route 97) has 4 baseball/softball
fields, multi-purpose fields used for soccer, football and lacrosse,
an equestrian park, a walking trail, a small toddler play area and a
disc golf course.
- PROCTOR SCHOOL on Main Street has baseball/softball fields, a basketball
court, 2 tennis courts, and multiple play structures.
- STEWARD SCHOOL on Perkins Row has a softball field, tennis courts
and multiple play structures (for school recess).
- EMERSON FIELD (owned by the Congregational Church and leased by the
Town), located behind the Emerson Center on East Common Street, has
multi-purpose fields used for soccer and baseball/softball.
Whom should I contact to register my kids or myself in sports
The web site of the Topsfield Athletic Association, www.taasports.com
will provide information about most athletic programs available in the Tri-Town
area. For specific sports, refer to the web site list below:
Are there public basketball or tennis
An outdoor basketball court is located behind the Proctor School on Main
Street. Public tennis courts are located behind both Proctor and Steward
Schools. [return to top]
How do I register my dog?
Dogs should be registered in the Office of the Town Clerk at Town Hall.
Forms are sent out annually along with the town census form. The phone number
is (978) 887-1505.
Is there a leash law in Topsfield?
There is no leash law in Topsfield. The Canine Control By-law's purpose
is to set up procedures to register dogs and to establish rules and regulations
for the control of dog complaints caused by nuisance. Animal behavior which
constitutes a nuisance includes, but is not limited to the following: molesting
passerby or passing vehicles (including bicycles), attacking persons or
domestic animals, trespassing on school grounds or other public property,
damaging public or private property, barking , whining, or howling in an
excessive, continuous, or untimely fashion.
How do I report a lost or abandoned pet on my street
Call the Emergency Center Operator at (978) 887-2116. The Dispatcher will
contact the Animal Control Officer. [return
What are the Post Office hours
The Topsfield Post Office at 4 Main Street is open Monday-Friday from 8
AM - 5 PM. On Saturday, the hours are 9 AM - 12 PM PO Boxes are open for
extended periods. For more information, call (978) 887-5307.
How do I get a passport in Topsfield?
The Topsfield Post Office at 4 Main Street processes passports. Applications
are available during regular business hours, although processing occurs
only at specific times, which are published at the Topsfield Post Office.
Call (978) 887-5307 for more information. [return
Roads and Highways
Whom do I call to report a pothole
or another problem with the road?
Any non-urgent road problems should be reported to the Topsfield Highway
Department at (978) 887-1542. More urgent issues should be reported to the
Emergency Center Operator at (978) 887-2116.
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What services are available to seniors?
Many services are available to Topsfield seniors through the Topsfield Council
on Aging. Contact the COA Director at (978) 887-1523. Information about
complimentary van transportation is available at (978) 887-6866.
Does Meals on Wheels deliver in Topsfield?
Meals on Wheels services are available in Topsfield. Contact the Council
on Aging at (978) 887-1523. [return to top]
What is everything a homeowner should know about septic systems?
Most dwellings in Topsfield utilize septic systems to process gray water
from appliances and sinks and waste produced in toilets. Homeowners should
educate themselves about this critical system by reading the information
available at reliable web sites such as
www.epa.gov/owm/septic/pubs/homeowner_guide_long.pdf or by contacting
a septic system company. [return to top]
Can I pay my taxes online?
Yes, follow the link on the home page that will take you to unipay.unibank.com/onlinepaymentcenter/accountinfo.asp?muni=1054&ttid
What is the process for filing for tax abatement?
If a taxpayer is aggrieved by his or her valuation, he or she may appeal
to the Board of Assessors by filing an application for abatement during
the statutory period. The Town of Topsfield uses the quarterly tax billing
system. Thus the appeal period is measured from the date the actual
bills are mailed not the preliminary bills. This is usually the third quarter
bill issued on or before December 31st of each year, due and payable on
or before February 1st. Additional information is available on the back
of your tax bill and at the Assessor's website.
[return to top]
Is there a thrift shop in town?
The Box Top Shop, which is operated by the volunteers of the Topsfield/Boxford
Community Club, on 7 School Street features both a thrift shop and a consignment
store where treasures are sold to support such groups as VNA Care Network,
Elder Health Care program, Scholarships to area schools, Council of Aging,
HAWC (Help for abused women and children), Plowshares, Tewksbury State Hospital,
and people in need. [return to top]
What is happening at the Topsfield Fairgrounds
The Topsfield Fair is held annually by the Essex Agricultural Society, a
private non-profit organization. Complete details about all Topsfield Fairground
events are available at www.topsfieldfair.org
or by calling (978)887-5000. [return to top]
When is Town Hall open?
Regular business hours at Town Hall are Monday-Thursday 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM
and on Fridays from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM. The main telephone number is (978)
887-1500. During non-business hours, please call the Emergency Center at
(978) 887-2116 to report an urgent problem.
What offices are located in Town Hall?
Selectmen, Community Development, Town Accountant, Assessor, Tax Collector,
Inspectional Services, Town Clerk, Conservation Commission, Board of Health
Council on Aging.
Where can I learn more about the Clock Tower?
The Keepers of the Clock, Bob Winship and Norm Isler, are happy to share
their knowledge of this town treasure. They may be reached through the Selectmen's
Office at 978-887-1500. [return to top]
Trash & Recycling
My trash or recycling wasn't
picked up. Whom do I call?
To report a problem with trash or recycling pick-up, call the Selectmen's
office at (978) 887-1500. Remember to have your trash and recycling out
by 7 AM on collection day.
When do I need a trash sticker?
Trash Stickers must be used when more than one trash barrel is required.
The first trash receptacle that you put at the curb should have affixed
an official trash decal that is issued in the Selectmen's Office. Each household
is allowed one barrel for waste weekly. A single sticker should be attached
to the top item inside additional trash receptacles or 2 stickers are required
on bulky items such as mattresses. Stickers may be purchased at Dawson's
True Value Hardware in the Topsfield, Village Shopping Centre, at Cumberland
Farms on Main Street and at the Essex County Co-op on Route 1 for $2.00/sticker.
See the Trash and Recycling page in Services
for more information.
How do I get rid of my old appliances and other heavy metals?
Each October and May on the regular trash collection days, the town offers
heavy metal curbside pick-up at no charge to residents. Specific details
about items eligible for disposal will be provided in the local newspapers
in the weeks prior to the collection.
Is there a way to properly dispose of hazardous waste?
Each year in early November, a hazardous waste collection day is offered
to Tri-Town (Topsfield, Middleton and Boxford) residents. Local newspapers
will announce the date. Click
here for eligible items for disposal. Topsfield residents may dispose
of motor oil at the Boxford Recycling Center on Spofford Pond Road each
Is there a public composting facility?
The Topsfield composting site, which is located behind the Public Works
Facility building on the northbound side of Route 1 between Route 97 and
Ipswich Road, is open to Topsfield residents every Saturday morning from
9 AM to 1 PM beginning April 1st through November 24th. Residents may drop
off leaves, brush, branches, and grass clippings only for a $5.00 fee. Leaves
and grass clippings must be kept separate from brush and branches. Stumps,
logs, and branches larger than 4 inches in diameter may not be brought to
the composting site. .Christmas trees (with all decorations removed) may
be disposed at the composite site, with dates as indicated on the Public Works webpage: www.topsfieldpublicworks.org. [return to top]
If I want to take down some trees,
whom should I contact?
The tree warden should be contacted before any trees are removed from your
property. The phone number is (978) 887-1542.
There's a tree or large branch blocking the street.
How do I get it removed?
Contact the Highway Department at (978) 887-1542 or the Emergency Center
Operator at (978) 887-2116. [return to top]
My water has an unusual color or odor.
Whom would I contact?
Notify the Topsfield Water Department at (978) 887-1517.
Are there any watering restrictions?
Water restrictions will be posted at the borders of the town as well as
in the center of town.They will also appear in the local newspapers, on
channel 10/47 and on the topsfield.org web site. Please follow all guidelines
to help save the Ipswich River.
Where does my water come from?
Most dwellings in Topsfield get their water from the town supply. Those
who don't have private wells. [return to top]
Voting & Elected Officials
Where do I register to vote?
In the Town Clerk's Office at Town Hall.
Who are my elected officials?
Please refer to the Phone and
E-mail listing on the website. [return
How do I get a notice posted on the Town Web
Site Community Events calendar?
Public service announcements are posted on this website's Community Calendar
for non-profit organizations, government agencies and schools. Download
the necessary form here
or pick one up at Town Hall just in the Mail Room on the first floor. You
may also call the Cable Office at (978) 887-1544. Completed forms can be
dropped off or mailed to the Town Hall or faxed to (978) 887-1502. Forms
must be received at least one week prior to the start date. [return