Officials want to help residents with temporary rinks on their property this winter avoid thin ice -- at least as far as the zoning regulations go.

The Planning and Zoning Department's staff wants to ensure that property owners secure the proper permits for any temporary ice rinks that may be erected for the season.

Because more rinks are being installed locally, the town's Planning and Zoning Commission determined that, in some cases, special-permit approval will be needed from the commission.

For instance, the P&Z has ruled that if an ice rink has no lights, no chilling machine, no boards above six inches in height and is set up in a backyard, it would not require commission approval.

But if the rink is more elaborate than any of those criteria, or if it is in a front yard, it must be granted a special permit by the P&Z.

The more elaborate rinks are required to meet applicable special-permit zoning requirements and setbacks.

P&Z staffers advise it is "always prudent" to check with the department before proceeding with rink construction, according to a news release. That way, a determination can be made regarding whether a permit is needed for the project before work begins.

For more information or questions, call Zoning Officer David Keating at 203-656-7351.