Cumberland County, NC Fence Building Codes & Permits
Cumberland County does not always require a building permit when erecting a fence. A permit is always required if the site is located within “Conservation, Historic, Landmark, SPI districts or other districts requiring a Special Administrative Permit.
Fences and walls which conform to the provisions stated herein shall be permitted by the Department of Environment and Community Development. Fences erected for agricultural purposes in the AG-1 District shall be exempt from permit requirements.
Easements: No structure with the exception of fences may be located in, or otherwise obstruct any easement. Fences shall be permitted within easements subject to the receipt of written permission from the easement holder. Approval of the Zoning Administrator and applicable County Department shall be required for all fences proposed for placement in easements which are held by Cumberland County.
Cumberland County Fence and Wall Standards
Walls or fences shall be permitted in any zoning district and are not subject to setback requirements of this resolution, except that in a residential zoning district:
(1) All mobile home park developments shall provide trash and garbage storage receptacles for each mobile home unit that shall be approved by the Cumberland County Health Department. The mobile home park owner shall collect and dispose of his trash and garbage in a manner approved by the Cumberland County Health Department. All dumpster and utility areas shall be screened. Dumpster sites shall be located on concrete slabs and be fenced around three (3) sides, minimum. Chainlink fencing may be utilized, but it must be accompanied with an evergreen screen.
(2) Perimeter buffer. All mobile home parks shall have a minimum fifteen-foot-wide natural or landscaped buffer area around the perimeter of the park, excluding entrance drives within which no temporary or permanent structures shall be permitted. All mobile home parks shall have a physical barrier (i.e. fencing, hedge, etc.) defining the boundaries of the park. The Schedule of Buffer Width Requirements and the Buffer Requirements Between Residential and Non-Residential Uses in Article XIV, Landscape Ordinance, of the County Zoning Ordinance shall not apply. Additionally, if earth berms, fences and walls are used within the buffer area, the buffer width shall not be reduced. The amount of plant materials specified for a twenty-foot-wide buffer shall be applied (see Minimum Amount of Plant Materials Per Buffer Width in Article XIV, Landscape Ordinance, of the County Zoning Ordinance.).
(3) Swimming pools which are constructed within a group development shall be located not less than one hundred (100) feet from any boundary of the project and not less than fifty (50) feet from any public street and conform to the following: Have a fence at least three (3) feet high completely enclosing the portion of the yard containing the pool with a gate that can be securely fastened.
(4) All dumpsters and utility areas shall be screened. Dumpster sites shall be located on concrete slabs and be fenced around three (3) sides, minimum. Chain link fencing may be utilized, but it must be accompanied with an evergreen screen as in Section XIV, Landscape Ordinance, of the County Zoning Ordinance.
(5) To provide for existing or future service poles, underground electric and communication lines, public utilities, conduits, drainage facilities, water and sewer lines, an easement not less than ten (10) feet wide, five (5) feet on each side of the common rear lot line or in other locations where necessary, shall be provided. No building or other permanent obstruction, not including fences, shall be erected on any such easement.
(6) Confinement means to secure an animal in a house or by a fence within the boundaries of the owner’s, leaseholder’s, or keeper’s property (i.e., house, fenced yard).
(7) Any dog confined within a fenced yard or run must have an adequate space for exercise. Provided, further that where dogs are kept or housed on property without a fenced yard, the owner of such dogs or persons having custody of such dogs shall provide an enclosure or run for such dogs providing adequate space for exercise. Such enclosure shall be constructed of chain link or similar type materials with all four sides enclosed. The enclosure shall be of sufficient height to prevent the dog from escaping from such enclosure. The top of such enclosure shall be so covered with materials to provide the dog with adequate shade and protection from the elements.
(8) Available lighted space for properly accommodating and protecting a minimum of 15 disabled motor vehicles to be towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are disabled. Said storage space for vehicles shall be enclosed by a minimum six-foot chain link fence, or a fence of similar strength, and shall have all entrances and exits secure from public access. Storage lots are for the exclusive use of the licensee and may not be shared with any other business. Storage facilities located on the same property of another business must be separated by a minimum six-foot chain link fence or its equivalent; have separate entrances; and be utilized solely for the licensee’s business.
(9) Fences and other accessory structures shall either be maintained in a safe and substantial condition or demolished and removed.
Fences & Walls Cont.
(Revised September 2009) The Zoning Resolution (Section 700) and the Property Maintenance Ordinance (Section 14-301) contain requirements about the location, height, material, and maintenance of fences and walls on residential lots. In addition, the Development Regulations (Subsection 7.4.6) contain restrictions about the construction of fences and walls in a drainage easement. All of these requirements are applicable in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Fences proposed to be located in the rear yard must not exceed the maximum allowable height of 8 feet. Fences proposed to be located in the front yard must not exceed a maximum height of 4 feet. Materials used for fences in the front yard must be ornamental in design and constructed with materials such as brick, masonry, picket or split rail. Chain link or other woven wire fences are prohibited in a front yard. Corner lots have two (2) front yards and the same regulations and restrictions on fences in the front yard apply to the yard areas adjacent to both streets. Fences and walls are not allowed to be located in the street right-of-way. Although only a professional survey can determine the actual right-of-way boundary line, in most cases it is the area approximately 11 feet from the back of the curb toward the lot.
Fences and walls constructed after 27 April 1999 are not allowed in a drainage easement unless written permission from the county is given. For further information about fences and walls in drainage easements, please contact the Stormwater Plan Review Section of the Department of Planning & Development at 910.678.7600 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except holidays. Drainage easements are indicated on Final Plats of subdivisions that are kept on file in the Real Estate Records Office of the Clerk of Superior Court.
Fences may be placed adjacent to or on side or rear property lines. However, it is recommended that adequate room be provided between the fence and the property line for maintenance purposes without having to access someone else’s property without their permission. Barbed wire and electric fences are prohibited on residential lots less than 3 acres in size. All damaged or missing portions of a fence need to be replaced with comparable materials and shall be attached to the existing portion of the fence. Fences cannot be externally braced by a means of support other than the intended posts or other structural members. Building permits are required for fences greater than 8 feet in height (and provided a height variance is granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals at a public hearing) and for walls that are greater than 4 feet in height.
Violations of fence and wall regulations may be reported by calling the Police Services Quality of Life Unit Complaint Hot Line at 910.321.6654
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I install a fence on my residential property? How tall can I build the fence? Is a permit required?
A. Each lot has a front, side and rear setback from the property line. Review the final plat of the subdivision to find the locations of these setbacks on the property. Although fences in the rear and side yards may be built up to the property line, it is highly recommended to offset the fence internally from the property line to allow room for maintenance to avoid crossing over to the adjacent property. Fences are allowed to be up to eight (8) feet in height in the side and rear setbacks. Each corner lot has two front yard setbacks, one from each right of way. Fences in the front yard setback are not allowed to exceed four (4) feet in height. A building permit is not required to install a fence 8 feet or less in height except a building permit is required for masonry and concrete walls which exceed 4 feet in height and function as a fence, screen, or barrier.
Q. Am I allowed to install a fence within a drainage easement on my property?
A. Possibly, although obstructions of any type including permanent structures are generally not permitted within drainage easements. Installation of fencing within a drainage easement requires approval by the Stormwater Plan Review Section.
Q. Is the homeowner required to be present at his/her residence during a scheduled inspection by a building inspector?
A. Either the homeowner or an adult representative must be present before an inspector can enter an occupied residence or fenced property. For inspection of an outside structure such as a deck, pool, or storage shed, the homeowner may place a note on the permit card granting the inspector permission to enter the property if he/she cannot be present during the inspection.
Fence Workshop™ supplies the following fence styles in Cumberland County, NC.
- Wood Privacy, Picket , Split Rail & Board
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- Ornamental Metal, Steel, Aluminum & Wrought Iron
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- Driveway Gates, Gate Openers, Access Control Systems, Entry Gates, Entry Systems
- Residential Fences, Commercial Fences, Security Fences, Dog Fences, Horse Fences
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(Fence Workshop™ is not responsible for the accuracy of this information. Visit Co.Cumberland.nc.us and Municode.com for the most up-to-date information on Cumberland County fence building codes and permit requirements.)
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