Franklin County, NC Fence Building Codes & Permits
Franklin 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 Franklin County.
Franklin 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) Note 5. Automobile junkyards. For the purpose of: protecting the citizens and residents of Franklin County from possible injury at automobile graveyards and/or junkyards; preserving the dignity and aesthetic quality of the environment in Franklin County; preserving the physical integrity of land in close proximity to residential areas; protecting and enhancing the economic viability and interest of the citizens and residents of Franklin County that have made substantial financial investments in homes, businesses, and industry in Franklin County; and attracting the interest of future investors to further enhance the future of this county, the following minimum performance standards for junkyards control apply: Shall be fenced and screened completely, at minimum, with a protective fence, and screened from public view with vegetation.
(2) Note 8. Demolition landfill. Permitted as a special use provided the following conditions are met: That a non-climbable fence, at least six feet in height, completely enclose such uses.
(3) Mining industries. Mining industries shall be a special use in AR, LI, and HI districts provided the following conditions are met: Fencing. Six foot fence required for all mining, including sand and clay mining when the excavation depth poses a hazard.
(4) Outdoor swimming pool. An outdoor swimming pool, including an in-ground, above ground, or on-ground pool, hot tub, or spa shall be provided with a barrier which shall comply with the following: Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 1¾ inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 1¾ inches (44 mm) in width. Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 1¾ inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 1¾ inches (44 mm) in width. Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, such as a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members shall not be more than 1¾ inches (44 mm).
(5) Outdoor swimming pools shall be protected by a secured fence.
(6) The crematory shall be screened with solid type fencing or with evergreen shrubs at least five feet in height.
(7) Construction or expansion in NB, HB, and TND districts only. The following planned building group regulations shall apply to all new construction or expansion of existing buildings in NB, HB, and TND zoned property. These requirements shall be in effect for both the development of individual buildings and parcels with two or more buildings on a single parcel. Size and location of all fences, walls, and hedges.
(8) The Following District’s : HB highway business district, LI light industrial district, HI heavy industrial district; all outdoor storage be screened from public view by opaque fencing, screening, or landscaping, limited to rear and side of the principal building, if hazardous and/or unsafe, shall meet all local, state, and federal environmental requirements, and must be on the premises of the business;
(9) All wireless telecommunications facilities and antennas shall be located, fenced or otherwise secured in a manner that prevents unauthorized access. Specifically: All fencing shall be in harmony and concert with the nature and character of the neighborhood and be maintained in a manner so as to retain its originally installed appearance.
(10) Sign area computations. The following principles shall control the computation of sign area and sign height. Computation of area of single-faced signs. The area of a sign face shall be computed by means of the smallest square or rectangle, that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem, or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including any supporting framework, bracing, or decorative fence or wall when such fence or wall otherwise meets zoning article regulations and is clearly incidental to the display itself.
(11) When a manufactured home park is to be constructed, the owner of the park shall be required to provide and maintain a five foot wide natural vegetative screened buffer strip along the park’s boundary to be a minimum of five feet in height, or planted evergreen trees or shrubbery consistent with width and height of the naturally screened buffer, or solid fencing at least five feet in height. Any planting shall be done at the earliest planting season, and any diseased or dead plants shall be replaced immediately.
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 919.496.2909 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 919.496.2909
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 Franklin 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
- Fence Installation, Fence Repair, Fence Rental, Contractors, Companies, Installers, Builders
(Fence Workshop™ is not responsible for the accuracy of this information. Visit Franklincountync.us and Municode.com for the most up-to-date information on Franklin County fence building codes and permit requirements.)
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