Vance County, NC Fence Building Codes & Permits
Vance 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 Vance County.
Vance 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) Fencing: Six (6) foot fence required for all mining, including sand and clay mining when the excavation depth poses a hazard.
(2) There shall be no planting, structure, fence, or other obstruction to visibility on any corner lot between two (2) feet and ten (10) feet above the level of the center line of the street in a triangular area bounded by the street right-of-way line on such corner lots and a base line joining points along right-of-way lines twenty-five (25) feet from the intersection right -of-way corner. Per the Vance County Subdivision Ordinance, the following applies for Vehicular Sight Distance Easements: Triangular sight distance easements shall remain free of all structures, trees, shrubbery, driveways, and signs, except traffic control signs and shall be shown in dashed lines at all street intersections and so noted on the subdivision plat. Final determination of the location and extent of sight distance easements will be made by the jurisdiction in cooperation with the NCDOT District Engineer.
(3) All pools, whether above-ground or in-ground, shall be built only in rear or side yards. The definition of a pool shall include all structures, and walks or patio areas of cement, stone, or wood at or above grade, built for, and used in conjunction with the pool. A pool as defined above shall be included in the calculations of the total allowed lot coverage for the zoning category in which the lot is located. Pools, as defined above, shall be setback a minimum of 10 ft. from all side and rear property lines. Patio area at grade has no setback requirements from rear and side lot lines. Pool shall be enclosed by a privacy fence, with a childproof gate, a minimum height of four (4) feet and a maximum height of eight (8) feet. Pools located in rear yards on corner lots which are greater then 22,000 sq. ft. shall be located in the rear yard opposite the abutting street, unless the rear yard is screened by a wall or privacy fence.
(4) Satellite dishes shall be screened from view with dense landscaping materials, fences, or other solid materials, to the extent that it does not impair reception.
(5) Where a planting screen cannot be expected to thrive because of intense shade or soil conditions, or where lot size will not allow a planted buffer, the Zoning Administrator may, in writing, allow the substitution of a well-maintained wood, masonry wall, or chain link fence with slats at least eight (8) feet in height in place of the planted screen.
(6) Fence, Security. A fence designed to keep out unauthorized persons and kept locked when the area or facility is not in use or under observation. Security fences are often equipped with a self-closing and positive self-latching mechanism.
(7) There shall be no planting, structure, fence, or other obstruction to visibility on any corner lot between two (2) feet and ten (10) feet above the level of the center line of the street in a triangular area bounded by the street right-of-way line on such corner lots and a base line joining points along right-of-way lines twenty-five (25) feet from the intersection right -of-way corner. Per the Vance County Subdivision Ordinance, the following applies for Vehicular Sight Distance Easements: Triangular sight distance easements shall remain free of all structures, trees, shrubbery, driveways, and signs, except traffic control signs and shall be shown in dashed lines at all street intersections and so noted on the subdivision plat. Final determination of the location and extent of sight distance easements will be made by the jurisdiction in cooperation with the NCDOT District Engineer.
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 252.738.2080 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 252.738.2080
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 Vance County, NC.
- Wood Privacy, Picket , Split Rail & Board
- Vinyl Privacy, Picket, Post & Rail
- Ornamental Metal, Steel, Aluminum & Wrought Iron
- Chain Link, Galvanized, Black Vinyl Coated, Temporary Panels
- 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 Vancecounty.com and Municode.com for the most up-to-date information on Vance County fence building codes and permit requirements.)
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