Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Download an application for a zoning variance (PDF). The Board of Adjustment grants variances only when the board finds that the strict enforcement of the ordinance would result in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships for the applicant and that, by granting the variance, the spirit of the ordinance will be observed, public safety and welfare maintained, and substantial justice done.Where alternatives exist to allow the applicant to meet the ordinance requirements and make reasonable use of the property, variances are typically not justified.Learn more about the Board of Adjustment.
Show All Answers
Code enforcement is split between the Planning Department and Police Department. The Zoning and Housing Inspector in Planning enforces violations of the zoning, housing, and building ordinances. The Nuisance Abatement Investigator in Police enforces violations of the public nuisance and animal ordinances.
Call 828-757-2212 to report or inquire about:
Call 828-757-2143 to report or inquire about:
Yes, most accessory structures (sheds, detached garages, in-ground or above-ground pools, carports, barns, etc.) require a zoning permit. Accessory structures are exempt from permitting requirements when all of the following criteria are satisfied:
All other accessory structures require zoning permits. Exempt accessory structures must be located in the side (non-corner lots) or rear yards and be setback a minimum of 5 ft. from all property lines.
Residential Districts - Two accessory structures are permitted per lot, in the side or rear yard only, with a maximum height of 20 feet Accessory structures cannot cover more than 30% of the required side or rear yard.
Unless the accessory structure meets all of the exemption criteria listed above, or is located in a R-20 or R-R zone, exterior facades are required to be brick, stone, vinyl or wood lap siding, or stucco. Metal buildings are prohibited (metal roofs and open carports with metal roofs are allowed).
Exceptions to the façade requirements may be granted for accessory structures that are:
Commercial Districts – Accessory structures that will be visible from any public street or adjoining private property must meet the appearance standards of the applicable district.
Special Flood Hazard Areas – Regardless of the zoning district or size, any accessory structure located within an AE or AE-FW Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHAs – commonly referred to as the “100 year flood zone” or the “100 year floodway”) requires a Floodplain Development Permit.
Accessory structures in the SFHAs have additional requirements:
Any activity within a designated "Special Flood Hazard Area" (commonly referred to at the 100 Year Flood Zone or Floodway) requires a Floodplain Development Permit approved by the Floodplain Administrator (the Lenoir Planning Director). This includes grading, filling, construction of buildings, and even the installation of permanent landscaping.
Proposed projects are reviewed and conditions imposed on any permits issued to reduce the potential for damage from floodwater. All structures proposed within the floodplain will need flood-proofing or elevation certificates from professional engineers or surveyors. Any development within the Floodway (the "non-encroachment area") must be certified by an engineer to cause zero rise in the base flood elevation.
View the Lenoir's Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.
As of April of 2018, a zoning permit for Single-Family Dwellings is required prior to a building permit. Please call the Planner-On-Call at 828-610-8442 to verify access and building setbacks for your project.
Modular Homes are built off-site in pieces and are designed to meet the North Carolina State Building Code when assembled on a development site. Modular homes are subject to the same zoning standards as any other site-built home, and are allowed anywhere a single family home would otherwise be permitted in Lenoir. Modular homes must get building permits and be inspected by the Caldwell County Building Inspections Department.
With advancements in modular home technology, modular homes often are often transported to the building site in only one or two pieces and may appear similar to a manufactured home prior to installation on a permanent foundation. The City of Lenoir does not have any design standards that apply to single family construction, and therefore cannot regulate the appearance of modular homes. The determination on whether or not a building is a modular home is based solely on the construction standards that the structure must meet under state and federal laws.
Also called "mobile homes" or "trailers," manufactured homes are commonly referred to as either a "single wide" or a "double wide." Manufactured Homes are constructed to meet the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) building standards, built on permanent steel chassis, and are transported to the development site on their own wheels. Manufactured homes do not necessarily have permanent foundations. Manufactured homes have special setback and design standards under Lenoir's zoning code and require approval of a zoning permit prior to receiving building permits from Caldwell County Building Inspections. Caldwell County will inspect the placement of a manufactured home for all local work performed (electrical hook-ups, skirting, porches, plumbing hook-ups, etc.) but do not inspect the structure itself.
The City of Lenoir permits "double-wide" manufactured homes constructed after July 1, 1976 on individual residential lots in the R-6, R-9, and R-R zoning districts. "Single wide" manufactured homes constructed after July 1, 1976 are permitted within existing manufactured home parks only. No new manufactured home parks are allowed within the City.
Manufactured Homes constructed prior to July 1, 1976 are not permitted in Lenoir.
Yes, multifamily developments are allowed with a Conditional Use Permit in the City of Lenoir. Any residential building with 3 or more residential units is considered "multifamily" - this includes both apartments and condominiums.
Conditional Use Permits for multifamily projects may be approved in the R-9, R-6, O and I, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, and B-5 zoning districts. (View a description of the zoning districts (PDF).)
Download a Conditional Use Permit application (PDF). We recommend that you contact us to schedule a pre-application meeting to discuss your project with planning staff prior to submitting your application.
The City of Lenoir no longer requires privilege licenses. However, it's always a good idea to check to make sure that the zoning allows your use before starting a business or moving to a new location. You can call the Lenoir Planning Department at 828-610-8442 to check your zoning.
Any time a new or existing business wishes to install one or more billiard tables, the owner must apply for a Billiard/Pool Hall License by submitting the following information the Police Department:
The License must be approved by City Council by a majority vote. The process typically takes 30 days.
The City Council will not issue a license for a billiard hall to any of the following persons:
The City of Lenoir allows the retail sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption and allows mixed beverage permits in restaurants provided these establishments meet the requirements of North Carolina General Statutes 18B and comply with the permitting requirements of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission.
The ABC Commission is the lead agency in permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages in North Carolina. Applications for ABC permits require inspections and sign-offs from the Caldwell County Building Inspector, the Fire Marshall, and the Zoning Inspector.
Typically, the zoning review requires a site visit to be scheduled with the zoning inspector and the planning director before the application can be processed. Please call the Planner-On-Call at 828-610-8442 to set up an application meeting.
Any business or event that sells or offers for sale alcoholic beverages will need the appropriate ABC permit from the ABC Commission.
The City of Lenoir does not require background checks for massage therapy in the following circumstances:
Zoning district regulations apply to massage therapy. Please call 828-610-8442 if you have questions about zoning for massage therapy uses.
Conditional Zoning is intended for use in unique development scenarios when a development proposal does not fit into a conventional zoning district, but may be desirable and compatible with an area depending on the specific details of the project and its surroundings. The conditional zoning process gives the City sufficient flexibility to determine whether a specific project on a given site will be compatible with the environment and the Comprehensive Plan.
In considering a request for a Conditional Zoning District, the Planning Board and City Council may approve conditions or use limitations that are mutually agreeable to the applicant, property owner, and the City, thereby establishing a realm of acceptability for the development. Conditional Zoning is a legislative process requiring the Planning Board to review and make a recommendation to the City Council on the request. The Conditional Zoning District is adopted as a map amendment and by ordinance.
Each zoning district designates specific permitted and conditional uses. Conditional uses are uses that may be compatible with an area depending on the specifics of the particular project, its surroundings, and the level of services available to the site, but are not permitted "by right" in the district.
The conditional use permit process gives the City sufficient flexibility to determine whether a specific land use on a given site will be compatible with the environment and the Comprehensive Plan. In reviewing a conditional use permit application, planning staff, the Planning Board, and City Council will evaluate such items as building placement and size, characteristics of the use, traffic generation and circulation, noise, hours of operation, adequacy of parking, proposed merchandise, landscaping and overall compatibility of the use with adjoining properties, and other related development impacts.
Conditions may be imposed as necessary to ensure that the proposed use will be compatible with the surrounding properties and environment.
The Planning Department assigns addresses within the City limits and the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction. When inquiring about the assigned address of a property or requesting new addresses, the North Carolina Personal Identification Number is the easiest way for the Planning Department to locate and verify the property. For newly subdivided lots, a copy of the recorded plat may be necessary.
The Planning Department can typically assign addresses for new or existing parcels on the day they are requested. Please note that it may take several days for public service agencies to update their files with new addresses.
Per State statute, the following divisions of land are exempt from traditional local government subdivision regulations:
Minor subdivisions are those that involve the creation of 10 or fewer lots that meet the standards of the zoning district in which they are located, and:
Family Subdivisions are permitted only in the City's Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), and are intended to convey lots to members of the owners' lineal family (children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents) without requiring the extension of public infrastructure such as streets, water lines, and sewer lines. The tract of land from which the Family Subdivision is to be made must be at least three acres in size and no more than 20 acres in size. All lots created for a Family Subdivision shall have a duly recorded 45 feet wide ingress and egress easement, including general residential utility easements, extending to a public street.
Once the plat (or survey for exempt subdivisions) has been signed by the property owner and surveyor, the Planning Department will review it to ensure that it meets the requirements of the zoning ordinance. Following Planning Department approval, the plat can be taken to the Caldwell County Mapping Department for approval by a Map Review Officer, and then recorded with the Register of Deeds.
Minor, family and exempt subdivisions can typically be reviewed the same day they are submitted to the Planning Department. If no changes are necessary, then the plat can be signed and released for recording.
Projects that create new lots and require the installation of new public infrastructure, such as streets, sidewalks, water lines and sewer lines, are considered major subdivisions. The specifications for constructing major subdivisions are detailed in the City of Lenoir Subdivision Ordinance.
Preliminary Plat - The preliminary plat is prepared by a licensed surveyor and details the proposed street and lot layout, existing and proposed utility sizes and locations, any open space dedications, and connections to existing City infrastructure. The plat is reviewed by all City departments and the Lenoir Planning Board. The Planning Board can approve, deny, or recommend changes to the plat. Following the Planning Board's approval, the plat will be forwarded to the City Council for review and approval.
Construction -Following approval of the preliminary plat by City Council and approval of detailed engineer plans by appropriate staff and review bodies, the developer may begin construction of the subdivision. City staff will inspect the installation of all public infrastructure to ensure compliance with the standards and specifications of the Subdivision Ordinance.
Final Plat Approval - Upon satisfactory completion of all public infrastructure, the developer can submit the final plat for approval. The Planning Board and City Council review and approve the final plat. Following approval, the plat must be recorded at the Register of Deeds and then lots may be sold.
An appeal from any final zoning decision of the Planning Department may be taken to the Board of Adjustment. An appeal is taken by filing a written notice of appeal specifying the grounds. An appeal must be taken within thirty days after the date of the decision by the Planning Department. The Board of Adjustment may reverse, affirm, or modify a decision of the Planning Department.
The appeal process works similar to court proceedings. All comments must be made in the form of sworn testimony. Following testimony and submitted evidence, the Board of Adjustment will make a finding of facts, and render a decision based on those facts and their application to the law.
Appeals to Board of Adjustment decisions must be taken to Caldwell County Superior Court within 30 days of the Board's ruling.