Do I need a permit for an Accessory Structure (Garages, Pools, Storage buildings, etc.)?

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:

  • Structure is less than 144 sq. ft.
  • All exterior dimensions, including height, are less than 12 ft.
  • Structure will be located in a Residential or Industrial zoning district.
  • Structure will not contain electrical, mechanical, or plumbing service.
  • Structure is not located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

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.

Appearance & Location Standards

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:  

  • Located on tracts of land 5 acres or larger and
  • Screened on the sides and rear in accordance with Sec. 712.8 of the Zoning Ordinance and
  • Setback at least 250 feet from any street right-of-way and at least 50 feet from adjoining property lines and
  • Designed with a minimum roof pitch of 3:12 with 12-inch overhangs

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:

  • Cannot be used for human habitation (no working, sleeping, living, cooking, or restroom areas)
  • Cannot be temperature controlled
  • Must be designed to have low flood-damage potential
  • Must be designed and located so as to offer the minimum resistance to the flow of floodwaters
  • Must be firmly anchored
  • All service facilities (electrical, mechanical, etc) must be elevated to at least the regulatory flood protection elevation
  • Flood openings (to equalize hydrostatic flood forces) must be provided below the regulatory flood protection elevation (or the entire structure can be elevated to the same)
  • Elevation and/or Floodproofing Certifications (which require signatures by licensed surveyors and/or engineers) are required for any structure with a footprint of 150 sq. ft. or greater.
  • Structures in the Floodway (AE-FW zone) will not be permitted without a “No Rise” Certification. The Floodway is considered a “Non-Encroachment” zone, subject to high velocity floodwaters – the standards to achieve a “No Rise” condition are stringent and most encroachments will be prohibited. Property owners are advised to explore all alternative locations to avoid placement of accessory structures in these areas.

Show All Answers

1. Who do I call for code enforcement?
2. Do I need a permit for an Accessory Structure (Garages, Pools, Storage buildings, etc.)?
3. Can I make improvements to my property if it's located in a Flood Zone?
4. Do I Need a Zoning Permit for Single-Family Residential Construction?
5. What is the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home? What can I place on my residential lot?
6. Does Lenoir allow multifamily developments?
7. What is a privilege license and when do I need one?
8. What is the process to open a billiard / pool hall?
9. Does the city allow alcohol sales and how do I get my Alcoholic Beverage Control permit?
10. Do I have to undergo a background check to practice massage therapy?
11. What is conditional zoning?
12. What is a conditional use permit?
13. How do I apply for a zoning variance?
14. How can I verify the address of my property or get assigned a new address?
15. What is the difference between a minor, family or exempt subdivision, and how can I get one recorded?
16. When is a subdivision considered "major" and what is the approval process?
17. Can I appeal a decision of the Planning Department?