Planning & Building Inspections

Building Permits
Most interior and exterior work requires a building permit prior to beginning construction. If you perform work without a permit, you may receive a late charge and possibly a “stop work” order. To report work that is being done illegally, you may call (252) 641-4236. Call the building inspections office at (252) 641-4236 with any inquiries regarding the building code, electrical code, plumbing code, mechanical code or to request any inspections required by these codes. Note that a permit expires six (6) months after the date of issuance if the work authorized by the permit has not been commenced and at least one inspection per year to keep the permit valid. To apply for permits or obtain information such as permit status fees, please go to the Inspection Department, first floor of Town Hall, 500 Main Street or call (252) 641-4236. Inspection requests must be made before an inspector will visit and may be taken at this location or at this number. You may check the status of an inspection by looking for stickers inside the front door jam of the building. Each inspector will apply either a green or red sticker after completing his inspection. The green sticker signifies a passed inspection. A red sticker signifies a failed inspection. There may also be a brief description on the sticker.

Plan Review
Construction plans require a review time of ten days (usually less). If your project requires a site or subdivision plan, adequate time to review is required. Development in the watershed and flood zones may require additional information. For information about other types of review, contact Catherine Grimm at (252) 641-4249.

For information on zoning compliance, setbacks, flood information, watershed information, or planning related matters, please call (252) 641-4249.  State law requires that an erosion control plan for land-disturbing activities greater than one acre be filed with the state at least 30 days prior to beginning activity and be approved prior to construction. Failure to follow erosion control procedures required by the law could result in fines up to $500 per day. Failure to submit an erosion control plan for approval could result in a fine up to $1000. Willful noncompliance is considered a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or by a fine not to exceed $5000, or both. An injunction to stop construction may be issued. Contact the Land Quality Section of the N. C. Dept. of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources at 919-571-4700 for more information on state requirements.

Job Sites
North Carolina State Building Code requires that all job sites be kept free and clean of debris. To report a site that needs cleaning, please call Alan Davis at (252) 641-4236.

Electric Service
Contractors may request temporary permanent electrical service in the Inspections Office. If you would like to apply to have your permanent electric service released temporarily, you must first sign an affidavit with the Office of the Collector of Revenue. An order request must also be made with Collections for the utilities to be turned on after the service has been released by us.

Certificates of Occupancy
Certificates of Occupancy will be issued for completed sites by the Inspection Division after all other applicable departments have signed off their approval such as Fire and Public Services.

The Building Inspectors are responsible for interpretations or technical inquiries in all related fields. If you are not satisfied with an interpretation, you and the inspector may contact the North Carolina Department of Insurance for an informal interpretation. Formal interpretations must be requested in writing. The Planning Director is responsible for interpretations in all zoning matters. You may file an appeal with the Board of Adjustment if you disagree with a zoning interpretation.

Abandoned/Junked and Nuisance Vehicles 
A Nuisance Vehicle is a vehicle on public or private property that is determined and declared to be a health or safety hazard, a public nuisance, and unlawful. To report an abandoned/junked or nuisance vehicle located on private property or on the street, please call the Code Enforcement Officer at (252) 641-4236. 

Historic District Commission
The Local Historic District (Within the larger National Historic District) is regulated by the Historic District Commission and exterior modifications must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness.  Call 252-641-4249 with questions.  A map of the regulated area is here: Local Historic District   The Rules are Here: