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Monday, May 28 is a Town Holiday

Most municipal offices will be closed. Residential trash will not be collected (make-up day is Wednesday, May 30). Chapel Hill Transit will not operate. Chapel Hill Public Library will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. A Special Service of Remembrance will be held at the Orange County Veterans Memorial at 7:30 a.m. Read more.

Residential Work Requiring a Permit

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For all work other than Single-Family or Two-Family, see Non-Residential Work Requiring a Permit.

 

Permit Type   Work Requiring a Permit 
     

Building Permit

 
  • Accessory structures, i.e. detached garages, gazebos, pergolas, sheds larger than 12 feet in any dimension.
  • Additions
  • Alterations
  • Any structural work
  • Decks and porches
  • Demolition
  • Fences over 6 feet on height (need to check w/ inspection)
  • Foundation work
  • Garages
  • New dwellings, including Accessory Dwelling Units
  • Pools
  • Remodels, i.e. adding, moving, or removing of any walls or changing use of existing space, including the finishing or upfit of any unfinished space
  • Repairs
  • Retaining walls than 4' more
  • Roof replacement
  • Any work exceeding a Construction Cost1 of $15,000

The following work is exempt from a building permit2 as long as the Construction Cost1 is less than $15,000:

  • Cosmetic work
  • Fences under 6 feet in height
  • Siding replacement
  • Cabinet repair or replacement
  • Roof shingles
  • Satellite dishes
  • Sheds smaller than 12 feet in every dimension
  • Stone walls
  • Window or door replacement

Note: These requirements are per N.C. General Statute 160A-417(a)(1) and (a1)

  1. Construction Cost is defined as: "Expense incurred by a contractor for labor, material, equipment, financing, services, utilities, etc., plus overheads and contractor's profit. Costs such as that of land, architectural design, consultant and engineer's fees are not construction costs.
  2. Work exempt from a building permit may require a zoning permit or zoning exemption. See Zoning section below.
     

Sub Permit

 
  • Change of electrical service
  • Geothermal wells (also requires a Zoning Compliance Permit)
  • Installation, extension, or general repair of any plumbing system
  • Installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any heating or cooling system
  • Installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment
  • Sewer connections for existing dwelling

The following work is exempt from a sub permit for One- and Two-Family dwellings:

  • Replacement of a water heater subject to G.S. 160A-417(a)(2)
    •  Please see Water Heater Replacement Requirements (without a permit) below for information. 
  • The repair or replacement of electrical lighting fixtures or devices or for the electrical connection for a water heater replacement, subject to G.S. 160A-417(a)(4)

Note: These requirements are per N.C. General Statute 160A-417(a)(2-4)

Water Heater Replacement Requirements (without a permit):

  • The work is restricted to one- or two-family dwellings only (no buildings with three or more dwelling units and no commercial buildings).
  • The work has to be performed by a North Carolina Licensed Plumbing Contractor (or a bona-fide employee of a North Carolina Licensed Plumbing Contractor).
  • The licensee is required to personally examine the work at completion.
  • The licensee is required to ensure that a leak test has been performed on the gas piping.
  • The energy use rate or thermal input is not greater than the water heater which is being replaced.
  • The replacement is required to be installed in accordance with the current edition of the State Building Code (plumbing section).
  • There is no change in fuel.
  • There is no change in energy source.
  • There is no change in location.
  • There is no change in capacity.
  • There is no change in routing or sizing of venting or piping.

-Dale Dawson NC Plumbing and Mechanical & Fire Sprinkler Contractor's Licensing Bard Executive Director

Please note that if one of the following requirements is missing, then a permit is required.See Water Heater Replacement Requirements for more details.

     

Zoning Permit

 
  • Accessory structures
  • Additions
  • Decks and porches
  • Demolition
  • Driveways, new and expansion to existing. (Note: new curb cuts require a driveway permit)
  • Fences over 6 feet in height (excluding deer fencing)
  • Garages
  • Irrigation system with more than 2,000 s.f. of land disturbance
  • Landscaping with more than 2,000 s.f. of land disturbance
  • New dwellings, including Accessory Dwelling Units 
  • New utilities
  • Parking areas
  • Patios
  • Retaining walls (more than 2 feet in height)
  • Sheds less than 12' in every dimension
  • Solar panels (excluding rooftop solar panels)
  • Steps and stoops
  • Stone walls 
  • Tree stump removal

The following work may be exempt from a Zoning Permit, with staff verification, provided that it is not occurring in a Special Protection Area (historic districts, neighbor conservation districts, flood plain, Jordan buffer & resource conservation districts). Work in a Special Protection Area may be subject to additional permitting requirements. Please email Development Services at developmentservices@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-969-5066 to determine permitting requirements prior to starting work.

  • Chicken coops
  • Fences, including deer fencing, under 6 feet in height
  • Free standing tree house
  • Interior work
  • Development with 1) less than 1,500 s.f. of land disturbance and 2) less than 500 s.f. of impervious surface.
  • Irrigation system with less than 2,000 s.f. of land disturbance
  • Landscaping with less than 2,000 s.f. of land disturbance
  • Maintenance/repair
  • Play structures (moveable)
  • Rooftop solar panels
  • Retaining wall less than 2 feet in height
  • Tree removal (no stump)

Note: These requirements are per section 4.9 of the Town of Chapel Hill Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO).

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