Answers to Citizen's Common Questions


Are There Rules for Fences?

A permit is NOT required for the installation of a fence in Fuquay-Varina’s corporate limits and ETJ, but some basic standards residents should adhere to are as follows:

  • Fences should be located at least three (inches) from a property line in order to avoid property line disputes.
  • The maximum height for residential fences is six (6) feet for the rear and side yard and four (4) feet for the front yard.
  • Privacy fences should be installed with a 2-inch clearance at the base for stormwater to drain underneath.
  • Fences should be installed with the finished surface facing out to a public street or adjacent property.
  • Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way. The public right-of-way typically ends two (2) feet from the back of the sidewalk, or five (5) feet from the back of the curb where no sidewalk exists.
  • Fences are not permitted in utility, drainage, stormwater, or other similar easements. Fences ARE permitted in landscaping and buffer easements, but in these cases the fences must be installed eight (8) feet from the property line and so that the majority of the landscaping and plant materials are outside of the fence. 

Additional fence standards are located in the Town's Land Development Ordinance (LDO).  Please see “Restrictive Covenants” below for additional information. 


Accessory Structure (Shed / Utility Building)

A permit is required for all accessory structures. The term accessory structure includes a shed, utility building, detached garage etc. Even if you purchase a prefabricated shed from a local retailer, a permit is still required. The permit allows the Town’s staff to verify that the accessory structure meets the required setback (typically 8 feet from the property line and outside of any easements) and does not exceed any of the Town’s other regulations. The Town’s Inspections Department facilitates this permitting process.

Please see “Restrictive Covenants” below for additional information. 


The View from My Backyard - Borrowed Open Space

Borrowed open space is a term referring to farmland, forest or other natural area that’s typically adjacent to a residential subdivision. These areas are not owned or controlled by the residents of the subdivision or the homeowners’ association, but can often be viewed as a feature of the subdivision. There is sometimes a feeling that borrowed open space should always be the same use (or lack of use) that it was when the subdivision was developed. In some cases this leads to a tough situation, where the owner of the borrowed open space property is being asked by others to never make any different use of it. Property owners have the right to develop their property as long as they follow the regulations established by the governing body.


Can I Have Chickens?

The trend of keeping backyard chickens has been on the rise over the past number of years. Whether the interest is for sustainability, comfort, food independence or other reasons, the Town supports this initiative.  A maximum of five (5) chickens restricted in a pen is allowed on residential lots within the Town limits as long as restrictive covenants do not apply. In the ETJ, a maximum of ten (10) chickens is allowed. Please check with your homeowner’s association to confirm chickens are allowed.  A permit is required for the pen. Roosters are NOT permitted. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 919-552-1429 or

Please see “Restrictive Covenants” below for additional information. 
Home based business

Home Occupation (Home-based Business)

As technological advances are made, more and more people are working from home. Some people also run small businesses from their homes. These are called home occupations, or home-based businesses, and are allowed with approval by the Town’s Planning Department via a letter of zoning compliance. While the Town fully supports these creative uses, the Town is also charged with ensuring that a home occupation does not conflict with the intent of the property or create negative impacts to the neighborhood. For this reason, there are standards that must be met in order for a home occupation to be approved. The Home Occupation User Guide offers a comprehensive list of these standards. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 919-552-1429 or


Restrictive Covenants

Something else to consider is restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants are a private agreement between a property owner and others in the neighborhood and are not a matter the Town will get involved in. Please check with your homeowners’ association or your deed to see if there are additional, private standards in your neighborhood. It’s important to know that even where restrictive covenants create standards, compliance with the Town’s standards is still mandatory.  


What is an Easement?

An easement is an agreement on property for use of the area within the easement. The easement is part of a piece of property and is not separate like a right-of-way. For example, a drainage easement on a residential lot is an agreement for perpetual use of the area included in the easement for drainage of water. In addition to drainage easements, some other common easements are for water, sewer, and greenways. Because the area is intended for an explicit, continued use it cannot be used for other purposes unless specifically approved by the Town.  

Your deed, the plot plan for your lot, or a survey are all great resources to determine if there’s any easement on your property.  


I Need a Survey of My Property

From time to time citizens request a copy of the survey map of their property, or even request that a survey of their property be performed. Neither of these requests can be fulfilled by the Town. In North Carolina, survey maps are recorded at the county level. Here, that is with the Wake County Register of Deeds. You can easily search that website ( if you have some information to start from. Most often property (or lots) in subdivisions is typically shown on a recorded map of the overall subdivision. In order to have a survey performed on a piece or property, you will need to contact a registered land surveyor.     

downtown living
Do I need the town’s approval to open a business?  

Yes. A zoning compliance letter from the Planning Department is required. The purpose of the letter is to allow the Town to verify that new businesses are permitted and have approval for the location in question. Sometimes lending institutions and other government agencies may also require a property owner to obtain a zoning compliance letter. There is a $50 fee associated with the letter. Processing time is typically 2-3 business days from the date of request. Requests should be made via email to and should include the address and type of business proposed, business name and information, and another other information the applicant may wish to be provided in the letter. Payment is required prior to pick-up of the letter and can be paid at Town Hall located at 401 Old Honeycutt Road.