Questions/Answers

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  • Do I need approval to run a business out of my home?

    Yes. Certain types of home businesses are not allowed in the residential zoning districts. A permit is required prior to establishing a home occupation.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240
  • Where do I report a problem involving abandoned/junk cars?

    The Department of Planning and Inspections in conjunction with the Police Department work to rid Blowing Rock’s neighborhoods of unsightly or nuisance material. Call to report a problem involving abandoned/junk cars and someone will be sent to investigate.

    If the car is on private property call Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

    If the car is on a street or in the right-of-way, call the Police 828 295-5210

  • What permits do I need to build an accessory building or structure?

    An Accessory Building is a building or structure on the same lot as the principal structure and has a character related to that building or is of a nature customarily incidental to or subordinate to that building. (Sheds, detached garages, trash enclosures, etc.)

    • Permits: Before beginning any construction project please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections. Zoning applications and Building applications are available at the office of Planning and Inspections located in Town Hall. A Building Permit from Planning and Inspections is required for any alterations and repairs to a structure. A Zoning Permit is required prior to the construction and/or installation of any accessory building or structure. Additional permits from the department may be required if electricity or plumbing is to be extended to the structure.

    For specific information pertaining to use, height, or setbacks, please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240.

  • Who assigns my house number?

    The Town of Blowing Rock does not assign house numbers. This is done through your county of residence. Please contact Watauga County 828 265-8043 or Caldwell County 828 757-1300

  • Where can I get an Annexation Application Form?

    Owners of land which are adjacent to the Town limits of Blowing Rock may apply for full annexation into the Town limits. An application for annexation is available at the Department of Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240.

  • Where can I find information about Appearance Standards for Commercial Buildings?

    The Town of Blowing Rock has certain appearance standards which have been enacted in order to preserve the mountain resort image of the community. The Appearance Standards for Commercial Buildings is a guide which describes roof lines, color, lighting, general landscaping, landscape buffer, sidewalks, utility lines, parking, trash containment, fences/walls, and vacated buildings. Further information is available at the Office of Planning and Inspections or can be downloaded by searching the Town Land Use Code, Article XVIII (B).

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • How can I apply to change Zoning?

    If you would like to use your property for a use not allowed in your current zoning district designation, you may be able to apply for a change in zoning which would give you the right for that use. Your change in zoning application is reviewed by the Planning Board for a recommendation before being presented to the Board of Commissioners for approval/disapproval at a Public Hearing. The form needed to initiate this process is available at the Office of Planning and Inspections.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • Do I need to have backflow prevention devices?

    Backflow prevention devices are required for all non-residential occupancies and for all lawn irrigation systems. The Department of Planning and Inspections is responsible for inspecting all backflow prevention devices in buildings. For questions or further information, please contact Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

    There are also backflow prevention devices located in the Town’s fire hydrants. For questions or further information, please contact Fire 828 295-5220.

  • How do I obtain a Blasting Permit?

    Before any type of blasting or demolition is to occur, a permit must be issued from the Department of Planning and Inspections. A blasting permit is available at the office of Planning and Inspections or can be downloaded from the list of applications/forms on this website.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • What do I need to know about buffers?

    Buffers are required to be left undisturbed and maintained in a healthy state. If any vegetation within a required buffer dies, it is to be replaced in accordance with ordinance requirements. Periodic inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with these regulations. Removal of or damage to a buffer can result in fines. For further information on buffers, contact the Department of Planning and Inspections.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • What should I know about building permits?

    Building regulations and the Minimum Housing Code are administered by the Department of Planning and Inspections. Permits are required for general construction to erect, enlarge, alter, remove, demolish or repair a structure. This includes storage sheds, decks, porches, attic or basement conversion, additions, insulation, commercial construction, signs, and any other substantial additions to a building. Applications can be obtained from the office or can be downloaded from the Helpful Links on this website.

    • Electrical permits are required for the installation of new electrical service equipment, existing service relocation, and service increases, as well as interior and exterior fixed appliances and equipment connections.
    • Mechanical permits are required for replacement, repair or alteration of mechanical systems in structures including gas lines, logs, lights, grills, heating, air conditioning, ventilation systems, and propane tanks.
    • Plumbing permits are required for all plumbing work including water service, drains, water mains, sewage disposal systems, irrigation systems, and related fixtures and appliances.

    Connections to public utilities (water and sewer) require payment of connection fees. This can be done by contacting Town Hall 828 295-5200

    Other types of work not included above may also need a permit. Before starting any building or repair project, contact Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • Do I need a permit to clear substantial materials from a lot?

    Yes. In order for a clearing permit to be issued, a zoning permit and application must first be filed. However, if the problem only pertains to tree removal, then only a clearing permit is necessary. These forms can be obtained from this website at Helpful Links, Applications and Forms.

  • Where can I get Commercial Design Standards?

    The Town of Blowing Rock has a set of standards for the design of commercial locations. For information pertaining to the town’s codes, please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections. Information is also available on-line in the Land Use Code, Article XVIII (B).

  • Where can I get a conditional use permit?

    A conditional use permit is issued by the Board of Commissioners. This authorizes the recipient to make use of the property in accordance with the requirements of the Town Land Use Code, as well as any additional requirements imposed by the Board of Commissioners. For further information and an application for a conditional use permit, please contact the office of Planning and Inspections. This application can also be downloaded from Helpful Links, Applications and Forms.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • Are construction drawings required for all new development projects?

    Construction drawings are required for all new development projects in Blowing Rock.

  • What level are construction inspections performed on?

    Construction inspections are performed on all "ground-level and under" infrastructure by the Department of Planning and Inspections.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • When are construction work hours?

    The Town of Blowing Rock has set the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days a week as permissible for construction work. This includes, but is not limited to hammering, power saws, heavy equipment, delivery trucks, and construction vehicles or equipment associated with a construction site.

  • In which department can I get information about development review?

    There are specific development review and approval processes for new development. Detailed submittal deadlines and schedules for each of the review and approval processes are available by contacting the Department of Planning and Inspections.

  • What are standards and requirements for new development projects?

    Standards and requirements for new development projects in Blowing Rock include ordinances, standards and policies. For information on development standards, contact the Department of Planning and Inspections.

  • Do I need a permit for demolition?

    Yes. The demolition form can be found in Helpful Links, Applications and Forms on this website.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240
  • What are the responsibilities of the Director of Planning and Inspections?

    The Director of Planning and Inspections is responsible for review and analysis of sign permits, site plans, and conditional use permits, including the coordination of input from other Town departments. The Director is also extensively involved in the review and revision of the Town’s land use controls (land use plan, zoning code, subdivision code, sign code, etc.) as well as code enforcement. For questions pertaining to these matters, contact the Department of Planning and Inspections.

  • What do I need to know about Easements?

    Easements and Rights-of-Ways are necessary for the provision of certain public services. To request additional information or a Fact Sheet on Easements and Rights-of-Way for the Homeowner, contact Town Hall at 828-295-5200.

  • What are electrical permits for?

    Electrical permits are required for the installation of new electrical service equipment, existing service relocation, and service increases, as well as interior and exterior fixed appliances and equipment connections.

  • Where can I get information about Engineering Design and Construction Standards?

    Engineering Design and Construction Standards include criteria for new development and capital improvement projects. These standards are available from the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240.

  • Which department should I contact if I have erosion and sedimentation control problems?

    For small scale problems which are under ½ acre, please contact the Planning and Inspections Office at 828 295-5240.

    For larger scale problems over .5 acres, please contact the Watauga County Erosion Control Officer 828 265-8043

  • Do I need a permit for constructing a fence or wall?

    Yes. In order to construct a fence or wall, a request for a permit must be submitted. These forms are available at the office of Planning and Inspections or can be downloaded at Applications and Forms.

  • Do I need to have flood insurance?

    The Town of Blowing Rock Floodplain Ordinance regulates development in flood-prone areas. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes specific flood zone determinations for higher risk areas. The purpose of this determination is to designate areas in which flood insurance is required. For further questions or information concerning flood zones, please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections.

  • How big can my For Sale Sign be?

    For Sale Signs are allowed on a property for sale and are limited in size to 4 square feet in all zoning districts, with the exception of the General Business District. In this district, 16 square feet is the maximum.

  • In which department can I get information about GIS?

    The Town zoning maps and a variety of other information is available for the public through the Town’s website at GIS.

  • What types of home occupations and activities are permitted?

    Certain types of home occupations and activities are permitted in residential neighborhoods. Please call the Planning and Inspection office for verification.

  • How can I report junk cars and vehicles?

    The Department of Planning and Inspections in conjunction with the Police Department work to rid Blowing Rock’s neighborhoods of unsightly or nuisance material. If the car is on private property, call Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240. If the car is on a street or in the right-of-way, call the Police at 828 295-5210

  • Who should I contact if I want to schedule an inspection or appointment?

    The Department of Planning and Inspections is responsible for building code inspections, zoning compliance, and buffer/landscape inspections. To schedule an appointment, contact Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240.

    To schedule inspections of water, sewer, drainage, streets, and all ground and below infrastructure, contact Town Hall 828 295-5200.

    To schedule an appointment pertaining to Fire Inspections, contact the Fire Inspector 828 295-5220.

  • Do I need a license to operate a business?

    Yes. To operate a business, trade, profession, calling, occupation, selling or offering for sale of articles, goods or services within the corporate limits of the Town of Blowing Rock, one must obtain a Business/Privilege License from Town Hall. This is an annual tax on the privilege of doing business within the Town's jurisdiction. The Town is not a licensing agency for any trade or profession. These licenses are valid from July 1 to June 30 of each year. Fees vary according to the type of business. The terms Business License, Schedule B License, and Privilege License are used interchangeably. For more information, contact Town Hall.

    Town Hall 828 295-5200

  • Do I need mechanical permits if I want to replace mechanical systems?

    Yes. Mechanical permits are required for replacement, repair or alteration of mechanical systems in structures including but not limited to gas lines, logs, lights, grills, and propane tanks and associated piping for flammable liquids, heating, air conditioning, cooling and ventilation systems.

  • Can I place a mobile home wherever I want?

    No. The placement of a mobile home is only permitted in the R-MH Zoning district. However, if you have a mobile home on your property, you may replace it with a newer and/or larger unit only if it does not violate or worsen setback restrictions and/or parking. However, it is necessary to get approval from the town. Before removing the existing home, purchasing a new home, or repairing/enlarging the existing structure, please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240.

  • Are Off-Site Directional Signs prohibited?

    Yes, off-site directional signs are prohibited.

  • Are plumbing permits required for all plumbing work?

    Yes. Plumbing permits are required for all plumbing work including, but not limited to, water service, drains, water mains, sewage disposal systems, irrigation systems, and related fixtures and appliances.

  • How can I change zoning?

    If you would like to use your property for a use not allowed in your current zoning district designation, you may be able to apply for a change in zoning which would give you the right for that use. Your change in zoning application is reviewed by the Planning Board for a recommendation before being presented to the Board of Commissioners for approval/disapproval at a Public Hearing. The form needed to initiate this process is available at the office of Planning and Inspections.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • What do I need to know about sheds?

    An Accessory Building is a building or structure on the same lot as the principal structure and has a character related to that building or is of a nature customarily incidental to or subordinate to that building. (Sheds, detached garages, trash enclosures, etc.)

    • Permits: Are required before any construction begins. Zoning applications and building applications are available at the office of Planning and Inspections located in Town Hall. A Building Permit from Planning and Inspections is required for any alterations and repairs to a structure or a new structure. A Zoning Permit is required prior to the construction and/or installation of any accessory building or structure.

    For specific information pertaining to use, height, or setbacks, please contact the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828-295-5240.

  • Is short-term rental allowed in Town?

    Yes. The Town of Blowing Rock does allow for short term rental in certain zoning districts. Short term rental of a dwelling unit is defined as the rental, lease, or use of an attached or detached residential dwelling unit for a duration of less than 28 consecutive days. For further information about short-term rentals, contact the Planning and Inspections Department.

  • Is a sign permit required for all signs?

    Yes. The Town of Blowing Rock sign ordinance was adopted to regulate and control signs and their placement throughout the planning jurisdiction of the town. Contact the Department of Planning and Inspections for additional information about the town’s signage code and/or to request a Sign Permit form. Permits may also be found under Applications and Forms on this website.

  • Where can I post yard sale signs?

    Yard Sale Signs may be posted on the property where the sale is going to take place. The sign must be no larger than 4 square feet and cannot be posted for more than three consecutive days at a time.

  • May I change the design of an exterior sign?

    Yes. To change the design of an exterior sign, the new corrections must be approved by the Department of Planning and Inspections. The forms are available at the office of Planning and Inspections or can be downloaded under "Applications and Forms."

  • Where can I get the variance application?

    A conference with the Department of Planning and Inspections is required before a formal application can be submitted. The filing fee for a variance is $100.00. Further information pertaining to the variance procedure and the variance application can be obtained at the office of Planning and Inspections. The form can be downloaded at Applications and Forms.

  • Can I construct a wall without a permit?

    No. A permit must be submitted in order to construct a wall or fence. These forms are available at the office of Planning and Inspections or can be downloaded at Applications and Forms. For specific information pertaining to height, setbacks, appearance, easements, or lot restrictions, please contact the office of Planning of Inspections.

  • How can I report tall weeds and grass?

    To report tall weeds and grass, contact the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240. No person may cause, suffer, or permit on premises under his control any growth or weeds, grasses, or other plants or bushes that becomes or threatens to become a fire hazard; or a harboring place for rats, mice, snakes, or other vermin; or otherwise poses a danger to public safety.

  • Where can I find information about zoning?

    For information on zoning, zoning maps, or the Town's Zoning Ordinances, see the Town Land Use Code or contact the Department of Planning and Inspections at 828 295-5240.

  • Who should I contact for information pertaining to zoning permits?

    A Zoning Permit is required for the following reasons:

    1. New Business
    2. Building Permit Approval
    3. Grading/Clearing
    4. Change in Use

    The Zoning Permit form is available at the office of Planning and Inspections and can be downloaded at Applications and Forms on this website.

  • Where can I get information pertaining to zoning appeals?

    Decisions made by the Zoning Administrator may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment. Further information and the form to initiate this process is available at the office of Planning and Inspections and can be downloaded at Applications and Forms. For a description of the quasi-judicial body which hears the appeal - See Board of Adjustment under Boards and Commissions.

  • How can I find out what my property is zoned?

    The Planning Department is located at 1036 Main Street or you may access the Town's mapping system online under GIS.

  • Do I need a zoning permit to build a deck or storage shed?

    Yes. All construction requires a basic zoning permit and a building permit.

  • To whom should I send complaints regarding junked cars, short-term rental violations, nuisance weeds, illegal signs, illegal home occupations, etc.?

    Please report all zoning-related complaints to Town of Blowing Rock, Planning Department, PO Box 47, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.

  • Can I rent my house by the day or week (short-term)?

    Short-term rental of property involves any rental period less than 28 consecutive days. Short-term rentals are only allowed in the Central Business, General Business, and Office-Institutional zoning districts and in the R-6M and R-10M Multi-family Dwelling Units.

  • Where can I get a copy of the Land Use Ordinance?

    Copies of the Land Use Ordinances are available in our office for a fee of $30.00. A digital copy is available online.

    Planning and Inspections 828 295-5240

  • When does the Planning Board meet?

    The Planning Board typically meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Town Hall. An agenda will be available on this web site before the Planning Board meeting. Please refer to the Meeting Calendar for meeting dates and application deadlines.

  • Do I need a permit to cut down a tree?

    Yes. In most cases, any tree over 18” in diameter is protected from removal. However, if a tree is damaged, dead, and/or poses a threat to life or property, that tree may be removed by first obtaining a clearing permit from the Planning Department.

  • What amount does the dollar value of the proposed work have to be before I need a permit?

    There is no dollar amount specified when requiring building permits. The NC Administration and Enforcement Requirements Code, section 301.1 reads as follows: “No person may commence or proceed with: (1) The construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, movement to another site, removal, or demolition of any building; (2) The installation, extension, or general repair of any plumbing system; (3) The installation, extension, or general repair of any heating or cooling system; or (4) The installation, extension, or general repair of any electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment without first securing from the Inspection Department with jurisdiction over the site of the work each permit required by the NC State Building Codes and other State and local law or local ordinance or regulation applicable to the work.” (General Statute 153A-357 and 160A-417)

  • When does my building permit expire?

    A permit expires six (6) months after the date of issuance if the work authorized by the permit has not commenced. The permit also expires if, after commencement, the work is discontinued for a period of twelve (12) months.