Information that is useful to current and/or future business owners in Beaufort has been aggregated and categorized to be easily accessible.

Where do I obtain a building permit? 

For the full permit application for multiple trades and/or contractors (click here) and for the single contractor permit application (click here). Changes or modifications to an existing permit (click here for the form to make such changes) can also be made. Hard copies of these forms are also available in the Planning and Inspections Department at 701 Front St., Beaufort. After completed, the application can be faxed  to 252-728-3982, emailed to d.graham@beaufortnc.org, mailed to 701 Front Street, Beaufort, NC, 28516, or delivered to the Planning and Inspections Department. Payment of the permits will be taken upon approval of the permit.

The application process involves checking the zoning for the site, checking the submitted material for compliance with the NC State Building Codes and Town Codes and Ordinances. A recent State laws requires assigning an approved Lien Agent from the NC Liens website if a job submitted has a construction value over $30,000. Call the office for more information or visit www.liensnc.gov.

When do I need a permit?

A permit is needed for renovations, remodeling, new structures, demolition, additions and changes or additions to electrical, mechanical or plumbing services when:

  • A new structure is being added to a property and the new structure will be 12 feet or more in any direction ‑ length, width, or height.
  • A renovation or remodel involves structural work such as wall being added or removed, adding doors, windows, etc.
  • Something is being detached or removed from an existing structure, such as a porch, deck, shed, storage building, room addition, etc. and is being replaced.
  • The construction value of an addition, construction, renovation, etc., is $5,000 or more.
  • New services for appliance changes (electric to gas) for electrical, mechanical (HVAC, gas), plumbing are being installed.
  • Electricity, plumbing, or HVAC equipment is being changed, repaired, replaced, etc. Changing out a hot water heater, a toilet, a sink, etc. does not require a building permit. However moving such fixtures, which can involve moving or adding water lines or adding electric service DOES require a building permit.
  • A new dock is being built or a boat lift is being added to an existing dock.
  • A storage building is being moved onto (or off of) a property and the storage building is larger than 12' x 12' x 12'.
  • A structure or building is being moved from one site in Town to another site in Town, the ETJ, or to another town or city not in the Town of Beaufort.

Homeowners are allowed to do their own work but must follow the NC State Building Codes if doing such work.

Building permit applications should be obtained prior to any work proceeding except excavation on a property. Other applications, such as a Site Plan Review, Preliminary and Final Plat, Variance, Certificate of Appropriateness or Minor Works signification, etc., may be necessary for certain permit applications. Good communication with the Planning and Inspections Department prior to actual start date should be a high priority.

Additional tips and information can be obtained by calling the Planning and Inspections Department at 252-728-2142 or emailing d.graham@beaufortnc.org. Obtaining a permit could take a couple of days.

After substantial work has been completed, an inspection should be performed in order to make sure the job is in compliance with the NC State Building Codes and Town codes. The department requires a 24-hour notice to schedule an inspection in order to make sure the inspector has ample time on the job site.

How do I pay online for a permit?

Just to let you know, Town Hall accepts cash, checks (made payable to "Town of Beaufort") and credit/debit cards here in person at 701 Front Street, Beaufort. There is a fee (3%) if you use either card. If you wanted to mail a check to us, please call 252-728-2142 for details.

  1. Go to the website www.officialpayments.com OR call 1-800-272-9829
  2. Select “Local Payments” Enter our Jurisdiction code —  4394 and select the “Make a payment” bar. The State and Payment Entity bars should auto fill.
  3. Select “Utilities” option under the “Payment Type”  bar and select “Make a payment” again. Do not select “schedule a future payment.”
  4. You should be directed to a new page, “Town of Beaufort Utilities,” where you put in the amount of the permit (be sure to fill out both amount boxes) and choose the card type —Credit or Debit. Please note there is a $3.00 fee to use either card and the maximum payment per transaction is $175.00. If your permit costs over that amount, you will need to pay again online until the entire payment is made. Please note—each online payment will be assessed the $3.00 fee. Now select the “Continue” bar.
  5. The next page will be the acceptance of the official terms and conditions and if you agree, select the “Accept” bar.
  6. The next page is “Make a Payment” and you should select the box to “Continue as a Guest” where you will be directed to the Payer Information page. You will fill out the standard credit card information such as address, phone number, email address (very important). Several other lines are on the page and you will need to select an account number. We have been told that this number does not tie to any water account or other number here so you should select four random numbers (not letters). The card information is at the bottom of the page. Now select “continue” and that should conclude this process.
  7. After the payment is made, you will receive a confirmation number (can be by email). Please email the confirmation number to d.graham@beaufortnc.org or call the Planning and Inspections Department at 252-728-2142.  The permit can be released after the confirmation number has been received by the Department  however we do not get receipts until the next business day following the payment date.
  8. Credit or Debit Cards accepted include American Express, Discover, Master Card, Visa.

Please email or call if you have any questions.

I want to build a garage/accessory structure in my backyard how close to my property lines can it be and do I need a building permit?

The height of the structure determines how close you can be to the property lines. If the garage or accessory structure is 16 feet or less in height you are allowed to be within 5 feet from both the side and rear setback (property) lines. However, if your garage or accessory structure is over 16 feet in height, you need to refer to the Land Development Ordinance for the particular zoning district’s setbacks for all structures over sixteen feet in height. You need a building permit if the square footage of the structure is more than 120 square feet.

I just got my insurance premium in the mail and it says my property is in a flood zone. Where can I go to find out what flood zone I am in? Why is this significant?

These are very common questions these days and our planning staff can help you find this information in one of two ways. First, upon receiving your street address, we are able to compare it to flood maps located in Town Hall and provide the appropriate flood zone. Second is by connecting to the State of North Carolina Flood Risk Information System website http://fris.nc.gov/fris. Again, make sure you have the street address as this will be needed to find your flood zone on this site. The significance of being in a flood zone has to do with flood insurance. Because the Town is in good standing with its Community Rating System (CRS), Town properties are given a slight discount on their rates. If the Town did not continue submitting yearly reports for annual re-certification, property owners would lose the insurance discount which would make premiums much higher. Town Planning Staff submit the report annually and currently we are in good standing with the CRS.

What is a rezoning and how can I rezone my property?

Rezoning is a procedure available to property owners or other citizens who are interested in changing the current zoning classification of any property. Rezoning must be handled through a “permitting” process in order to give adjacent property owners the opportunity to express opinions on the proposed zoning change. The Town has applications for rezoning property (found here)  with noted attachments which must be completed and returned with the application. The applications are heard by two of the Town’s boards in their regular meetings for compliance issues. The process for a rezoning is as follows:
  • Submittal/Review Process:
    The process begins when a completed application and description of area to be rezoned is submitted by the appropriate deadline. The application is checked for accuracy by Town Staff.
  • Public Notification Process: 
    The Town has legal requirements set by General Statute to advertise a rezoning request in the local newspaper before the proposed meeting(s). In addition, the Town posts an information sign on the property and sends out notification letters to all property owners within 100 feet of the subject property to inform them of the meeting date(s), public hearing, what property is being considered, and what kind of rezoning request is being made. A map is also enclosed with the letter showing the exact location of the property applying for rezoning. These notification letters are sent prior to both the Planning Board and Town Board of Commissioners meetings.
  • Planning Board Process: 
    The case is first heard before the Town Planning Board. The Planning Board makes a determination of approval or denial to send the project to the Board of Commissioners after hearing recommendations from Town Staff. Town Staff will present information on the surrounding land use(s), the surrounding zoning district(s), what the adopted Land Use Plan recommends as the long range plan for this area, staff’s recommendation for approval or denial, and reasons for such recommendation.
  • Public Hearing & Decision Process: 
    Once the Planning Board makes a determination, the request proceeds to the Town Board of Commissioners who has the final authority to approve or deny the rezoning. The Board of Commissioners will conduct a public hearing where those in favor or opposed to the rezoning will have an opportunity to speak before the Board. The Commissioners discuss the material presented to them either by application, Town Staff, the Planning Board, or testimony given by adjacent property owners to make their final decision.

I want to divide my property but I have been told I may have to have it subdivided. First what is a subdivision and what is the process to do this?

A subdivision is a tract or parcel of land divided into two or more individual lots. Subdivision plan review is necessary to insure the proposed development of the land is consistent with all Federal and State land and water regulations. Subdivision plans are looked at in two phases, preliminary plat (application for preliminary plat here) and final plat (application for final plat here), in order to ensure the developer has considered all necessary items and infrastructure in the proposed development. Subdivisions are not limited to residential uses; in rare situations a commercial subdivision can be developed. The process for submitting a subdivision is as follows:
  • Submittal/Review Process: 
    The process begins when a completed application and a preliminary plan showing the proposed division for a tract of property and its infrastructure improvements (water and sewer lines, parking, sidewalks, etc.) are submitted by the appropriate deadline. The application and proposed division are checked for accuracy by all various Town Departments and Town Staff. Once Town Staff has been satisfied, the plans are forwarded to the Planning Board for consideration.
  • Planning Board Process: 
    The preliminary plan application is first heard by the Town Planning Board. The Planning Board makes a determination for approval or denial to send the project to the Board of Commissioners after hearing recommendations from Town Staff. Town Staff will present information regarding how the proposed preliminary plan meets Town standards as well as provide a recommendation for approval or denial, and the reason(s) for such recommendation.
  • Board of Commissioners Decision Process: 
    Once the Planning Board makes a determination, the preliminary plan will proceed to the Town Board of Commissioners who has the final authority to approve or deny the proposal. The Board of Commissioners will review the information provided by Town Staff and the Planning Board and they discuss the project and render a final decision.

 (The process for a final plat is almost identical except prior to recording the final plat with the County Register of Deeds, all infrastructure must be installed or financially guaranteed.)