Planning & Inspections | F.A.Q.s

Frequently Asked Questions | Click the question to reveal the answer

FAQs | Zoning

What is a Special Use?

Special uses add flexibility to the Unified Development Ordinance by permitting potentially undesirable uses of property in specified districts when certain criteria (see below) are met. An “S” in the Table of Permissible Uses indicates a Special Use in the specified district. When considering a request for a Special Use Permit, the Board of Adjustment may impose reasonable and appropriate conditions upon these permits. Applicants are advised to discuss any application for a Special Use Permit with Staff prior to submittal. 

Special Use Criteria

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

Morehead City has two classifications of home occupations. Type A home occupations are those where residents use their home as a place of work; however, no employees or customers come to the site. Type B home occupations are those where residents use their home as a place of work and either one employee or customers come to the site. A special use permit is required prior to establishing a Type B home occupation. 

What is a variance?

The variance process is a method of enabling property owners to make use of their property in a way that conflicts with the literal interpretation of the ordinance. More specifically, a variance grants relief from the Unified Development Ordinance. Use variances are not permitted under North Carolina state law. The Board of Adjustment makes its decision to approve or deny a variance request based upon specific criteria (see below). Applicants are advised to discuss any variance application with staff prior to submittal. 

 

Variance_Criteria

How can I tell if a use is allowed on my property?

Morehead City is divided into zoning districts. These districts have both permitted uses that are allowed by right and other uses that are allowed as special uses. The Table of Permissible Uses is contained in the Unified Development Ordinance. 

How do I submit a request for a variance or special use permit?

Submit a Board of Adjustment Application with the applicable filing fee. You may also be required to submit a site plan and other additional information. Contact the Planning and Inspections Department for additional information. 

Can I speak with Board of Adjustment members about my case prior to the hearing?

No. Hearings are conducted in a quasi-judicial manner, and members may not speak about cases prior to the hearing. You may, however, receive assistance from staff or seek professional legal advice, if you wish. 

FAQs | Inspections

Is a permit required for my project?

Permits are required for most building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing projects, fences, and certain types of signs. Even if no building permit is required, a zoning permit may be required. Contact our office to determine whether or not you need to apply for a permit.

What is the minimum housing code?

The Minimum Housing Standards ordinance regulates properties that are deteriorated or dilapidated and unfit for habitation. The intent of the program is to ensure that the city’s housing is safe for those living there. Property owners are given notice and specific time frames to make necessary repairs. A citizen may file a complaint by submitting a Citizen Complaint Form

Is my property located in a flood zone?

You can contact staff or go to the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping System site to determine whether your property is located in a flood zone.

How can I pay for permit fees?

In-Person:

Staff can receive both cash and check in-person. In order to pay with a credit card, it is necessary to utilize either the telephone or online payment method.

 

Online:

Instructions:

  • Go to Official Payments.
  • Click on “Local Payments”; Enter Jurisdiction Code 4391; Payment Type = Building and Planning Permits; Click “Make a Payment” and continue to follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Obtain the permit number from the online Permitting Updates or contact staff. When you enter the permit number, do not enter dashes, dots, etc.
  • Email the confirmation number and permit number/site address to jeannie.drake@moreheadcitync.org to ensure payment is properly credited.

Notes when paying online:

  • There is a cap of $300.00 per transaction. If the permit cost exceeds $300.00, the process must be completed multiple times.
  • There is a processing fee of $4.95 per transaction.
  • You may still be required to pick up your permit in person, regardless of whether or not you have paid your fees online.

 

Telephone: 

Instructions:

  • Obtain the permit number from the online Permitting Updates or contact staff.
  • Call Official Payments at (888) 272-9829.
  • Select Option 3, “Other Payments”.
  • Enter Jurisdiction Code 4391; Press 1 to accept.
  • Select Payment Type; Select Option 4 for Permits.
  • Follow prompts.
  • Write or print confirmation information. Email (jeannie.drake@moreheadcitync.org) or call (252-726-6848 x125) staff and provide the confirmation number and permit number/site address in order to ensure the payment is properly credited.  

Notes when paying by telephone:

  • There is a payment transaction fee of $4.95 in addition to a service fee of $1.50.
  • The above fees will be charged each time a transaction is completed.
  • You may still be required to pick up your permit in person, regardless of whether or not you have paid your fees by telephone.

What inspections will be required for my project?

A list of required inspections is available here. Please feel free to contact staff if you should require additional information. 

FAQs | Planning

What is a subdivision exemption?

Subdivision exemptions include recombination plats, divisions of parcels greater than 10 acres with no street right-of-way dedication, public acquisition of land for streets or transportation corridors, and the division of tracts not greater than two acres into three lots or less where the resultant lots meet or exceed the standards of the Town of Morehead City. There is no fee for staff review of subdivision exemption plats. 

 

What is a minor subdivision?

A minor subdivision is defined as the division of 5 acres or less into 5 or fewer lots and which creates no new public or private streets or roads, no right-of-way dedication, and no new easements except for electrical, drainage, cable, or telephone easements, and no utility extensions. 

 

What is a major subdivision?

A major subdivision is any division of land that does not fall under the classification of minor subdivision or subdivision exemption. Major subdivisions are reviewed by the Planning Board and Council in a multiple step process.  

How do I submit a request to rezone my property?

A complete Rezoning Application, land use consistency statement, filing fee, and advertising deposit are required for submittal of a rezoning request. Additional items are required for conditional-use and planned development rezoning requests.

What is a rezoning?

Rezoning is a method of changing the zoning classification of a property to a different zoning classification. For example, residentially-zoned property may need to be rezoned in order to permit commercial activity. The types of uses allowed in each zoning classification are listed in the Table of Permissible Uses. The City Council decides whether a property should be rezoned based upon recommendation by the Planning Board, surrounding zoning and land use, and consistency with the City’s Land Use Plan.

Prior to the public meeting and public hearing, each property proposed for rezoning is posted with a zoning hearing sign, a legal advertisement is published in the Carteret County News-Times, a property owners within 300′ of the site are notified of the rezoning by mail. 

In the event a rezoning request is denied, a minimum six-month period must elapse prior to submittal of another rezoning application for the same property.

Can I develop my property as a multifamily development?

Multifamily developments are permitted in the Residential Multifamily (RMF) and Planned Development (PD) districts and in the Residential (R5) district as a Special Use provided they are developed in accordance with the standards of the Unified Development Ordinance, particularly those found under Article 13-2. Planned Developments are also required to meet the specifications contained under Article 12-1

 

What is an ordinance amendment?

An ordinance amendment is a change to the adopted text contained in the Unified Development Ordinance. Amendments may be initiated by the City Council, the Planning Board, the Board of Adjustment, the Planning Committee, City Staff, or an individual. An example includes pursuit of an amendment to change the permitted uses allowed in a particular zoning district. An ordinance amendment application includes a letter, a description of the ordinance section(s) to be changed, a filing fee, and a deposit on advertising. 

Is my property located in a flood zone?

You can contact staff or go to the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping System site to determine whether your property is located in a flood zone.