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Permits FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

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1. General
1. What are the guidelines and information regarding the construction of backyard swimming pools and related fencing requirements?
2. What are the guidelines and information on constructing a fence on my residential property?
3. Does the County maintain records of the construction plans for my house and a location survey of the improvements on my lot?
4. What are the requirements to build a playhouse or a swing set for children on our lot?


Questions
Q: What are the guidelines and information regarding the construction of backyard swimming pools and related fencing requirements?
A: Both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools are considered accessory structures and must be located on a lot with a residential dwelling. The pool can be located only in the side or rear yard. A building permit is required and the setback distance from each property line depends on the zoning classification of the site. A deck is considered part of the structure and must meet these setbacks if it is higher than 6 inches above grade. If the property is located in the Critical Area, the pool is calculated as new impervious coverage and the total of all such coverage must not exceed the required limitations. All swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence complying with Appendix G-105 of the 2003 International Residential Code with no exceptions. In general this requires a four-foot fence with a self-latching gate.
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Q: What are the guidelines and information on constructing a fence on my residential property?
A: A building permit is required to construct a new fence or to replace an existing fence that is taller than 6 feet or on a corner lot or waterfront property. The fence should be located WITHIN the property line (no specific distance requirement). Generally there is no height limitation on a fence, unless the subject property is either a corner or waterfront lot.

Fences on waterfront lots are reviewed for impacts of air, light and view of adjacent waterfront properties. Non-waterfront lots are not guaranteed a water view and are not included in this review.
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Q: Does the County maintain records of the construction plans for my house and a location survey of the improvements on my lot?
A: The only way to obtain this information is by retrieving a building permit file. The records retention system stores building permit files for 3 years from the date of completion of the permit at an off-site location. A completed Request For Information form must be submitted to the appropriate section(s).
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Q: What are the requirements to build a playhouse or a swing set for children on our lot?
A: It depends on how elaborate a structure you are proposing. A rule of thumb is that if the project requires footings, or is larger than 64 sq. ft, a building permit is necessary. This will ensure that it is constructed in a safe and sound manner, based on plan review and inspections. A building permit will also require a site plan (a drawing showing the dimensions of your lot, including all existing structures and the location of the proposed construction). Indicate on this site plan the distance from the new construction to each lot line. Generally, it should be located a minimum of 10 feet from the side and rear property lines. There could be some variation on this, depending on the zoning classification. Even if a permit is not technically required (no footings), you should locate the structure in accordance with proper setbacks.
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