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Welcome the Town of Clayton, North Carolina

These are the questions we hear the most.

Each FAQ and answer is general and your question may require more detailed analysis, based on your specific project. If you don't see what you are looking for here, please contact us — we're here to help!

HELPFUL TIP! If you want to meet with a staff person to discuss your application or ask questions, please set up a meeting ahead of time by calling 919-553-5002 or email a staff member. This way you can ensure someone is available to speak with you.

Permitting & Application Processes

How do I get building permits?
What do I need to put a shed, fence, deck, pool, or house addition on my property?
How do I schedule an inspection?
What is a Zoning Compliance Permit and do I need one?
What's the Difference between a Zoning Permit and a Building Permit?
What is the process to renovate or expand an existing commercial building?
What is the process to build a new building in Clayton?
What are the rules for temporary signs?
How are signs regulated?
How much does a permit cost?

Zoning & Land Use

What is zoning?
How do I know what zoning district my property is in?
What is the ETJ or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction?
How do I know if I am in the Town Limits or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)?
How can I find an address for my property?
Do the Town’s zoning regulations apply to me?
What is allowed in each zoning district?
What are my building setbacks?
How do I get a survey of my property?
Where can I put my fence?
Where can I find a zoning or other town map?
Where do I find out about restrictive covenants and other deed restrictions?
Can I subdivide my property?
What is a subdivision?
What signage can I put on my property or my business?

New Businesses

What do I need to do to start or move a business?
What if I want to run my business out of my house?

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn on water, sewer, or electric?
How can I learn more about downtown Clayton?
What events are going on in the Town of Clayton?
What new projects or development is happening in Clayton?
I think my neighbor or someone is violating Town rules. How do I ask about this or report this?
Can I burn trash, etc. on my property?
Where can I find the agendas for upcoming public meetings?
What is a greenway?
What is the population of the Town of Clayton?
What is an easement?
Can I as homeowner do my own construction work?
 

Permitting & Application Process

How do I get building permits?

The Town of Clayton Engineering and Inspections Department is where you can get most Town permits. You can contact Engineering and Inspections at:

Phone: 919-553-5002
Fax: 919-553-1720
Location: 111 East Second Street, Clayton, NC 27520

Often, the first step to getting a Building Permit is a Zoning Compliance Permit to ensure the proposed work meets the requirement of the Unified Development Code. If this is the case, you’ll need to apply for a Zoning Compliance Permit before any building permits can be issued.

Planning Department Permits & Applications

DON’T FORGET!  If applying for both a Zoning Compliance AND a Building Permit, turn in the applications at the same time to the Planning Department. Then, when the Zoning Compliance Permit is approved, staff will pass on the Building Permit application and a copy of your Approval to the Building & Inspections Department. This saves you time!

What do I need to put a shed, fence, deck, pool, or house addition on my property?

First, you must receive a Zoning Permit from the Town of Clayton Planning Department. Failure to receive a Zoning Permit is considered a Zoning Violation and can result in a warning letter and possibly fines, so please don’t forget this step!

The Planning Department will work with you to make sure the project will not encroach into any easements and meets all setback requirements, as well as any other Code requirements. Please contact the Planning Department to begin the process.

How do I schedule an inspection?

The Clayton Engineering and Inspections Department handles inspections. All building inspections other than zoning inspections (site development and landscaping), which are done by the Planning Department, are done by the Engineering and Inspections Department. You can contact Engineering and Inspections at:

Phone: 919-553-5002
Fax: 919-359-9347
Location:111 East Second Street, Clayton, NC 27520

What is a Zoning Compliance Permit and do I need one?

A Zoning Compliance Permit is required for:

  • Most construction projects
  • New businesses or uses
  • New/changed business locations
  • Fences, sheds, pools, and house additions

A Zoning Compliance Permit allows staff to review a request for consistency with the Unified Development Code and ensure that a use is allowed in the location proposed. Contact the Planning Department for more information.

Click here to download application forms.

Click here to access the Unified Development Code.

What's the Difference between a Zoning Permit and a Building Permit?

Most development is regulated under two different codes: the zoning code (Unified Development Code) and the Building Code.  Receiving a Zoning Permit (Zoning Compliance Permit) is generally the first step in the development process, followed by applying for and receiving a Building Permit.

What is the process to renovate or expand an existing commercial building?

Before renovating a building, you should contact the Town of Clayton Engineering and Inspections Department to determine what permits are necessary. To expand a building, you will need to obtain permits and may need to go through the site plan approval process.  To begin the process, please contact the Planning Department at:

Phone: 919-553-5002
Fax: 919-359-1720
Location: 111 East Second Street, Clayton, NC 27520

What is the process to build a new commercial or multi-family building in Clayton?

All new non-residential, multi-family, or mixed use buildings must go through a Major Site Plan review process.  Modifications to existing sites, such as modifying the building size, changing the mix of uses, modifying the parking lot, or even changing up your landscaping can also require Site Plan review.

Your first step is to set up a meeting with staff to discuss the project. To begin the process, please contact the Planning Department at:

Phone: 919-553-5002
Fax: 919-359-1720
Location: 111 East Second Street, Clayton, NC 27520

Development standards are found in the Town’s Unified Development Code.

Click here to access the Planning Department Permits & Applications page, where you will also find a document explaining the review process and a calendar of expected timelines depending the process.

What are the rules for temporary signs?

Temporary signs include banners, flags, balloons and other types of signage which will be used on a temporary basis.  Temporary signs are subject to the rules and regulations of the zoning code (Unified Development Code – see Section 155.403) and require a temporary sign permit.

You can click here for a copy of the application, or contact the Planning Department for more information and assistance.

How are signs regulated?

To help preserve the character of our town by keeping it neat and clean, the Town of Clayton regulates signs through its Sign Ordinance.

The Ordinance allows temporary signs to be placed on properties that are for sale, rent/lease, or where an activity is taking place. Signs placed at other locations, such as those on other properties or street right-of-ways, directing attention to the sale or activity, are not permitted.

All permanent signs and most temporary signs must be approved and permitted by the Town.

The Sign Ordinance can be found in Section 155.403 of the Unified Development Code (UDC).

Click here to view the UDC.  Click here to download an application.

How much does a permit or application cost?

Click here to see the Town’s Comprehensive List of Fees and Charges. Permit and application fees are also shown on each permit application. Click here to access the application forms.

Zoning & Land Use

What is zoning?

Zoning is a device of used by local governments to regulate the use and development of  land for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of its citizens health, safety, morals and general welfare of its citizens.

How do I know what zoning district my property is in?

The Planning Department maintains the town’s Official Zoning Map and can help you determine your zoning district. You can also click here to view the map.

What is the ETJ or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction?

The extraterritorial jurisdiction or ETJ is the land area within a two mile perimeter area around the Town of Clayton corporate limits.  The town enforces land development regulations (buildings and zoning) within the ETJ. Click here to view a map which identifies the town limits and its ETJ.

How do I know if I am in the Town Limits or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)?

Click here to access the Planning Department’s Maps webpage, where you can view a map that shows the Town Limits and ETJ boundaries.

How can I find an address for my property?

If you don’t know the address of your property, contact the Planning Department. We can help you determine the address, or assign one if needed.

Do the Town’s zoning regulations apply to me?

If you are located within town limits or within the Town’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), zoning regulations of the town apply to you. Click here to view a map which identifies the town limits and its ETJ.

What is allowed in each zoning district?

First determine your Zoning District by viewing the Town’s Official Zoning Map, or by contacting the Planning Department. Then, visit Section 155.202 of the UDC, “Permitted Land Uses,” for details on uses permitted on that property.  For a definition of each type of use in the chart, and some additional standards, go to Section 155.300 of the UDC, “Use Interpretation”.

You can view the UDC by clicking here, or you can contact the Planning Department for help determining allowed uses.

Remember that before building or placing a new use on the property, you must receive the appropriate permits and approvals. Contact the Planning Department to discuss this process.

What are my building setbacks?

Building setbacks are based on your Zoning District and sometimes, on what subdivision you are located in or whether or not you are in an Overlay District. It is recommended that you contact the Planning Department to determine your setback requirements.

How do I get a survey of my property?

You will have to hire a private surveyor. The Town of Clayton does not provide property surveys. Any information provided by the Town or Johnston County, including GIS information, is intended for reference purposes only.

Where can I put my fence?

First, you will need to get a zoning permit (zoning compliance permit) from the Town of Clayton Planning Department.

Planning Department staff will help you determine the location for your fence and make sure you do not encroach into any easements or buffer areas. If a fence is built on an easement or buffer area, the person or people deeded use of the easement or buffer may remove the fence at their own discretion.

Also, if you build a fence on the property line, it becomes shared property between you and your neighbor(s). Please note that unless you have recently had your property surveyed, your estimate of the location of the property line may be off by a few inches.

Not every type of fence material is permitted – talk with staff to confirm that the type of fencing you want to put up, and the desired height and location, is permitted.

Where can I find a zoning or other Town map?

The Planning Department is responsible for most town maps. Please visit the department's map gallery here for a complete list of maps available to download.

Where do I find out about restrictive covenants and other deed restrictions?

These types of restrictions are a civil matter and do not involve the town. You should check the deed of the property in question for information on restrictions. Any further questions should be directed to your attorney.

Can I subdivide my property?

Depending on the size of your property and the zoning district your property is located in, you may be able to subdivide your property.  Since subdividing a property can be a complicated process, please contact the Planning Department for more information and assistance.

What is a subdivision?

A subdivision occurs when a parcel of land is divided from a larger area. The purpose of a subdivision is to split a large tract of land into smaller ones that are easier to develop and can be developed independently of one another to increase growth and maximize the use of space.

What signage can I put on my property or my business?

All signs are subject to the rules and regulations of the zoning code (Unified Development Code) and require a sign permit. You can click here for a copy of the application which includes the formula for calculating the amount of signage you can have.

You can also contact the Planning Department for help in determining the signage that will be permitted on your property or business.

New Businesses

What do I need to do to start or move a business?

Your first step is to contact the Town of Clayton Planning Department to determine what your process will be.  We are excited to have your business in Clayton and look forward to helping you navigate the process.

What if I want to run my business out of my house?

Running a business from your home is called a home occupation which is regulated by the Town of Clayton. Since there are different types of home occupations, please contact the Planning Department to determine the process you will need to follow.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn on water, sewer, or electric?

The Customer Service Department can help you establish utilities if you are a customer of the town. Click here for more information on utility services.

How can I learn more about downtown Clayton?

Click here to learn more about downtown Clayton.

What events are going on in the Town of Clayton?

Click here to see the exciting things happening in Town.

What new projects or development is happening in Clayton?

Click here to see what new projects and development is happening around town.

I think my neighbor or someone is violating Town rules. How do I ask about this or report this?

If you think someone is violating the rules of the town, you can contact the Code Enforcement Division of the Planning Department at 919-553-5002 or click here for more information on code enforcement violations.

Can I burn trash, etc… on my property?

If you are located within the Town of Clayton or within the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction, you cannot openly burn trash, etc… For more information contact the Fire Marshall at 919-553-1520.

Where can I find the agendas for upcoming public meetings?

Click here to link to the agendas/minutes for upcoming meetings for Town Council, the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment.

What is a greenway?

A greenway is a linear park, a non-motorized transportation route, or an open space conservation area that provides passive recreational activities, pedestrian trails, and/or bicycle trails. Greenways connect residential areas with public parks, public libraries, and other destination points.

What is the population of the Town of Clayton?

Click here to learn more about the population of the town and other interesting facts.

What is an easement?

An easement is the right to use property owned by another individual for specific purposes or to gain access to another property. Easements may be used for the construction of utilities, roadways, greenways or conservation areas.

Can I as homeowner do my own construction work?

In most cases NC State laws pertaining to contractors allow homeowners to obtain permits and perform construction work on their personal home. Please contact Engineering and Inspections for more detailed information.

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