Planning, Zoning & Permitting


The Planning, Zoning and Permitting staff assist with development-related needs within the Town of Carthage corporate limits and extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) to ensure compliance with the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Functions also include preparation of land use and other plans, processing land use applications and UDO amendments, and providing support to the Board of Commissioners and Planning Board. This department also issues zoning-only permits which are required prior to seeking building permits at the Moore County Planning and Inspections Department.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a "zoning permit"?

A "zoning" permit is a type of permit that controls how land may be developed or what uses can be conducted on a property. The Town of Carthage is responsible for issuing zoning permits while the Moore County Planning and Inspections Department is responsible for issues building permits for projects with Carthage.


What is the difference between a zoning permit and a building permit?

Depending on the project, you may required to get a zoning permit before you may apply for a building permit. Not all projects will require a building permit, but most projects will require a zoning permit. It is always a good idea to call Town Hall and check to see if your project will need zoning permit approval prior to installation. Taking just a few minutes to call can prevent the inconvenience of receiving stop work orders or zoning code violations.


Do I have to get a zoning permit to build a fence, deck or other similar structures?

Yes. Accessory structures, such as fences, will require zoning permits. Other types of structures that will require zoning permits are: Sheds, carports, garages, decks, patios, barns, porches, swimming pools, walls, etc. Zoning permits are required for these structures because the Town of Carthage has ordinances that regulate a vary of factors such as height, size and materials used. There are also property line setbacks required for some structures (although not all). 

Additionally, some projects may require building permits to ensure that your structure meets North Carolina building code. To avoid undue hardship or inconvenience, we recommend that you check with both the Town of Carthage and the Moore County Planning and Inspections Department to be sure your project has all of the necessary permits to avoid stop work orders or zoning code violations. 


Do you have rules on how close my project can be to the property line?

For most structures, yes, the Town of Carthage does govern how close a project can be "set back" from the property line. However, not all structures have the same requirements. If you are building a shed, your setback requirements may be different from the setback requirements for your fence. 

Important Note: It is not the Town's responsibility to make sure that your project does not encroach onto neighboring properties. When you are issued a permit, your required setbacks will be listed and it is up to you to know where your property lines are. Any disputes regarding property lines are considered a civil matter and should be discussed with your neighbor, an attorney or other appropriate professional.


Where do I find information for my project?

The Town of Carthage Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is where you can find all of the information you need to understand what zoning rules apply to your particular project. We've also pulled some excerpts from the UDO of the most requested information based on questions/calls we receive regularly; you may find them here. If you cannot find what you are looking for, or if you need help understanding what you've read, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be happy to help!


I want to open a business in Carthage. What permits are required?

It depends on the particular type of business you want to operate. Most businesses will require a zoning permit and a business registration. Not all businesses are allowed in every zoning district in Carthage. For example, manufacturing is not allowed in the Central Business District just like houses are not allowed in the Industrial District. It is important to understand the zoning rules of the area in which you want to operate your business before buying or leasing your space.

What if I want to open a business in my home?

The Town of Carthage does regulate certain types of home occupations and how much of a property can be used for the home-based business. Therefore, you will likely need a zoning permit and a business registration. Best to call Town Hall before getting started.


How much does a permit cost?

Permit fees will vary by project. To view the Town's current adopted fee schedule please click here.