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Zoning Enforcement Questions

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What constitutes a land use violation?

Any use upon lands where a specific ordinance prohibits certain uses within that district and has not received prior approval from the Planning Department.

How many notices are given to violators of a land use violation?

A notice of violation letter is sent to the violator and they are given 30 days from the date of receipt to respond or comply. If at that time nothing has been done, a warning citation is sent giving approximately 15 days from the date of the notice for compliance to be met. If compliance still has not been met, a citation with the corresponding civil penalty is sent. This must be paid and compliance met within 15 days from the date of the citation. Failure to comply at this juncture, subjects the violator to a daily accrual civil penalty and issuance of a criminal summons to appear in court.

Can complaints be made anonymously?

Yes, they can

Are violation files open to the public?

Yes and they are made available within a reasonable time period.

How much area can someone have on their property of junked vehicles and/or materials and not be in violation?

The ordinance allows for a maximum of 600 square feet. This would be equivalent to about 5-6 vehicles with no other materials present on the property.

Is local zoning permitted to enforce private covenants?


Are mobile homes included as “junk” vehicles or materials?


How would I know if a possible land use situation violates the junkyard ordinance or the solid waste illegal dumping ordinance?

If there is a parcel of land where someone has placed solid waste materials such as land clearing debris or construction materials, household trash, tires, batteries, appliances, etc., then the Chatham County Waste Management Office may be contacted for an illegal dumping case. The two ordinances closely resemble each other and sometimes do overlap and require both agencies be involved.

How can I reach the illegal dumping hotline?

The number is 919-542-0502 and the information may be given anonymously.