Community Development FAQs

The following is a list of questions that are frequently asked. We will continue to update this list as questions are received. If you have a specific question that you would like answered, please e-mail us at and reference “Community Development” in the subject.

What kind of activities require a building permit?

Most construction activities, including the installation/construction of accessory structures, swimming pools, hot tubs and HVAC units (new or replacement) require a building or individual trade permit from the Town of Duck.

What do I need to submit with my building permit application?

You will likely need a survey showing your plan of development and all existing improvements on the property, a $5,000.00 surety bond, a workers’ compensation affidavit, a copy of your contractors license, lien assignment, if applicable, Dare County Health Department approval (on both your survey and building plans), CAMA permit, if applicable, and a vegetation management plan (new, as of June 2007), if applicable.

What is Duck’s lot coverage limit for residential properties?

The Town generally limits lot coverage to 30%; however some smaller lots recorded prior to 11/20/1975 allow for greater lot coverage while some subdivisions limit lot coverage to less than 30%. Lot coverage may be increased to 35% provided that stormwater improvements meeting the specified criteria have been met.

What are Duck’s zoning requirements other than parking and lot coverage?

The Town’s zoning regulations govern building use, height, size, proximity to property lines, fill and grading, and vegetation and tree removal. To confirm the requirements for your property, you should refer to the zoning ordinance for the Town of Duck, or you can also refer to our Information and Procedural Guidelines for additional assistance.

How do I know how many parking spaces I need when building a new home or remodeling/adding to an existing home?

The parking standard for the Town of Duck is the Health Department occupancy divided by 2; so if you have a 5 bedroom house that sleeps 12, based upon your approved septic capacity, then you would need 6 parking spaces. These parking spaces need to measure 9×18 and you may stack outside the required 12′ wide drive aisle. All required parking spaces outside of the drive aisle and aside from under the house, shall be graded and improved with loose stone surface (gravel), porous pavers, or other similar semi-permeable materials. Loose stone surface shall be bordered in a manner which retains the stone in the parking area.

Do I need a permit to install a concrete driveway in place of my gravel driveway?

You will need a Land Disturbance Permit and possibly a vegetation management plan (new, as of June 2007).

Do I need a permit to build a residential detached garage or storage building?

If any dimension of the structure is over 12 feet, you will need a building permit. If no dimensions are over 12 feet, you will not need a building permit, however you will need a Land Disturbance permit to assure compliance with setbacks and lot coverage.

Do I need a permit to renovate an existing structure?

You will need a building permit if the project cost exceeds $20,000.00 or if any of the work being performed is structural in nature. Other trade permits for electrical, plumbing or mechanical work may be required as well.

What happens if I start work on a project without obtaining the necessary or required permits?

A Stop Work Order may be issued. You will be required to obtain a permit and your fees will be doubled.

What kind of activities require a Land Disturbance permit?

A Land Disturbance permit is typically required for new driveway installation or conversion of a driveway from gravel to concrete or vice versa; new or replacement septic systems; placement of pre-built storage sheds; playhouses or underground propane tanks on the property; landscaping projects that involve machine grading or filling of the property; including installation of irrigation systems; any projects that add fill dirt or gravel or concrete areas; patios; walkways; ground-level decks and similar site features that cover or disturb the land.

Do I need a permit to re-roof or reside a single family dwelling?

You will need a building permit if the cost of the project will exceed $15,000.00.

What is the difference between zoning and covenants?

Zoning rules are enforced by the Town while covenants are enforced by individual property owner associations. Permittees should always research both and abide by the strictest set of standards.