Fence Rules

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No Permit Required

Most fences on residential lots do not require a permit:

  • Fences may be 8’ or less and can go up to the property line.
  • The fence must remain on your property. (The back of the curb or sidewalk is not the property line.)
  • Fences are not allowed in sewer & utility easements, stormwater access easements, sight distances easements, and some buffers. 

Look on your survey or hire a surveyor to mark your property lines if you cannot locate them.  If you are unsure about easements or buffers on your lot email susan.hickman@townofcary.org or call Susan Hickman 919-462-2009.  

Permit Required

 A fence permit is required for new or substantially rebuilt fences adjacent to a thoroughfare or collector street right(s)-of way:

  • Fences taller than 42 inches and located within 30 feet of a thoroughfare or collector street right -of -way.  You will need to obtain a fence permit before the fence is installed.
  • Evergreen shrubs need to be placed an average of every five feet of fence frontage for fences 42 inches tall.
  • Evergreen shrubs must be at least 24 inches tall at installation.

See a town-wide list of thoroughfares and collector streets to determine if your property requires a permit.  This map is subject to change. 

Fence regulations for aesthetics and motorist safety are included in the Land Development Ordinance. The standards apply to fences erected after 1995 that are on a thoroughfare or collector streets.

Pool Barrier Fences

Fences used to provide safety around a swimming pool must be permitted with the pool building permit. If you are planning to install a pool in the future, you may want your fence to meet the requirements. See our Residential Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs for pool barrier information.


If you have questions about fence regulations and how to comply, please call Planning and Development Services at 311 or 919-469-4000 or email 311@townofcary.org