Building & Planning

The Building and Planning Departments are actually two separate departments that often work hand-in-hand.

The Building Department consists of a Building Official / Zoning Administrator and a Codes Enforcement Inspector.

The Planning Department consists of a City Planner and a Grants Writer.

Permits & Inspections

  1. The purpose of the Building Department is to provide for the public safety, health, and welfare of the community by the enforcement of the requirements specified in building codes and other related codes by conducting plan reviews and on-site inspections 
  2. A Building Permit is required for the demolition, moving, repair, enlargement, or new construction of any structure, house, or commercial building. Some types of painting, flooring, and finish work may be exempt from a building permit. No grading or excavation shall begin until the required permits have been obtained. Furthermore, no building, structure, or land shall be used or occupied until an Occupancy Permit has been obtained. Except for small repairs, re-roofing, etc. drawings are required to be approved prior to the issuance of a Building Permit. Building Permits are usually issued to a contractor properly licensed by the state; however, the building permit may be issued to the owner of a house if he signs an affidavit and complies with other requirements of state law. Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work require separate additional permits and must be obtained by a craftsman with a minimum of a journeyman license and other licenses as required by state law.
    1. Developments within the Flood Plain are required to comply with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance Chapter 152 prior to issuance of a building permit.  
    2. Properties located within the Historic Overlay District must meet the requirements of Historic Landmarks Chapter 158 prior to issuance of a building permit.  
  3. The costs of permits vary and are based on the cost of the work involved.
  4. All contractors and subcontractors are required to obtain a City Business License.
  5. The prime contractor who obtains the permit is responsible for contacting the Department and scheduling the necessary inspections. Twenty-four (24) hour notice is required. Inspections include, but are not limited to the following:
    Footings and Setbacks
    Foundation wall and floor joists before sub floor
    Rough – In electrical, plumbing and mechanical before insulation
    Contractor Permanent Power
    Others as necessary
  6. A Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained from the Building Department prior to occupying the building.

The Planning Department is primarily responsible for working with property owners to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and Land Development Regulations, periodically reviewing these regulations and recommending revisions, and providing staff for the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.  The department also works with property owners that are interested in rezoning property or having their property annexed into the city.  The Building Official / Zoning Administrator is responsible for the enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.

A permit is required for the following activities:

  • Land development projects
  • Sign installation, replacement or repair
  • Awning installation, replacement or repair
  • Painting the exterior of a commercial building
  • Bed & Breakfast Inn
  • Home occupancy
  • Fence installation
  • Construction of accessory structure
  • Tree removal (only in downtown residential area)

Subdivisions are approved by either the City Planner or Planning Commission depending on the number of new lots and the location of the property.  Any request for a subdivision including more than five lots, located in the Camden National Register Historic District, Kendall Mill National Register Historic District, or designated as a Historic Property by City Council must be approved by the Planning Commission.  

Plats for recording are approved by the City Planner.  Plats must meet the requirements for final plats in Section 156.33 of the Land Development Regulations.

Requests for rezoning must be submitted to the City Planner at least 21 calendar days prior to the date of a Planning Commission meeting to be considered at that meeting.  The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing and recommend approval or denial of the request. City Council then will consider the recommendation and approve or deny the request.  

Variances and appeals are decided by the Board of Zoning Appeals.  The board meets on an as-needed basis. Applications must be submitted to the City Planner, who will coordinate with the board chairman to schedule a hearing.  Decisions of the board may only be appealed to Circuit Court.

A variance is a request for relief from a requirement in the Zoning Ordinance, such as a setback or building height requirements.  The request must meet strict standards for unnecessary hardship as described in state law.  

A decision of the Zoning Administrator may be appealed to the board. An application for an appeal must be submitted to the City Planner within 30 days from the date the applicant is notified of the Zoning Administrator's decision.  

An approved permit is required for the following activities within the city:

  • Rezoning
  • Land development projects
  • Subdivision of lots or parcels
  • Plat approval
  • Tree removal
  • Sign installation / replacement / repair
  • Awning installation / replacement / repair
  • Painting of the exterior of a commercial building
  • Occupancy permit (to occupy building / site or change its use)
  • Bed and breakfast inns
  • Home occupancy
  • Fence installation
  • Accessory structures / uses
  • Landscaping and buffers
  • Acceptance of Historic Landmark status (approvals issued by Historic Landmark Commission)
  • Variances
  • Appeals
  • Others as specified by Zoning Ordinance, Land Development Regulations, etc.

Forms & Downloads

Camden Design Guidelines Adopted November 2014 (pdf)

Citizens Planning College 2014-1015 Application (pdf)

City Limits (pdf)

Comprehensive Plan Maps (pdf)

Zoning Maps (pdf)

Rezoning Application (pdf)

Subdivision Application (pdf)

Land Development Application (pdf)

Variance Application (pdf)

Appeal Application (pdf)

Permit Application for Outdoor Cafe (pdf) 

Map of Camden Historic Properties (pdf)