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Frequently Asked Questions

Town Hall

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What are Spencer Town Hall's hours of operation?

Spencer Town Hall is open 8:30am–5:00pm, Monday-Friday, except holidays.

Where is Spencer Town Hall located?

Spencer Town Hall is located at:

460 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC 28159

Property & Permitting

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I would like to install a new fence on my property. Do I need a permit and what is the process?

Yes, you will need to apply for a zoning permit and there is a small $5 application fee. When proposing a new fence, you will need to contact the Planning & Zoning Administrator to check the Town’s standards on height, location, and fence type. If you live in Spencer’s Historic District, additional standards may apply. Typically, you will need to submit the following information for the Town prior to any fence project: the height of the fence; the location of the fence (front, side, and/or rear yard); type of fence (privacy, picket, chain link); and a sketch site plan showing the proposed location of the fence, with accurate dimensions and to approximate scale. The Town’s fence standards are available online in the Spencer Development Ordinance (SDO).

I’m interested in purchasing property and I need to know what I can do with it. How can I check the zoning and permitted uses?

There are several ways to check the zoning of a property. First, you can check the Town’s Official Zoning Map, which is available on this website. This map shows the zoning classification of every parcel within Spencer’s planning jurisdiction, which includes the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Second, you can use the online Rowan County GIS Mapping Tool, available at gis.rowancountync.gov/gismaps/. Finally, you can simply contact the Planning & Zoning Administrator for assistance. Once you know the zoning district, you can check the Table of Uses to determine what is allowed in the district. The table is available on this website on the Spencer Development Ordinance (SDO) page.

How do I use Rowan County’s GIS Mapping Tool to check a property’s zoning?

You can use the Search tab to search by property address or parcel ID. Then, you can navigate to the Layers tab and turn on the Zoning layer by checking the box. The zoning classification of the property will be shown on the map and in the property results.

Do I need a zoning permit for a project in the ETJ?

Yes, the Town of Spencer’s planning and development regulation jurisdiction includes any and all parcels in the extraterritorial jurisdiction as depicted on the Town’s Official Zoning Map. In almost all cases except for nuisance enforcement, the regulations in the ETJ are identical to those which apply within the corporate limits. This includes all subdivision, zoning, and development regulations and permitting processes.

I want to subdivide a tract of land. Does the Town need to review the plan?

Yes, the Town reviews all divisions of land, including exempt division of land, prior to recordation with Rowan County. For exempt divisions of land, the Planning & Zoning Administrator will sign a plat only if it conveys sufficient information to ensure proper legal description, identification, monumentation and recordation of real estate boundaries, and if it meets all of the Town’s applicable subdivision standards. The Town’s subdivision standards are available online in the Spencer Development Ordinance (SDO).

I’m looking to buy a property, but it’s not zoned for what I want to use it for. What do I do?

The Spencer Development Ordinance establishes the process for rezoning a property. The rezoning process requires a legislative public hearing before the Board of Aldermen, after review and recommendation by the Planning Board. There are a variety of procedural steps required as part of this process, which can be read in the ordinance. Typically, rezoning requests are approved, provided they are consistent with the Town’s Future Land Use Plan and if the request is consistent with the goals and priorities of the governing board.

I want to develop a property. Can you tell me if water and sewer is available?

Please contact Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, the regional water-sewer utilities provider, to check availability.

Is my property in the Historic District?

To check if your property is located in Spencer’s Historic District, check the Historic District Map on this website. You can also contact the Planning & Zoning Administrator for assistance.

My property is in the Historic District. Does that mean I can’t do anything to my home?

No! The Town’s preservation planner will work closely with you to ensure you can accomplish all of your home improvement goals, while still maintaining the historic and architectural integrity of the property and the neighborhood. The Town takes a reasonable and customer-friendly approach to historic preservation. Staff will provide advice and guidance throughout the entire project planning process, whether you want to replace the roof, construct a new addition, or build a new shed or garage on your property. The Town rarely denies permits for work in historic districts, but instead works with homeowners to make sure the project is right for the home and the neighborhood.

Does the Town issue business licenses and register new businesses?

No, the Town of Spencer does not issue business licenses or register new businesses. Business licensing and registration are handled by the State of North Carolina. For more information, visit nc.gov/services/starting-business-nc.

Fire Department

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Does the Spencer Fire Department fill up swimming pools?

We do not provide this service so we can keep resources as available as possible for truly life-threatening emergencies. Filling up a swimming pool would require a lot of time and dumping several loads of water. In addition, fire truck tank water is generally not as clean as you would like for swimming.

Does the Spencer Fire Department rent the training room for public use?

Events must be approved by the Fire Chief; however, events not approved include birthday parties, dinners, or similar type events.

When I call 911 and ask for an ambulance, why does the Spencer Fire Department come, too?

The Spencer Fire Department has many trained Emergency Medical Technicians that are certified through the State of North Carolina, and we respond to medical emergencies within our fire district.  So, when you call for an ambulance, the 9-1-1 center dispatches our first responders along with Rowan EMS.  This is of incredible value to our community because we are much closer than Rowan EMS, which responds out of downtown Salisbury.

How do I obtain a copy of a fire incident report?

Contact Chief Lanning or come by the Fire Station Monday through Friday between 8 am to 4 pm and schedule a time to pick it up. Please allow adequate time for us to prepare the report and make copies.

Does the Spencer Fire Department offer CPR and/or First-Aid classes to the public?

The Spencer Fire Department has a training room that we use for training and meetings. There is usually at least one class held each year at our department for our members. However, if you would like to request that a class be taught in our community, please contact the fire station at 704.637.6135 for more information.

Does the Spencer Fire Department install smoke detectors?

Yes. The Spencer Fire Department will gladly assist those members in our community who are elderly or physically unable to install a smoke detector. And in some cases, we can provide the smoke detector at no cost. However, the department only provides smoke detectors on an as-needed basis. We have a limited number of detectors that are reserved for those who are financially unable to purchase one.

A new smoke detector costs around $20 for a basic model. Your local hardware or retail store will probably have some in stock. If you need some assistance in installing it once purchased, the fire department will gladly assist you. Also, remember that every new smoke detector comes with directions and a diagram that illustrates the proper placement, so if you choose to install it yourself, review this information first.

Remember to test your smoke detector monthly and to change your batteries when you change your clock during Daylight Saving Time.

Police Department

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How do I know if I need to call 911?

To request the services of the Police Department or Fire Department, please call 911. This allows the information to be recorded and creates an electronic record of your service request.

Police officers are not generally in the office and can be reached through communications.

I had an incident happen at my home/business, and I need a report for insurance purposes. How do I get a copy of that report?

If you need an incident report for an incident that happened in which you are involved, you may obtain that report by calling 704-633-3574 (choose option 1) to make sure the report is complete. If the report is ready, you may pick it up in person at the Spencer Police Department from 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday thru Friday.

I was involved in an automobile accident, and I would like to obtain a copy of that report. How do I get a copy of that report?

You may obtain a copy of an accident report by calling 704-633-3574 (choose option 1) to make sure the report is complete. If the report is ready, you may pick it up in person at the Spencer Police Department from 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday thru Friday.

I am going to be out of town on vacation, and I would like to have my house checked until I return. Is this possible?

Security Check Forms are available at Town Hall if you are going to be out of town and would like for the Spencer Police Department to check on your home until you return.

Parks & Recreation

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Where are parks and other recreational facilities?

Spencer has a variety of parks, trails, and other amenities ranging from small playgrounds to the expansive Stanback Educational Forest. Find out more on our Parks & Recreation page.

Are youth sports available?

Spencer is home to Rowan County’s oldest baseball and softball league.

Find out more at spencercalripken.com

Public Works

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What are the Spencer Public Works facility hours?

The Spencer Public Works facility is open for recycling drop off weekdays 7:00am-3:30pm and 9:00am-noon on the first and third Saturday of each month. You may also call Spencer Town Hall for assistance weekdays from 8:30am-5:00pm.

How do I report a street, sidewalk, or drainage issue?

Report an issue through our iWorQ Citizen Portal or contact the Spencer Public Works Department at 704-633-5331. You can also use TextMyGov through the widget at the bottom left of your screen or directly from your phone by texting “Hi” to 704-870-0720.

There is a street light out on my street. Who do I report this to for repair?

Street light outages may be reported to Duke Energy at 1-800-POWERON (1.800.769.3766). You may also report online: Duke Energy Street Light Repair.

How do I find out what day trash is collected?

Please see our collection area map for more information.

Does all my trash have to fit in my cart?

It is best for all of the trash to fit into the cart, which helps keep routes running efficiently and safely. On occasion, an extra bag on top of a cart may be collected.

Can I have a second cart?

A resident is allowed a second cart, without an additional collection charge. You may purchase an extra cart from the Town or get it from another source, as long as it has wheels, a lid, and a metal tipper bar located in the front of the cart.

Is recycling available?

The town maintains a recycling center at the Sowers Ferry Public Works Building. Site hours are 7:00am-3:30pm, Monday through Friday and 9:00am-noon on the first and third Saturday of each month. You may also visit one of the Rowan County convenience centers.

How are limbs, grass, leaves, or other yard waste collected?

Limbs and bagged yard waste (grass and leaves) are collected on a weekly basis on your regular collection day. In addition, loose-leaf collection is available during select times during Oct. 1-Dec. 31, and March 15-April 15. During these dates, leaves and loose material do not need to be bagged for pick up. All other times of year, these items need to be bagged for pick-up.


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Is there a downloadable map of the Spencer Historic District?

Yes. Please see this map of Historic Spencer.