Common Code Violations
Common Code Violations
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Common Code Violations
Gwinnett Code Enforcement inspects properties within unincorporated Gwinnett County and does not handle code violations within city limits.
Common code violations include junk vehicles, open or outdoor storage (including trash and debris), tall grass and weeds, exterior building and fence/wall maintenance, graffiti, vehicle parking, operating businesses in incorrect zoning districts, and running a business without an occupation tax certificate.
To learn more about these common code violations, please refer to our Commercial Common Code Violations, Residential Common Code Violations, and Interior Common Code Violations explanation sheets.
Transfer of Ownership (Sec. 14-260)
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any building or structure who has received a notice of violation to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease, or otherwise dispose of such building or structure until the provisions of the notice of violation have been complied with or until such owner shall furnish to the director of planning and development or designee a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee, or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility, without condition, for making the corrections or repairs required by such notice of violation. Any citation for violation of this section shall be issued to the transferor of the property listed on the face of the document evidencing conveyance of the property.
Fences and Walls (Sec. 14-284)
- Fences and walls shall be maintained in a structurally sound condition and in good repair. Fences shall be free from loose or rotting materials and shall have braces and supports attached or fastened in accordance with common building practices. Fences shall be maintained free of nails protruding more than 1/16 of an inch beyond the face of any uncovered fence member.
- Wood surfaces, other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Paint that is peeling, flaking, chipped, or faded to the extent that it no longer protects the underlying surface shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.
- All damaged or missing portions of a fence shall be replaced with comparable materials and shall be attached to the existing portion of the fence. Fences shall not be externally braced in lieu of replacing or repairing posts, columns, or other structural members.
- Exterior gates, gate assemblies, operator systems if provided, and hardware shall be maintained in good condition. Latches at all entrances shall tightly secure the gates.
Graffiti (Sec. 14-285)
It shall be a violation of this article for any person having a legal or equitable interest in a parcel of real property to permit graffiti to remain on a structure located thereon for a continuous period of more than 72 hours. For purposes of this section, the term "graffiti" shall have the same meaning as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 17-15A-2.
Grass, Weeds, and Uncultivated Vegetation (Sec. 14-286)
- Premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from grass, weeds, or uncultivated vegetation in excess of 12 inches in height.
- Any parcel zoned RA-200 (Agriculture-Residence District) that is greater than one acre in size.
- Any parcel within a single-family residential zoning classification that is greater than 3 acres in size.
- Property owners abutting a right-of-way shall not allow yard trimmings to accumulate on a public street or sidewalk.
- The unpaved areas of front yards shall be maintained with grass, ground cover, or other type of landscaping to such an extent that the soil is not subject to erosion.
Junk Vehicles (Sec. 14-287)
Junk vehicles shall not be kept, permitted, parked, stored, or maintained on any premises or public right-of-way.
- Junk vehicles that are kept within a fully enclosed building on property in residential zoning districts provided the owner or occupant of the property is in the process of reconditioning the junk vehicle for personal use.
- Junk vehicles which are kept on property in zoning districts authorized by the Unified Development Ordinance for repairing, reconditioning, or remodeling junk vehicles and provided that such junk vehicles are not stored for the purpose of salvage of parts but are in the continual process of repair, reconditioning or remodeling.
- Junk vehicles which are kept on property in zoning districts as authorized by the UDO for a junk or salvage yard.
Driveways and Walkways (Sec. 14-288)
All private driveways and walkways connecting a driveway to a building shall be maintained in a passable condition to allow safe vehicular and pedestrian ingress and egress to the building served. For purposes of this section, there is a rebuttable presumption that a private driveway or walkway is impassable if the driveway or walkway contains a grade separation of 6 inches or more.
Outdoor storage (Sec. 14-289)
Outdoor storage of any goods, materials, merchandise, equipment, appliances, building material, other materials, or similar items shall not be permitted or maintained on any premises. Outdoor storage shall include portable moving or storage containers and tractor trailers.
- Property where outdoor storage is authorized by the UDO.
- Cut wood which is neatly stacked in lengths not to exceed 3 feet for the personal use of the owner or occupant, and which is stored in a side or rear yard.
Trees (Sec. 14-290)
- Dead trees. Dead trees shall not be allowed to exist or to be maintained on any premises which are hazardous to persons on adjacent property or to adjacent property. A finding by a registered forester or certified arborist shall constitute prima facie evidence that a tree is in danger of falling upon adjacent lots or public streets due to the death of the tree.
- Tree stumps.Tree stumps greater than 12 inches in height above ground level shall not be permitted or maintained on any premises for more than 14 days after the tree has been cut.
- Property covered by a valid land disturbing permit.
- Property zoned RA-200 (Agriculture-Residence District).
- Tree debris.Felled trees, slash, or removed tree limbs shall not be permitted or maintained on the ground on any premises for more than 14 days.
- Property covered by a valid land disturbing permit.
- Cut wood which is neatly stacked in lengths not to exceed 3 feet, and which is stored in a side or rear yard.
- Property zoned RA-200 (Agriculture-Residence District).
- Composting activities which comply with state law.
Swimming Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs (Sec. 14-291)
- Swimming pools shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be structurally and mechanically sound.
- Enclosures. Private swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas containing water more than 24 inches in depth shall be completely surrounded by a fence or barrier no less than 48 inches in height above the finished ground level measured on the side of the barrier away from the pool. Gates and doors in such barriers shall be self-closing and self-latching. Where the self-latching device is less than 54 inches above the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the Self-closing and self-latching gates shall be maintained such that the gate will positively close and latch when released from an open position of 6 inches from the gatepost. An existing pool enclosure shall not be removed, replaced, or changed in a manner that reduces its effectiveness as a safety barrier. When the sides of an above ground pool are used as the barrier, the ladder or steps shall be secured, locked, or removed to prevent access, or the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier which meets these requirements.
Lighting (Sec. 14 – 292)
Lighting fixtures in parking lots, common areas, and on buildings within nonresidential, hotel, and multifamily properties shall be maintained in good working order to provide consistent illumination of the surrounding area.
Sanitation (Sec. 14 – 293)
Exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition. The owner and occupant shall be responsible for keeping the exterior property in a clean and sanitary condition and preventing the accumulation of stagnant water. The exterior property and premises shall be kept free of garbage, rubbish, litter, and trash. Exception: rubbish, garbage, trash, or other similar items placed outside for collection by an authorized waste hauler no more than 24 hours prior to the designated collection date for that property.
Numbering Requirements (Sec. 14-318)
- Street numbers for dwelling units, places of business, apartment and condominium developments, and nonresidential developments on public and private streets shall be assigned by the Department of Planning and Development in accordance with its administrative procedures.
- One- and two-family dwelling unit requirements.Each one- and two-family dwelling unit shall have posted and maintained in a conspicuous place on the property, visible from the street, providing general public access, the street number of such dwelling unit in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background that will allow 24-hour visibility.
- Multifamily requirements.Each multifamily building with three or more dwelling units shall have posted and maintained in a conspicuous place on the building, visible from the parking lot or street providing general public access, the addresses or numbers of the building in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background and each individual apartment/unit within the building shall be marked on or about its main entrance with the individual apartment/unit number and/or address in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background that will allow 24-hour visibility. In addition to these requirements, where a multifamily building has more than one exterior entrance, each such entrance shall be marked, in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background, with the number and/or address of each individual apartment/unit or numerical range of apartment units to which access is provided through that common entrance.
- Business and other nonresidential building requirements.Each business or other nonresidential building shall have posted and maintained in a conspicuous place of the property, visible from the street providing public access, the address, street number, and/or building number of such building in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background that will allow 24-hour visibility.
Exterior Surface Treatment (Sec. 14-319)
All exterior surfaces, including, but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, and trim shall be maintained in good repair. Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Paint that is peeling, flaking, chipped, or faded to the extent that it no longer protects the underlying surface shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted. All siding and masonry joints shall be maintained weather-resistant and watertight. Metal surfaces subject to rust or corrosion shall be coated to inhibit such rust and corrosion.
Exterior Walls (Sec. 14-320)
Exterior walls of buildings shall be maintained free from holes, breaks, loose, or rotting materials and shall be maintained weatherproof and properly surface coated as needed to prevent deterioration.
Foundation Walls and Structural Members (Sec. 14-321)
All foundation walls and structural members shall be maintained to carry the safe design and operating dead and live loads of the structure and shall be maintained plumb and free from open cracks and breaks so as not to be detrimental to public safety and welfare. Every foundation, exterior wall, and other exterior surface shall be maintained in a workmanlike state of maintenance and repair.
Roofs (Sec. 14-322)
Roofs of buildings shall be maintained so that they are structurally sound and in a safe condition and have no defects which might admit rain or cause dampness in the interior portions of a building. All portions, additions, or sections of a roof, including, but not limited to, the fascia, eave, soffit, sheathing, rafter tail, barge rafter, vent screening, gutter, downspout, roof jack, and metal flashing shall be complete with all trim strips, moldings, brackets, braces, and supports attached or fastened in accordance with common building practices. Gutters must be free of vegetation and in good repair. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent rainwater from causing dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the building.
Exterior Stairways, Decks, Porches, and Balconies (Sec. 14-323)
Exterior stairways, decks, porches and balconies, and all appurtenances attached thereto of buildings shall be maintained so that they are structurally sound, in good repair, with proper anchorage, and capable of supporting the imposed loads.
Windows (Sec 14-324)
Windows of buildings shall be fully supplied and maintained with glass windowpanes or with a substitute approved by the director of the Department of Planning and Development, and such glass or substitute material shall be without open cracks or holes. Screens, if provided, shall be securely fastened to the window and maintained in good repair. Windows other than fixed windows shall be capable of being opened with reasonable ease and shall be held in position by appropriate window hardware to include a functioning locking mechanism and maintained in proper working condition.
Exterior Doors and Frames (Sec 14-325)
Exterior doors of buildings shall be maintained so that they fit reasonably well within their frames to substantially prevent rain and wind from entering a building. Exterior door jambs, stops, headers, and moldings shall be securely attached to the structure and maintained in good condition without splitting or deterioration. Additionally, exterior doors shall be provided with proper hardware to include a functioning locking mechanism and maintained in proper working condition.
Garage Doors (Sec. 14-326)
Garage doors shall be capable of being closed reasonably plumb and properly attached, and the exterior surface of garage doors shall be maintained weatherproof to prevent deterioration.
Decorative Features (Sec. 14-327)
Cornices, belt courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings, shutters, light fixtures, and similar decorative features shall be maintained in good repair with proper anchorage and in a safe condition.
Overhang Extensions (Sec. 14-328)
Overhang extensions including, but not limited to, canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, fire escapes, standpipes, and exhaust ducts shall be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored to be kept in a sound condition. Where required, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Chimneys and Towers (Sec. 14-329)
Chimneys, cooling towers, smokestacks, and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally safe and sound and in good repair. Exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Vacant Structures (Sec. 14-330)
Vacant structures shall be maintained in good repair and be in compliance with all applicable laws, codes, and ordinances. Any vacant structure shall, at a minimum:
- Have all doors, windows, and other openings weathertight and secured against entry by the general public and animals. The vacant structure shall be secured using the conventional methods used in the original construction. Where securing the structure through conventional methods is not feasible or where the owner desires to board up the vacant structure, the owner or interested party must obtain a separate boarding-up permit from the Department of Planning and Development.
- All roof and roof flashings shall be sound and tight such that no rain will penetrate the structure and must allow for appropriate drainage to prevent deterioration of the interior walls or other interior portions of the structure.
- The structure must be maintained in good repair, be structurally sound, and free from rubbish, garbage, and other debris.
- Supporting members of the structure shall be capable of bearing both live and dead loads and the foundation walls likewise shall be capable of supporting an appropriate load.
- The exterior of the structure shall be free of loose or rotten materials and holes. Any exposed metal, wood, or other surface shall be protected from the elements by appropriate weather coating materials, such as paint or similar treatment.
- All balconies, canopies, signs, metal awnings, stairways, fire escapes, or other overhanging extensions shall be in good repair and appropriately anchored. The exposed metal and wood surface of such overhanging extensions shall also be protected from the elements against rust or decay by appropriate application of paint or similar weather coating.
- Any accessories or appurtenant structures, including, but not limited to, garages, sheds, or other storage facilities shall meet the standards set forth in this section.
- Have a plan for winterization of the vacant property if necessary.
- Retaining walls, drainage systems, or other structures must be maintained in good repair and be structurally sound. Any existing fence shall be maintained in good repair with gates locked at all times.
- Be in compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter and all other applicable codes and ordinances of Gwinnett County.
Boarding-Up Structures (Sec. 14-331)
- Boarding-up permit. No person, firm, association, or corporation shall erect, install, place, or maintain boards over the doors, windows, or other opening of any building or structure or otherwise secure such opening by a means, other than the conventional method used in the original construction and design of the building or structure, without first obtaining a valid boarding-up permit in accordance with this section. Any properties with boards existing at the time of the adoption of the ordinance from which this section is derived will have 60 days from the date of the adoption of the ordinance from which this section is derived to submit an application to the Department of Planning and Development for a permit to continue to board.
- The Department of Planning and Development may issue a boarding-up permit only upon satisfaction of the following conditions:
- Submission of a written application by the owner of the property or his authorized representative, including the following information:
- Name, address, and telephone number of the owner.
- Name, address, and telephone number of any local agent of the owner.
- Tax parcel identification number of the premises on which the structure is situated.
- Common address of the structure.
- Other information as may be required by the department.
- Payment of the required fee by the owner of the property or his authorized representative.
- Submission of a written statement or plan by the owner or the property or his authorized representative specifying:
- Length of time the owner expects the boarding-up to continue.
- Proposed plan to secure or board up the structure, including a detailed description regarding the manner and materials.
- Proposed maintenance plan detailing the monitoring and maintenance of the structure and premises in conformance with this article.
- The County may conduct an inspection of the subject property to ensure that the structure is boarded up in accordance with the plan approved by the Department of Planning and Development.
- Submission of a written application by the owner of the property or his authorized representative, including the following information:
- A boarding-up permit issued pursuant to this section shall authorize the boarding-up or other securing of a building or structure for a period of six months. An owner of a property desiring to continue to board his property beyond the six-month term must submit a renewal application to renew the boarding-up permit and continue to meet the requirements for the issuance of a new boarding-up permit. The permit may be renewed within 30 days of the expiration of the original upon payment of necessary fees. A new permit must be obtained if the original permit is not renewed within 30 days of the expiration of the original permit.
- No boarding-up permit shall be required to board-up a building for up to 30 days in the event of a temporary emergency, including, but not limited to, damage caused by vandalism, theft, or weather. In the event an emergency requires a building or structure to be boarded-up for more than 30 days, the owner of the building or structure, or his authorized representative, must obtain a valid building permit for repair or a valid boarding-up permit in accordance with this section.
- The boarding of doors, windows, or other openings of any building or structure or any means of securing such openings, other than by the conventional method used in the original construction and design of the building or structure, shall be according to the specifications approved under the permit. All boarded openings shall be painted with a minimum of two coats of exterior paint, which is of a color compatible with the exterior color of the building or structure.
- Any structure which is boarded shall be in compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances of the County.
- Any structure which is boarded up shall be posted with the name, permit information, and 24-hour contact phone number of the local agent.
Burned Structures (Sec. 14-332)
Whenever any building or structure is partially burned, the owner or person in control shall, within 30 days after completion of the scene investigation by the Fire Department and/or insurer of the property, remove all refuse, debris, and all charred and partially burned lumber and material from the premises. If such building or structure shall be burned to such an extent that it is rendered incapable of being repaired, the owner or person in control shall, within 60 days after completion of the scene investigation by the Fire Department and/or insurer of the property, remove all the remaining portion of the building or structure from the premises. If the building or structure is to be repaired, a permit shall be obtained, and work shall begin within 60 days after completion of the scene investigation by the Fire Department and/or insurer of the property and shall be completed within 180 days from the date a permit is obtained.
The common code violations below are included in the Unified Development Ordinance.
Accessory Building, Structure and Uses. (UDO 230-120)
All accessory buildings, structures & uses of land such as a detached garage, utility building, shed, gazebo, barn, pool or tennis court:
- Shall be clearly subordinate to and supportive of the principal use
- Located in the rear yard ONLY.
- Cannot be located in the public right-of-way.
- Basketball Goals adjacent to driveways are allowed in most residential zoning districts. They are prohibited from being placed in the right-of-way (at the street).
- Landscaping shall not be located within the public right-of-way unless approved by Gwinnett County Department of Transportation.
- Is not allowed in the side yard of a corner lot that faces a public street, (considered a front yard).
- Cannot be built before its principal building is constructed.
- Cannot be utilized unless the principal structure is also occupied.
- Set-back requirements from all property lines and right of ways are based on the structure size / area:
- 0-100 sq ft 5 feet setback
- 101-300 sq ft 10 foot setback
- 301-500 sq ft 15 foot setback
- 500 + sq ft 20 foot setback
- The maximum cumulative total of all accessory buildings is based on lot size (see 230-120.13)
In residential districts, accessory buildings cannot:
- Exceed 50% of the primary dwelling.
- Be used for any commercial operation or human habitation (exception – accessory dwelling)
- Be used to store hazardous materials, waste products or putrescent materials.
Customary uses allowed in the front yard: fences, walls, gates and gatehouses, signs, mailboxes, covered mail kiosks, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking pads, parking lots, parking decks, lampposts, flagpoles, birdbaths, arbors, trellises, and landscaping. Walls, fences and landscaping are not allowed to be placed in the county right of way.
- In agricultural zoning districts, barns and stables, silos, animal enclosures and agricultural buildings that are customarily related to commercial farming are allowed in front yards.
- In commercial zoning districts, fountains, statuary and similar decorative features; gasoline pumps and canopies; vacuum stands and canopies; donation collection boxes (Section 230-130) are allowed in front yards.
Building Permit Required (CC 106.1) – No building or other structure shall be erected, moved, added to, or structurally altered without a Building Permit issued by the Department of Planning and Development. A building permit is required to be obtained for accessory buildings and structures that are 121 square feet or greater in size. A building permit is required regardless of size if the proposed structure contains electrical or plumbing systems. (Example: shed, workshop, gazebo, carport, deck).
Certificate Required (CC 113.1-Occupancy or CC 113.2-Completion) –A Certificate of Occupancy issued by The Department of Planning and Development is required prior to use or occupancy of any lot or building or change in any use thereof and shall not be issued unless the lot or building or structure complies with all the provisions of this Resolution.
Dumpsters (UDO 230-120.14) Dumpsters and screening shall be located only in the rear or side yard a minimum of 5 feet from property lines and any buffer. They must be placed on a concrete pad of sufficient size & strength to support the weight of service vehicles. Minimum pad size is 10 feet wide by 30 feet long. Screening is required not less than 6 feet in height. Construction dumpsters are allowed for 30 days or with an active building permit and are exempt from screening requirements.
Home Occupation (UDO 230-130.3.Q) – In addition to obtaining a Business License (18-20), operating a business within the dwelling of the home must meet the following requirements:
Only family members residing in the home can conduct the home-based business.
No sale of product or service can occur on or adjacent to the home without a Special Use Permit.
- The home occupation shall not involve group instruction or group assembly of people on premises.
- There shall be no exterior evidence of a business. No business activity or signage.
- The business shall be conducted only within the enclosed living area of the home (basement included).
- There shall be no display or storage of products, materials, or machinery on the exterior of the home.
- There shall be no increase or decrease in the normal flow of traffic.
- There shall be no increase in on-street or off-street parking.
- No equipment, supplies or materials may be utilized or stored in the conduct of the home occupation except that which is normally used for purely domestic or household purposes. Samples, however, may be kept on the premises but neither sold nor distributed from the residence.
- No more than 25% of the home may be used for the business.
- One business vehicle used exclusively by the resident is permissible. This vehicle may only be an automobile, pick-up truck, van or sport-utility vehicle.
- Signage is not allowed (see Sign Ordinance 78-107(8)
Livestock (UDO 230-130.3.CC)
In agricultural zoning districts: corrals, stables, barns, pens, coops, chicken houses, and other similar livestock quarters shall be located no closer than 100 feet to any property line. In non-agricultural zoning districts: the raising and keeping of livestock (cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, goats, sheep, swine and other hoofed animals; poultry, ducks, geese, pigeons, peacocks and other live fowl; and fur or hide-bearing animals; (other than small species of pigs, cage birds or rabbits kept within a dwelling as a household pet or chickens) whether owned or kept for pleasure, utility or sale on a parcel which contains the dwelling of the owner of the livestock is permitted, provided that the parcel is at least 3 acres in area and all animal quarters are located no closer than 100 feet to any property line.
Exception: Chickens (UDO 230-130.3DD)
In non-agricultural residential zoning districts: the keeping of chickens for personal pleasure or utility on a parcel which contains the dwelling of the owner is permitted, subject to the following requirements:
a) Minimum lot size – 10,500 square feet (0.24 acres)
b) Kept securely in an enclosed yard or 6-sided pen at all times
c) Minimum pen area for chickens – 10 square feet per bird
d) Housed at least 20 feet from any property line & 50 feet from any residence other than the owner’s
e) Any structure housing chickens must be located in the rear yard
f) Roosters are prohibited (not allowed).
g) Maximum number of chickens per lot size
- 3 birds = 10,500 sq. ft. – 12,499 sq. ft. (0.24 – 0.29 acres)
- 5 birds = 12,500 sq. ft. – 24,999 sq. ft. (0.30 – 0.57 acres)
- 8 birds = 25,000 sq. ft. – 39,999 sq. ft. (0.58 – 0.92 acres)
- 10 birds = 40,000 sq. ft. – 2.99 acres (0.93 – 2.99 acres)
- No maximum = 3 acres or more
h) Minimum coop size – 4 square feet per bird
i) Birds are only permitted as pets or for egg laying production; cannot be kept for slaughter.
j) Birds must be kept under sanitary conditions & not a public nuisance as defined by State law.
Non-Permitted Use (UDO 230-100) – Only certain uses are allowed in each zoning district. Residential Examples include:
Single Family residential districts do not allow multi-family dwellings or occupancy. A single-family dwelling allows one family defined as one of three situations: 1) related by blood, marriage adoption or 2) no more than three (3) unrelated persons; or 3) two 2 unrelated persons and their children. All are subject to the overcrowding requirements found in Section 14-345 of the Property Maintenance Ordinance. Also, single family structures cannot be converted to a multi-family dwelling without rezoning approval. Operating a commercial business from a residential zoning would also be prohibited (exception – customary home occupation).
Garage / Yard Sales (18-42) A private individual or group may conduct, not more than once in a six-month period, a sale of used items, baked goods, or other food items. Such an event shall be limited to three consecutive days. Signs advertising these events shall not be placed within the public right-of-way, on trees, utility poles and or traffic control devices. Signage allowed is as follows: up to four (4) four square feet signs, or one (1) single sign with a maximum square footage of sixteen (16) feet.
Off Street Parking (Yard Parking) (UDO 240-10.3.B,C) – In a residential district, the parking of any motor vehicle except on a hard-surfaced driveway or in carport or garage is prohibited. Any recreational vehicle or non-motor vehicle may only be parked in a carport, enclosed structure, or in the rear yard on a paved surface or approved porous or grassed paving system. Any vehicles parked in the rear yard not in a carport or an enclosed structure must be parked at least 15 feet from the property line. Vehicles or equipment used for agricultural purposes on residential property with 5 or more acres are exempt from hard surface requirements if parked outside the required front setback. The maximum allowable paved parking or hard surface area in front yards shall not exceed more than 35% in most zonings. No parking areas may be used for the sale, repair, dismantling, servicing or long-term storage of any vehicles or equipment. (UDO 240.10.5)
Driveway Design Standards (UDO 900-40) Driveways shall generally intersect streets at right angles. The portion of the driveway located within a public right of way shall be paved. Driveways providing access to parking lots which contain five or more spaces shall be paved in accordance with the parking requirements in Chapter 240.
Swimming Pool Permits & Location (UDO 330-50) A Swimming Pool Permit is required for any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading that contains water over 18 inches including in-ground, above-ground and on-ground swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and fixed-in-place wading pools. These are permitted as an accessory use and can be located only in the rear or side yard. (UDO 230-120.3)
Vehicle Parking Area – Residential (UDO 240-110.2) –In all residential zoning districts, the parking of the following vehicles is prohibited: any vehicle for hire including but not limited to limousines, taxis, box trucks, flatbed trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, transport wreckers, tandem axle trucks, cab-on-chassis trucks, tractor trailers, wheeled attachments, pull behind cement mixers, or trailers, bucket trucks, buses, earth moving machinery, semi-trailers, and this restriction also applies to any vehicle over 20 feet in length, or 7 feet in height, or 7 feet in width. Vehicles used for agricultural purposes on residential property with five (5) acres or more are permitted if parked outside the required front yard setback.
Exceptions: An automobile, pick-up truck, van, or SUV used to provide daily transportation to and from work (except those vehicles that fall under the requirements for Section 230-130 Customary Home Occupation) and a commercial vehicle that is parked temporarily in conjunction with a commercial service, sale, or delivery.
Fence and Wall location and materials (UDO 230-80) – Walls and fences are permitted in all zoning districts with no setback requirement.
They cannot exceed 8 feet in height within a side or rear yard. Corner lots have 2 front yards.
Any wall or fence in the front yard of property less than 3 acres:
1) cannot exceed 4 feet in height
2) must be ornamental or decorative made of brick, stone, wood, stucco, wrought iron or split rail.
3) cannot be made of woven wire, metal fabric (chain link, hog wire or barbed wire) or electric.
No wall or fence can be made of exposed concrete block, tires, scrap metal, sheet metal, plastic/fiberglass sheeting, vinyl siding or fabric, plywood, pallet material, junk or other discarded items (residential and commercial). Walls and fences are not allowed to be placed in the county right of way. (Also see PMO 14-284 for maintenance.)
Other Commercial Violations
Commercial Vehicle Signage (UDO 240-110.1) – In any commercial zoning district, delivery/service vehicles & vehicles displaying advertising must be parked within the side or rear yard & may not be parked within the front yard.
Dumpsters (UDO 230-120.14) Dumpsters & screening shall be located only in the rear or side yard a minimum of 5 feet from property lines and any buffer. They must be placed on a concrete pad of sufficient size & strength to support the weight of service vehicles. Minimum pad size is 10 feet wide by 30 feet long. Screening is required not less than 6 feet in height. Construction dumpsters - allowed for 30 days or with an active building permit & exempt from screening.
Handicapped Parking Spaces (UDO 240-50) – Off-street parking shall comply with ADA standards and Georgia State Law for Accessible Design and the Georgia Accessibility Code for Buildings and Facilities for all multifamily and non-residential uses.
Maintenance and Appearance of Parking Lots (UDO 240-60.3.C) – Parking lots shall be maintained in good condition, free of potholes, weeds, dust, trash and debris. Porous paving and grass paving systems shall be maintained to function as designed.
Non-Permitted Use (UDO 230-100) – Only certain uses are allowed in each zoning district. There are several commercial zoning classifications such as C-1 Neighborhood Business District, C-2 General Business District, C-3 Highway Business District, then there are M-1 Light Industry District and M-2 Heavy Industry District as well as others. Within each, there are certain additional uses allowed when granted a Special Use Permit. For example: Both Auto repair and Auto Sales are allowed in C-3 zoning; however, each would also be allowed in C-2 provided a Special Use Permit is obtained.
Numbering Requirements (PMO 14-318)
- Multifamily requirements: Each multifamily building with 3 or more dwelling units shall have posted and maintained in a conspicuous place on the building, visible from the parking lot or street providing general public access, the addresses or numbers of the building in figures at least 6 inches high on a contrasting background and each individual apartment/unit within the building shall be marked on or about its main entrance with the individual apartment/unit number and/or address in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background that will allow 24-hour visibility. Also, if a multifamily building has more than one exterior entrance, each such entrance shall be marked, in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background, with the number and/or address of each and every individual apartment/unit or numerical range of apartment units to which access is provided through that common entrance.
- Business and other nonresidential building requirements: Each business or other nonresidential building shall have posted and maintained in a conspicuous place of the property visible from the street providing public access, the address and /or street number of such building in figures at least 4 inches high on a contrasting background that will allow 24-hour visibility. If the numbers are not placed within 15 feet of the back of the street curbing or edge of the street surface, then such figures shall be at least 6 inches high. A quadrant designation will be posted as part of the address in figures at least two inches high on a contrasting background of a material that will allow 24-hour visibility and be placed with the number designation.
Off Street Parking (UDO 240-10.3.A) - In any non-residential district, the parking of any vehicle on other than a paved surface is prohibited.
Operating Without an Occupational Tax Certificate (Business License) (18-20) – Each person engaged in any business, trade, profession, or occupation in unincorporated Gwinnett County shall pay an occupation tax for such business, trade, profession, or occupation. The actual Certificate is to be displayed in a conspicuous place and must be valid at all times. The following businesses are not covered by the provisions of this ordinance (18-33) but may be assessed an occupation tax or other type of tax: insurance companies, motor common carriers, and depository financial institutions (banks).
Vehicle Parking Area – Commercial (UDO 240-110.1) In any commercial or office zoning district, delivery/service vehicles and vehicles displaying advertising must be parked within the side or rear yard and may not be parked within the front yard.
Solid Waste Violations
Placement of Containers & Collection Hours (82-56.a.6.c)
Each residential service unit shall place the solid waste storage container at the curb no earlier than 3:30 p.m. on the day prior to the scheduled pick up and shall have the container removed from the curb no later than the day following scheduled collection.
Prohibited Signs [SO Section 78-107 (1-22)] – Types of prohibited signs include roof signs, streamers, portable, trailer, sidewalk, sandwich, curb, or A-frame signs, multi-faced signs, and animated signs (motion, flashing, blinking, rotating, varying light intensity). Signs that contain obscenities or simulate or hide a traffic control device are not allowed. Signs that emit noise, interfere with road visibility, obstruct the flow of traffic or access to fire escapes are not allowed. Signs that do not conform to building & electrical codes or that fail to display a permit number when required are prohibited. Temporary signs are not allowed in any Overlay District. All signs which are structurally unsound, dilapidated or neglected or abandoned commercial signs are also prohibited.
Although a sign may be allowed, it cannot be placed within any public right-of-way or nailed, fastened or affixed to any tree, rock, post, curb, utility pole, natural feature, street sign or marker, traffic control sign or other structure and cannot be placed on property without the owner’s permission. Window signs cannot exceed 20% of the window area per tenant elevation.
Generally Permitted Signs (formerly known as Exempt) (SO 78-109)
Signs that are considered exempt or allowed would include:
Non-illuminated, temporary freestanding signs (banners excluded). Each lot or parcel is allowed either one large sign (16 square foot or less) OR 4 small signs (4 square feet or less). None can be taller than 8 feet above the grade level. These signs must be placed on private property, not in the public right-of-way.
These include garage or yard sale signs.
- Signs for address numbers or private trespassing signs. One official Emissions sign is allowed per road frontage. Small swinging signs (less than 3 square feet), or projecting signs (no more than 3 sq. feet) that are attached under an eave or awning of a building above a business entrance.
- Also, signage (8 sq. ft. maximum) on courtesy benches, trash receptacles, newspaper boxes, automated teller kiosks and phone booths is allowed (1 sign per bench or receptacle per lot) and on vending machines.
- Graduation banners placed on residentially zoned property. Such banners may be no more than 24 square feet in size and must be maintained in good condition and individually attached to a pole, mast, arm, or other structure. A graduation banner may not be displayed on any lot for more than 60 consecutive days.
- Flags when displayed on purpose-built, professionally fabricated flagpoles and both maintained in good repair. In commercial zones, poles cannot exceed 50 feet unless approved. In residential zones, poles cannot exceed 25 feet in height. Each lot is allowed a maximum 2 flags per pole. Flagpoles must be setback from all property boundaries the same distance as their height. Flags displaying a logo, message, statement or commercial message and banners are subject to temporary sign requirements. On officially designated county, state or federal holidays there shall be no maximum flag size or number on display. A sign permit is not required for flags.
Temporary Signs (SO 78-108)
A permit is required for the following:
(1) Air or gas-filled device (maximum 20 feet tall, 150 square feet in area) in commercial zones / 4 feet tall, 16 square feet in residential zones).
(2) Banners (maximum 16 square feet in area, must be individually attached to a pole, mast or arm, only one per public street frontage and maintained in good condition).
(3) Search lights and similar devices.