Zoning Enforcement

Yard Sale Ordinance

This ordinance was adopted on September 8, 1980. The following pieces of information are what you need to know to comply with the law:
  • All signs must be taken down immediately at the conclusion of the yard sale. Littering fines may be assessed for obsolete signs.
  • It is unlawful to conduct a yard sale without first obtaining a permit issued by the Portsmouth Police Department.
  • No person may conduct, or allow to be conducted upon their property, a yard sale more often than twice per year.
  • No yard sale for which a permit has been granted may last more than two days.
  • No yard sale may begin earlier than 8 a.m. or end later than 6 p.m.
  • Please make an important note, the Portsmouth Zoning Ordinance Article IX, section 7(a), prohibits all off-premises signs (except those allowed by Special Use Permit from the Zoning Board of Review).


Can a neighbor put up a fence? Where can he put it up? Does he have to get a building permit for it?

Yes, your neighbor can put up a fence on his (and your) property line without a building permit. There is a 6' height limit to the fence. Any fence higher than 6' requires a building permit.  If you are having a dispute with your neighbor about if a fence should go where it's going, Portsmouth has a Fence Viewer who will come take a look and will act as a mediator and try to help resolve the issue.


Do I have to have a fence around my swimming pool? Do I need to get a building permit for it?

The state building code defines a swimming pool as any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that is over 24-inches deep. Portsmouth's Zoning Ordinance requires "swimming pool enclosed by a six foot fence and the pool area locked when not in use."

Depending on the size of the pool and the size of your lot, you may need a building permit. Please call the building department at 401-683-3611 to find out.