The Town of Highlands welcomes new residents and encourages them to avail themselves of the many social and cultural opportunities in Town.
If you would like to know more about Highlands, a good place to begin is the Town Hall, located at 210 North Fourth Street. The Town Office can provide detailed information on the Town's facilities, its government, its land use regulations, and the utility services it provides.
The Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center, located at 269 Oak Street, can provide a variety of information for visitors and residents alike, including a calendar of events for the year and information on the business community.
This brochure is intended to provide brief information about Highlands, its government, Town utility services, and land use regulations affecting new residents.
For more information, please call or visit
The Town Office
North Fourth Street
828.526.2118 or 526-5266
Working hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am 4:30pm.
If you have any further questions about the regulations referred to in this brochure, please ask.
The Town's Parks and Recreation Department manages the Recreation Park on the corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets and the Ball Park on the corner of Fourth and Hickory. The Recreation Park includes tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, and a Civic Center containing basketball courts, a fitness center, and several meeting rooms. Check at the main desk of the Civic Center for more information on recreational facilities and activities. The Town also maintains a Greenways Trail through the Town; maps are available at the Town Office or the Chamber of Commerce.
Highlands is governed by a Mayor and Board of Commissioners, which meets on the first and third Wednesday each month in the Conference Room upstairs in the Town Hall. All meetings are open to the public, and the meeting agenda is posted in the lobby of the Town Office. Town officials may also be contacted through the Town Office or the Town's web site (see below).
Land Use Regulations
If you are interested in adding to or remodeling your residence, you should be aware that the Town of Highlands enforces a Unified Development Ordinance, which regulates setback and size of residential buildings. Although "home occupations" are permitted in some areas, commercial activity is generally not permitted in residential neighborhoods. Construction of any kind requires a Zoning Certificate, as well as a Building Permit from the Macon County Inspection Department. Open burning is also regulated; check with the Town Office or the Fire Department before beginning any burning activities.
Most of the Town is in a water supply watershed, too, which means that runoff from your land could eventually enter the Town's reservoir; in some areas of Town, the amount of land that can be covered with "impervious" services is regulated, and a natural buffer must be maintained along many lakes and streams. Use paints, week killers, fertilizers, and other chemicals with care. Land disturbing activities are also regulated in order to prevent soil erosion and resultant sedimentation, which has caused serious problems in Town lakes. Copies of the Unified Development Ordinance and the Zoning Map are available at Town Hall.
For more information on construction in general, see Town of Highlands | Forms & Applications.
For more information on the Zoning Board, see Appointed Boards & Committees.
The Town provides electric, water, and garbage service, plus sewer service in some residential areas. New residents are required to sign a contract for utility service. Rates are available under the Services/Fees tab on the Home page of this website. Minimum utility charges are in effect throughout the year, even if there is no usage. Utilities are billed in monthly cycles, and are due within 21 days of the billing date; otherwise, late penalties are automatically applied.
Be aware that winter in Highlands is characterized by subfreezing temperatures. If you are a seasonal resident not accustomed to colder climates, or if you plan on leaving your home for more than a few days during cold weather, you should consider having your home professionally winterized, which would include thorough draining of pipes and disconnection of electricity. Older homes in particular may not be adequately insulated, and broken water pipes can cause extensive damage.
Garbage is collected twice a week in residential areas. If you do not know what days it is picked up or where to place it, inquire at the Town office or look at the 2020 Sanitation Rules & Regulations under Notices on the Home page of this website. The Town of Highlands does have a mandatory bear proof garbage receptacle ordinance. Voluntary recycling is available at the Macon County convenience centers outside the Town limits.
For Further Information
Town of Highlands | 828.526.5266 or 828.526.2118
Fax | 828.526.2595