The Development Services Department accepts and processes many different commercial applications. The links below are provided as a convenience but do not include all instructions or information provided elsewhere on this site. Click here for residential permit applications.
DSD's Permit Application Center (PAC) is located at 161 South Charlotte Street and open to the public on Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (closed on public holidays). Customers can also contact PAC@ashevillenc.gov or 828-259-5846 with questions about residential permits.
Zoning requirements can impact commercial development. Prior to preparation of plans, obtain information specific to your site or schedule an Early Assistance meeting.
Before beginning an application, please check to confirm that your property is located in the City of Asheville’s permitting jurisdiction.
- ABC Packet
- Appendix B (2018 version)
- Commercial/Multifamily Application
- Lien Agent Designation (link to website)
- Operational Fire Permit Application
- Permit Amendment Application
- Commercial Application Self Gate Checklist
- Stand Alone & Multi-Trade Application
- Solar PV System Submittal Requirements Guide and Application
- Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) Application
- Tenant Change-Out Bulletin
- Tenant Occupancy Application
Zoning and Site Engineering Permits
- A-Frame Sign Application
- Annual Short Term Vacation Rental Permit (Non-Conforming)
- Board of Adjustment Zoning Variance Application
- Board of Adjustment Interpretation/Appeal
- Board of Adjustment Reasonable Accommodation
- Board of Adjustment Sign Variance
- Financial Surety (Bond) Estimate Form
- Historic Resources Commission (HRC) Applications
- Minor Subdivision/Recombination Revisions Submittal Form
- Minor Subdivision Application Package
- Mulch Maintenance Responsibility Agreement
- Online Site Development Plan Submission website
- Outdoor Dining and Merchandise Permit
- Permanent and Temporary Sign Permit Application
- Pushcart Permit Application
- Request for Grading and Stormwater Permit Extension Application
- Standard Specifications and Details Modification (SSDM) Request
- Stormwater Retention Device O&M Agreement and Exhibit Guidelines
- Sample Sketch Plan
- Temporary Use Permit (Eventos y Uso Temporal en espanol)
- Fire Hydrant Meter Application
- Fire Water Analysis
- Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) - Paper Service Application
- Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) - Online Application, Fee Payment, Status Check
- Temporary Utility Service Application
- Water Availability and Meter Application
Checklists & Guides
- Commercial Application Self-Gate Checklist
- Formal Grading (10,000 sq ft or more disturbed)
- Informal Grading (Under 10,000 sq ft disturbed)
- Guide to Scheduling Inspections
- Inspection Guide
- Inspector List
- Level 1 Sketch Plan Checklist
- Level 1 (Over 10,000 sq ft)
- Level 1 within Central Business
- Open For Business (Small Business Permitting Tool)
- Restaurant Startup Guide
- Development Services Fee Schedule
- Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) Fees
- Public Works/Stormwater Services Division Fees
- Water Resources Fees
Whether you are an Asheville small business owner starting a new restaurant or a contractor building an office building, your project will need to obtain a permit. The process for obtaining a permit depends on the scope of your project. City of Asheville staff can help you determine the route you will need to take through the development process for your project, but please remember that work requiring a permit cannot begin until the permit holder or his agent posts the permit in a weatherproof, accessible and conspicuous location on the premises.
There are several types of permits/approvals depending on the complexity of your project. A note on Zoning requirements: all projects that require plan review, whether they qualify for Small Project Permit or not, must comply with local zoning regulations.
Lien Agent Designation
Effective for construction projects beginning on or after April 1, 2013, North Carolina law requires
Stand Alone and Multi-Trade Permits
Permits for minor residential installations are referred to as Stand Alone Trade Permits. If an installation requires more than one type of installation, it is referred to as a Multi-Trade permit. Plumbing, electrical or mechanical (HVAC) projects that do not require plans but require a permit, can often be issued the same day they are requested. Projects in this category include installing a new electrical circuit, placing a heating system or adding or replacing a water heater. Licensed contractors are encouraged to use the Development, Permit, & Inspection Portal to apply for these permits. Permits are issued
Quick Touch Permits
Some permits do not require extensive review and only require review from Building Safety staff. These can generally be turned around in one to three working days. These include permits for demolition, emergency repairs, like-for-like replacement of finishes and equipment, construction trailers, foster care, and work-after-hours.
Small Project Permits
Seemingly uncomplicated projects may require plan submittal and review from multiple disciplines. Small project permits can often be issued more quickly than other permits; estimate around 10 working days. Examples of small projects include signs, temporary use permits, or tenant up-fits of existing units.
Standard and Large Project Permits
Within "standard" and "large" commercial projects the scale and complexity can vary greatly but they always require technical review by multiple disciplines. The "standard" category covers most low to mid-rise construction. The "large" commercial project category will generally take longer to review due to special detailed requirements based on use and occupancy. High rise construction, covered malls, multi-family buildings over four stories or over 100 units, assemblies of greater than 1,000 occupants, education buildings, institutional buildings, and hazardous uses are considered large commercial projects. The anticipated review times reflect project complexity. Consult the review times matrix to understand how long it will take staff to review your project.
Occupancy or Tenant Change With No Construction Work Performed
If you are moving into a vacant tenant space with a new business similar to
The City of Asheville no longer has the authority to collect a privilege license tax (i.e. business license), with the exception of beer and wine taxes. This is in accordance with North Carolina S.L. 2014-3 Section 12, effective July 1, 2015.
It should be noted that while the Local Privilege License Tax is no longer being collected, the State Privilege License authority is still in place.