Development Services


The City of Asheville is dedicated to ensuring safe development and construction while providing a high level of service and efficiency to those seeking development services. Development Services is the umbrella name for the development assistance and regulation provided by five city departments: the Building Safety Department, Planning & Development Department, Transportation & Engineering Department, Water Resources Department and the Asheville Fire & Rescue Department.

City of Asheville Journeyman Electrician Exam 
2015 Exam & Application Schedule
Exam Application

Tree Preservation in Steep Slope Zones
The City of Asheville has special requirements for the removal of vegetation within areas designated as Steep Slope Areas. Check out the Steep Slope Information Sheet regarding regulations found in Section 7-12-4 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). 

Plan Review Times & Project Tracking
Check out this matrix to understand how long it will take City of Asheville staff to review your project plans.
You may track the status of your review at any time by utilizing our online system  at

Step-By-Step Development Process Overview

Step 1: Project Definition
Step 2: Permit Applications
Step 3: Plan Review
Step 4: Inspections
Step 5: Project Close-out & Occupancy
Important Contact Information

Step 1. Define your project: The process for obtaining a permit depends on the scope of your project.

Small Projects: If you are preparing for a simple project like installing a water heater or a small project that does not entail adding square footage or changing structural components, you may qualify for a stand alone or small project permit, which typically take 1-2 days to process. Read more about small project permits.

Residential Projects:  Single family construction projects that include land disturbance, new construction or addition on to an existing structure, or significant renovation to structures will require some plan review by more than one department.

Commercial Projects:  Multifamily, commercial, industrial, or institutional construction projects involve more complex code requirements for both building and site elements.  These projects involve multiple departments in the plan review process, such as Building Safety, Fire Marshal, and Planning.  Depending upon a variety of factors like change of use, vacancy, or construction value, a more detailed site review may be required per the City's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  These entitlement processes are briefly described below:

  •  Level I Projects: If your project is less than 35,000 square feet or less than 20 residential units, it is called a Level I project. All projects that require plan review must comply with local zoning regulations. Begin the development process by obtaining specific information about your site, including zoning requirements, by scheduling a pre-application conference.
  • Level II & III Projects, Major Subdivisions & Conditional Zoning: Projects above 35,000 square feet or more than 20 residential units fall within this category. These projects are required to begin the development process by scheduling a pre-application conference.  Please contact the Office of the Technical Review Manager for more information regarding these larger projects.


Water Availability: One of the first steps in the development process is to determine if there is enough water capacity for your proposed development. It is important to begin your Water Availability Application (Large Projects/ Small Projects) early because a “letter of water commitment availability” is needed before you apply for other permits.

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Step 2. Applying for permits: After you have completed the due diligence required in Step 1, a city permit facilitator can assist you in determining the plans required for submitting your permit application.

Small Projects & Level I Projects: Permit facilitators in the city’s Development Services Department assist with permit applications for all small projects and Level I projects including Single Family Residential Development (One- and Two-Family) and Commercial & Multi-Family Development.

Level II & III Projects, Subdivisions & Conditional Zoning: The Office of the Technical Review Manager assists with permit applications for larger projects including  Commercial & Multi-Family Development, Subdivisions and Zoning Review.

Environmental & Engineering Permits: Depending on the scope of your project, you may be required to apply for Environmental & Engineering Permits including grading, stormwater and driveway permits. Your permit facilitator can help determine if these permits apply to your project.

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Step 3. Plan review: Once you submit your permit application, the maps, construction documents and plans included with your application are reviewed by technical experts to ensure compliance with development codes and regulations. As each reviewer completes the review, he or she will either "sign-off" on the approval or return marked-up plans with comments to the customer for revisions. When the necessary approvals are obtained, you will receive a permit to begin work. You can track your application status at the Online Services module for Development & Building Permit Tracking.

Level I Projects: These projects are subject to ministerial plan review, which means that are reviewed and approved at a city staff level. Level I Application Checklist (>10,000 square feet) and Level I Sketch Plan Checklist (<10,000 square feet).

Level II Projects (35,000-100,000 square feet or 20-50 multi-family units): Level II projects are reviewed by city staff, the Technical Review Committee, and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Level III Projects (above 100,000 square feet or 50 units) & Major Subdivisions: Level III projects are reviewed by city staff, the Technical Review Committee, the Planning & Zoning Commission and Asheville City Council. This process provides multiple opportunities for public input including a public hearing.

Types of review: Learn more about specific types of review including Design Review, Site Plan Review, Building Review, Grading & Erosion Control Review, Stormwater Review and Waterline Review.

Permit Addressing:  New construction projects can be assigned street addresses both before, or at the time, a permit is applied for. The Emergency Address Coordinator, Stuart Rohrbaugh, is responsible for street name and street number addressing for all new development within the City of Asheville. The Emergency Address Coordinator also helps to make necessary corrections of existing street addresses. The street address information is the backbone to the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. It is important you have your correct address number properly posted on your house or business. In case of an emergency, it will help Emergency Responders find your location. The Emergency Address Coordinator's office is located within the Development Services Department at 161 South Charlotte Street. To verify you are using and posting your number correctly, please contact the Emergency Address Coordinator at 828-251-4004.

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Step 4. Inspections: All construction that requires a permit must be inspected and approved before it is covered, occupied or placed into use. Visit the sections for different types of inspections to learn how and when inspections should be scheduled: Zoning Inspections, Building Inspections, Grading, Erosion Control & Driveway Inspections, Fire Inspections and Waterline Inspections.

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Step 5. Project Close-out & Occupancy: When construction work is complete and inspected, the Development Services Department issues Certificates of Occupancy, which must be obtained before a building is occupied. Certificates of Occupancy cannot be issued until all of the required inspections are complete and the project passes its final inspection.

Temporary Occupancy: A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy may be issued when the Building Official finds that no substantial hazard will result from occupancy of any structure or portion of a structure before all work is completed. A Certificate of Occupancy is required upon completion of the remainder of the work.

Regular Occupancy: Certificates of Occupancy are issued when all work for which the Building Permit was issued is complete and has had a final inspection.


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Contact Information
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 7:30am to 5:30pm
Phone: (828) 259-5846
Fax: (828) 259-5676
Physical Address Mailing Address
161 South Charlotte Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
PO Box 7148
Asheville, North Carolina 28802
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