Permits & Applications


Whether you are an Asheville homeowner replacing a water heater, a 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.*

Lien Agent Designation  (Effective April 1, 2013)

Effective for construction projects beginning on or after April 1, 2013, North Carolina law requires appointment of a lien agent.  Contractors and subcontractors can then give notice they are working on the project. Appointments are not required for (1) improvements under $30,000 or (2) to the owner's existing residence or (3) for public building projects.  Our office will require the lien agent designation before a permit will be released for commencement of construction, including stand alone permits.  You may visit the website for additional information and a step-by-step guide to completing the designation process online.

Stand Alone Permits (No Plan Permits)

Simple projects, such as small 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 may fax their stand alone permit application to (828) 259-5676 or email to

Small Project Permits

Even some uncomplicated projects may require plans but may be simple to permit. If your project does not entail adding square footage or changing structural components, it may qualify for a Small Project Permit.  Small project permits can often be issued more quickly than other permits.  Examples of small projects are include nonstructural interior alterations to an existing commercial or industrial space or interior residential remodeling like kitchen or bath renovations that entail changing cabinets and fixtures.  Appointments are not required but can be requested by calling the City of Asheville’s Development Services Department at (828) 259-5846.

Large Project Permits

Large or complicated projects require plans and documents be submitted to an in-depth review, which means that permits cannot be issued on the same day. The amount of time needed to review the information will depend on the complexity of the project. If your project entails adding square footage or changing structural components, it will require Large Project Permits. If your project is less than 30,000 square feet or 20 units, start by contacting the Development Services Department at (828) 259-5846. If your project is greater than 30,000 square feet or 20 units, begin by calling the Office of the Technical Review Manager at (828) 259-5848.

Occupancy or Tenant Change With No Construction Work Performed

You are moving into a vacant tenant space with a new business similar to previous tenant and will not be performing any construction work - do you need a "building permit?"

There are still life safety requirements that must be approved before you can open. These life safety items are verified through a permit and inspection program administered through the Development Service Department, located at 161 South Charlotte Street (828-259-5846).  The City of Asheville has streamlined this process to obtain your Certificate of Occupancy by working with one inspector and one form for you to complete. Therefore, you must fill out an Tenant Occupancy Application giving us information on the new business, certify you are performing no construction work, pay a nominal inspection fee, and site verify that all the required life safety items are in place before you open for business.

If you are performing no construction work the permit will be issued in most instances while you wait. The inspection can occur the next business day when all the life safety requirements are met and you have called for the inspection as per the instructions as printed on your permit.

 *Zoning Requirements: All projects that require plan review, whether they qualify for Small Project Permit or not, must comply with local zoning regulations. Zoning requirements can impact the type of business allowed in your commercial suite or how large and where your home addition can be located. Prior to preparation of plans, obtain information specific to your site and schedule a pre-application conference.

Application Shortcuts:

The Development Services Department accepts and process many different development related applications.  The links below are provided as a convenience, but do not include all instructions or information provided elsewhere on this site.
 ABC Packet  Level 1 Sketch Plan -Checklist
 Amendment Application  Level 1 (Over 10,000 sq ft) - Checklist
 Appendix B (2009 & 2012 version available)  Level 1 within Central Business - Checklist
 Business License Application  Informal Grading (Under 10,000 sq ft disturbed) - Checklist
 Commercial/Multifamily Application  Formal Grading (10,000 sq ft or more disturbed) - Checklist
 Single Family Residential Application  Fire Permits (links to multiple forms)
 Tenant Occupancy Application  Tenant Change-Out Bulletin
 Small Commercial Construction Summary (ez-B)  Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
 Stand Alone Application  Temporary Utility Service
 Outdoor Dining/Merchandise or Pushcart Application  Fire Water Analysis
 Metropolitan Sewerage District-Service Application (link to form)  Lien Agent Designation (link to website)
 Water Availability and Meter Application  Development Services Fee Schedule
 Temporary Use Permit  Historic Resources Applications (links to forms)
 Home Occupation Application  Flexible Development Application
 Permanent and Temporary Sign Permit Application (links to forms)  Subdivision Application (links to forms)
Residential Plan Review Waiver  Inspection Guide 
PV System Submittal Requirements and Forms  
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