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The Development Services Department (DSD) accepts and processes commercial permit applications.

As of October 12, 2020, the Permit Application Center (PAC) has reopened with limited public access. The public may enter DSD offices during the hours of 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (closed on public holidays) but are subject to these safety protocols. DSD staff continue to work during the regular business hours of Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (closed on public holidays) to answer customer questions, receive and review permit applications, and conduct inspections. Contact Permit Application Center staff at 828-259-5846 or with questions about commercial permits. Click here for additional contacts. 

At this time, customers should submit all commercial permit applications online through the Development Portal:

Click here for applications and information for large commercial Level II, Major Subdivision and Conditional Zoning projects that will require Technical Review Committee (TRC). review.

Permit applications and application packages should be complete before submitting to DSD. Incompleteness will add time to the review and approval process. A complete list of application forms and resources are listed below by project type. Submit completed forms and applications in .PDF format online through the Development Portal

Zoning requirements can impact commercial development. Prior to preparing plans, customers should obtain information specific to their site or schedule an Early Assistance meeting.

IMPORTANT: Before beginning an application, please check to confirm that your property is located in the City of Asheville’s permitting jurisdiction by searching the address using this tool.


Stand Alone Trade Permit



Minor Subdivision/Recombination



Commercial Signs/Merchandise/Outdoor Dining



Temporary Use/Events/Mobile Food Vending



New Construction/Additions


Note: For additions over 500 square feet


Required Building Construction Forms


Required Site Development Forms


Supplemental Forms (may be applicable)


Project Close-out Forms





Required Building Construction Forms


Supplemental Forms (may be applicable)


Project Close-out Forms




Tenant Upfit- First Occupancy


Required Building Construction Forms


Supplemental Forms (may be applicable)


Project Close-out Forms




Commercial Repair/Replace



Tenant Occupancy- Existing Building



Commercial Reroof



Commercial Demolition



Commercial Solar PV



Short-term Vacation Rentals (STVR)


Tree Removal


Commercial Development Fees



Lien Agent Designation

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 and Multi-Trade Permits

A permit for a minor residential installation is called a stand alone trade permit. 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
  • adding or replacing a water heater

Licensed contractors are encouraged to use the Citizen Access website to apply online for these permits. Permits are issued at application when using this website. Applications may also be emailed to or faxed to (828) 259-5676.


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 previous tenant and will not be performing any construction work, you need to secure Tenant Occupancy. The life-safety criteria and permit process is defined in the Tenant Change Out Bulletin (found above). Please complete the Tenant Occupancy Application (found above) and bring it to the Permit Application Center. In most cases, the permit can issued at the time of application, and inspections can be performed the next day. If the use you are proposing is classified differently from the previous use, you will be asked to submit plans for review.


Business Licenses

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.



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