Apply for a Commercial Permit


The Development Services Department (DSD) accepts and processes commercial permit applications for projects in the City of Asheville. Click here to confirm that your property is located in the City of Asheville’s permitting jurisdiction.

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, obtain information specific to your site or schedule an Early Assistance meeting.

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.

DSD’s Permit Application Center (PAC) is located at 161 South Charlotte Street and open Monday to Friday to assist customers from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (closed on public holidays). Customers can also contact or 828-259-5846 with questions. Click here for additional staff contacts. 

Click here for a glossary of common terms.

Application Forms and Resources by Project Type 


Application forms and resources are listed below by project type:


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

Before your building is demolished, consider allowing the Asheville Fire Department (AFD) to use your building for valuable life safety training. Please contact Fire Division Chief Wes Rogers at or 828-232-4511 to discuss. 


Commercial Solar PV



Tree Removal


Commercial Development Fees




Commercial Permit Information

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 $40,000 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
  • HVAC replacements ad system installation
  • adding or replacing a water heater
  • Generators that are primarily electric with gas work

Licensed contractors are encouraged to use the Citizen Access website to apply online for these permits (account login require). Permits are issued at application when using this website. Click here for a step-by-step guide to applying for a trade permit online.


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.