City of Asheville launches online Development Portal as streamlined option for development review applications

Large construction projects continue to down the downtown Asheville skyline.

Large construction projects continue to dot the downtown Asheville skyline.
At right, the 45 Asheland Condominiums are under construction.
At left in the background are the twin cranes
erecting the Mission Hospital for Advanced Medicine addition.


Developers, online applications for development review have come to the City of Asheville. Now you can file your applications for development review from the comfort of your office, your home, during off hours, whatever suits you. Application software by the City’s
Development Services Department has just launched.

This has been the most requested item from our customers.


Testing began in December and we are ready to roll this online tool out to the development community.


“This has been the most requested item requested in DSD’s quarterly customer surveys,” said DSD Director Ben Woody. “This is just the latest improvement since the inception of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Development Task Force.”


In 2015, DSD changed its office hours from four to five days a week. DSD also implemented a “Planner of the Day” process to get customers quicker answers to their questions. In 2016, the department launched its Technical Review Map and Development Project Assistant. That year also saw the inception of Open Counter Asheville, an online portal designed to help small business owners understand the specific license, permits and requirements for starting their business in Asheville.


“City staff have been innovating in many ways, but this launch represents a significant move forward in our process,” said Woody.


It also shows how the City is being responsive to customer requests. In other words, we heard you.


Development portal logo

How it works

The mobile-friendly Development Portal is accessible 24/7 through the DSD’s main webpage and

The Development Portal allows customers to “skip the line” at DSD’s Permit Assistance Center (PAC) to submit applications and plans for development review. In addition, the new Portal serves as a “one stop” hub to digitally schedule pre-application meetings, apply for trade permits, check permit statuses, request inspections, and pay fees. The Development Portal offers customers a faster and easier route for submitting development review applications and accessing select DSD services, while easing Permit Assistance Center congestion and increasing the department’s permitting capacity.


To assist users with this new tool, DSD staff has integrated a robust live chat feature into the development review application platform that virtually connects users to DSD staff during business hours, as well as a detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide. DSD plans to roll out additional capacity for accepting building permit applications later this year, and is eager to receive customers’ feedback to improve future online tool offerings.  


Jane Mathews of Mathews Architecture has been an early tester of the Development Portal. “My user experience so far  has  been very  positive,” she said. “The platform seems easy and intuitive  to navigate.”  


Going forward, Mathews said, the ability to upload permit information for clients will help her firm expedite the development review process.



Open house! Come learn about this tool

Development Services invites everyone to come to a Development Portal Open House from 10:30 a.m. to noon March 22, Public Works Room 109, 161 S. Charlotte St. The kickoff will begin with a demonstration of the new Development Portal on the big screen.

“Our team will be there and we will have laptops set up for one-on-one discussion on how to navigate the site,” said Claire Richardson, DSD Business Process Analyst.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the tool here.