Permits, licensing and
everything else required
to open or operate a
successful restaurant.

Some helpful resources.

WNC and AVL resources.

Hunting around on the internet trying to find what you need as far as permits and licensing can be a daunting task. MARV hopes to alleviate some of the hassle by providing this list of resources to help you find what you need to meet your requirements. By law we are not allowed to create actual live links, but you can copy and paste any of the URLs into your browser to find what you are looking for.

The resources listed are provided as a convenience, but do not include all instructions or information required. For more information on Asheville resources, please be sure to visit:


Building Permit Stand Alone or Multiple Trade

ABC Packet

Fire Permit and Inspections

Tenant Occupancy Application

Self Gate-Check Commercial Application

Music License to play music in your restaurant or establishment

Checklists and Guides

Open For Business (Small Business Permitting Tool) Calculate Your Permits

Commercial Development Assistant

Restaurant Startup Guide

Inspection Guide

Inspector List


Development Services Fee Schedule

Water Resources

Public Works/Stormwater Services Division

Link coming soon

Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD)

Link coming soon

Employee Management

Link coming soon

NC Labor laws

Business Registration Checklist


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. A note on 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.

Lien Agent Designation

Effective for construction projects beginning on or after April 1, 2013, North Carolina law requires appointment of a lienagent.  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 & Multi-Trade Permits

Permits for minor residential installations are referred to as Stand Alone Trade Permits. 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 or adding or replacing a water heater. Licensed contractors are encouraged to use the Development, Permit, & Inspection Portal to apply for these permits. Permits are issued at application when using the portal. Applications may also be emailed to or faxed to (828) 259-5676.

Quick Touch Permits

Some permits do not require extensive review and only require review from Building Safety staff. These can generally be turned around in one to three working days. These include permits for demolition, emergency repairs, reroofing, like-for-like replacement of finishes and equipment, construction trailers, foster care, work-after-hours, and permits for the placement of a mobile home in an established park or replacement of an existing mobile home.

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, additions of less than 500 square feet, accessory structures, interior remodel, or tenant up-fits of existing units.

Standard & 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.

Greenville, SC New Business Requirements

Are you planning to start a business in the city of Greenville? If so, the following checklist is a convenient tool that outlines some of the most important steps that are required. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and depending on your situation, other requirements may apply. Representatives from the City’s Building Codes, Business License and Planning & Development Divisions are available to assist you, so please call or come in to discuss your plans with a City staff member if you have any questions.

For those already familiar with the process, the checklist is a just a great way to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.

1. Have you verified the address where you plan to set up your new business?

Check online at

2. Have you confirmed that the zoning and available parking on the site are suitable for your business?

For the City of Greenville, visit

3. If you’re locating in the Central Business District (CBD), have you checked to see if special zoning requirements apply for renovations?

4. If you're planning to build or make renovations to an existing building, have you gotten a building permit?

For building permit requirements, visit

Building permits can be obtained in the Permits & License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. Commercial building permits can only be issued to properly licensed contractors, so make sure your contractor is properly licensed by the State of South Carolina and has a City of Greenville business license. The following steps are typically handled by your contractor:

A. Submit building renovation plans to the Building Codes office at City Hall.

City staff will review the plans, and based on code requirements, will either approve them or request that you make some changes. Staff will issue a building permit once all building code and zoning requirements have been met.

B. Acquire plumbing, heating, air conditioning and gas permits if building or renovation plans will require alterations of these systems. These permits can be obtained at the Permits & License office on the 4th floor of City Hall.

5. Have you applied for a sign permit?

You must have a signed permit before you can erect any signs at your address. A sign permit can be obtained at the Permits and License office on the 4th floor of City Hall.

6. Has your contractor requested all of the required inspections throughout the construction process?

Inspections are conducted by the City over the course of construction and a final inspection is required once building renovations are completed. Your contractor is responsible for ensuring that all inspections are requested in the proper sequence. Your contractor must request inspections in advance.

7. Have you applied for a Certificate of Occupancy?

Once your building passes all inspections you will need a Certificate of Occupancy. You may apply for the Certificate of Occupancy at any time during the process but the certificate cannot be issued until all inspections for any other permits have been completed. Applications can be obtained at the Permits and License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. A separate inspection is required for issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Normally this application and request for inspection is handled by the tenant or business owner. A 24-hour application processing time is required prior to scheduling this inspection.

8. Have you applied for a business license?

For business license info, visit

You must have a business license to operate your business in the city of Greenville. Applications can be obtained at the Permits and License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. Fees for business licenses vary according to the type of business you are operating. Some businesses such as restaurants and nightclubs are required to have a background check on all owners, officers and managers of the business. This requirement will add additional time to your business license process and must be completed prior to applying for and obtaining a license for these types of businesses. Contact a business license staff person for more information.


Get in Touch

Big or small, we’ve got a solution when you need it. We are here to support you and answer any questions you may have about our services or vendors. Let’s talk about your needs.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a message.