Obtain a use permit

Use Permits.jpg

Use permits are essential for ensuring that specific land uses are appropriately reviewed and permitted under local zoning ordinances. If you have any questions regarding use permits, please call 910.254.0900.

Change of Use

Step 1.When is a permit required?

All new uses and changes to existing use require a zoning permit. Permits for certain uses must be renewed annually - see Specific Uses tab for more information.

Step 2.What do I need to apply?

  • Completed application form
  • Fee ($25) unless otherwise specified on the Fees tab for a specific use

Step 3.Required Improvements

As part of the permit review process, any improvements required due to the change in use pursuant to Section 18-359 of the Land Development Code will be identified. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Screening of existing parking
  • Additional landscaping (Table 18-326)
  • Full compliance with Divisions 1 and 6 of Article 5 of the LDC
  • Bicycle parking
  • Installation and/or repair of existing sidewalk
  • Closure or modification of nonconforming driveways

Step 4.Business License

Once you have confirmed your use is permitted and obtained a use permit, contact or visit the Collections office to obtain your business license.

Specific Use Permits

Due to the nature of certain uses, specific information is required as part of the application process. Application forms are provided for each of the following use types.

Step 1.Temporary Uses

Temporary uses are allowed on a limited basis; see Table 18-229 of the Land Development Code for allowable frequency. Application fees are based on the scale of the temporary use: 

  • Small-Examples include tree sales, weekend events
  • Large-Regional events

Step 2.Uses Requiring Annual Permit Renewal

  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Sexually-Oriented Business
  • Sidewalk Cafe
  • Street Furniture
  • Vehicle Towing

Step 3.Other Specific Use Permits

  • Community Garden
  • Home Occupation
  • Mobile Food Truck

Step 4.Special Use Permits

Some uses may only be appropriate under certain conditions. Uses identified in Table 18-19.2 of the Land Development Code as requiring a special use permit can only be approved by the City Council. For more information on the process, see Special Use Permits.



Step 1.Fee Amount

  • Sidewalk Cafe-Initial Permit: $250 plus  $2.50 per square foot
  • Sidewalk Cafe-Annual Renewal: $150 plus $1.50 per square foot
  • Street Furniture-Initial Permit:  $25
  • Street Furniture-Annual Renewal: $10
  • Shipping Containers: $50
  • Temporary Use Permit-Small (i.e. tree sales, weekend): $25
  • Temporary Use Permit-Large (i.e. regional event): $50
  • Temporary Health Care Structure-Initial Fee: $100
  • Temporary Health Care Structure-Annual Renewal: $50
  • Manufactured/Mobile Home Park (less than 5 acres): $50 plus $1 per manufactured home space
  • Manufactured/Mobile Home Park (5 or more acres): $100 plus $1 per manufactured home space
  • All other zoning compliance permits: $25 (???????)

Step 2.Payment Options

If you plan to pay in advance, planning staff must first notify the collections department to enable acceptance of payments.

Payment by Phone (910. 343.4745)

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Limited to VISA and MasterCard payments.

Payment in Person

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Billing & Collections Office
    Skyline Center
    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor

Payment by Mail

  • Please include invoice number or account number
  • Regular Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections
    PO Box 1810
    Wilmington, NC 28402
  • Express Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections

    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor
    Wilmington, NC 28401