close menu
This website uses cookies to store your accessibility preferences. No personal / identifying information is stored. More info.

Start A Business


A strong business community is vital to the health of our City – thank you for being a part of it. This information is targeted to businesses launching in or moving to Mount Holly, North Carolina.


Don't forget to register your business with the Mount Holly Chamber of Commerce's FREE Business Directory - click here!


Starting a Business in Mount Holly

If you’re thinking of starting, expanding, or relocating a business, Mount Holly is the place to be. Our guide is the place to start. With the help of this guide and the free assistance of Mount Holly Economic Development, you can begin your journey with confidence.

Permits, Forms, and Applications

Use this section to find information on permits, forms, and applications needed to open or expand your business. This list is not meant to be inclusive, nor to give any legal advice regarding opening a business, but rather, it serves as an important resource. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information included in the guide is accurate, businesses are urged to consult with the agencies listed in this publication and with private counsel before proceeding to establish a business in North Carolina.

The scope and complexity of a commercial project in the City of Mount Holly determines the regulatory process and permitting required—from new construction or outfitting an existing building, to occupying a “move-in ready” space.  Application fees for each permit, as well as costs such as system development fees for new, previously nonexistent utility meters must be carefully considered. It would be advantageous for you to take the time to research these costs and build them into your business plan upfront. Also, allow yourself enough time for the permit review—depending on the complexity of the permit, reviews can take one week or several weeks, so please plan accordingly.

Common City Permits

If no construction work, other than cosmetic, is involved...

  • Zoning Compliance Permit – The zoning district, in which your proposed business is to be located, will determine if said use is permitted.  For example, zoning prohibits a heavy manufacturing operation in the Central Business District, but one can operate an office, retail shop, restaurant, and/or many business and professional services.  Before you sign a lease in Mount Holly, it is best to begin the Zoning Compliance process, which is required prior to opening your business. If you own the building, in which your proposed business is to be located, a zoning compliance permit is needed as well.  

  • Certificate of Occupancy – Once you obtain a zoning compliance permit from the City, you will need to obtain a certificate of occupancy to legally occupy and run your business from Gaston County Building Inspections.  

If new construction or major renovation is involved...

  • Zoning Compliance Permit – By this time, you have spoken with the Zoning & Code Enforcement Officer with the City, or a member of the Planning & Development Department to ensure your proposed business is allowed at the proposed location.  The next step is to submit a commercial permit application for new construction or renovation of an existing space.  The City’s Technical Review Committee and contact person will guide you through the City’s commercial plan review process.  

  • Building Permit – After the City approves of the commercial construction or renovation project, a building permit is required through Gaston County Building Inspections for projects that include new construction, remodels, additions, tenant upfits of an existing space, requiring such things as the removal/addition of walls, plumbing, electrical, fire protection or structural work and a finally, for a change of use, such as an office space transitioning to a retail business or a retail business space converting to a restaurant.  

  • Electric, Mechanical or Plumbing Permit – Gaston County Building Inspections cover these types of permits under the commercial building permit application.  Similar to new construction, Zoning Compliance Permit for renovation is required first as authorization.  

  • Sign Permit – The City regulates commercial signage, including the size of signs and the number of signs permitted per lot. These regulations are found within the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Article 9 – Signs.  A sign permit must be submitted for review and approval based on the ordinance regulations.  It is important to note that the Planning & Development staff can review sign permits for businesses under one zoning compliance permit.  

City of Mount Holly Planning & Development

To ensure that your business is in regulatory compliance, one of the first stops you should make is the City’s Planning & Development Department. It is responsible for a wide range of activities and responsibilities, including economic development, land use planning and regulations, transportation projects, downtown development, open space conservation, and neighborhood improvement projects.  Planning & Development coordinates the city’s efforts with state and local agencies and staff members oversee the operation of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment, which hears appeals and variances.  Our Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer can also verify that the proposed location, in which you would like to locate, has no active code violations on record.  

Please do not use your own judgment in determining whether or not you will need a zoning and/or building permit or whether or not the property is zoned correctly.  Mount Holly Planning & Development staff can easily determine the correct zoning and allowed uses of a property or if permits are needed.  Please call (704) 951-3012  to request a consultation or pre-application meeting regarding the opening your business.

Other City Departments Involved When Establishing a Business in Mount Holly

Street & Solid Waste Department

The Street and Solid Waste Department creates a safe, clean, and inviting living and working environment within the City and provides the systems, services, and skilled employees necessary to do so.  The Street and Solid Waste Department’s responsibilities include street and sidewalk repair, refuse removal, and recycling throughout the City.  Please call Customer Service when establishing a new account for solid waste and recycling at your perspective business at (704) 827-3931.  

Public Utilities Department/City Engineer

The Public Utilities Department oversees the maintenance and operation of the city-wide water and wastewater system, which include their own respective treatment plant.  The Department is a resource when it comes to providing public utility service to your business, and while this is a fairly routine process for established commercial spaces, handled through Customer Service, new construction projects will require review from Public Utilities staff and the City Engineer, as part of the Technical Review Committee.  To obtain a Zoning Compliance Permit, a business owner will work through Public Utilities to ensure compliance with the Backflow/Cross Connection and Fats, Oils and Grease Ordinances.  

Office of the Fire Marshal

The Mount Holly Fire Marshal is dedicated to preserving life and property from fire, explosion and other related hazards through fire prevention, public education, and fire investigation. The Fire Marshal’s Office is also responsible for issuing several permits, conducting inspections, and having signature authority for Zoning Compliance Permits and Certificates of Occupancy.