Greenville means business, and the City is committed to helping small businesses with the process of opening, relocating, or expanding inside the City limits. A trained staff at the City's Office of Economic Development is available to help guide you through governmental procedures by reviewing requirements, rules, and regulations that can sometimes seem overwhelming and discouraging.
City staff is available to assist business owners in a variety of ways including:
- verifying zoning codes and building codes,
- reviewing fire code requirements,
- expediting inspections,
- navigating through site plan reviews,
- coordinating utility service registration, and
- connecting with other resources such as workforce training
I have an idea for a small business, but I don't have a business plan. Where can I find assistance with creating one?
The Pitt Community College Small Business Center is a great place to start. The SBC is dedicated to the training of potential and existing small business owners. Session are offered as free seminars as well as customized business training events. Along with the sessions, the SBC maintains a Business Resource Center that is open to the public and designed for your use as you prepare a business/market plan, conduct research, and learn new tools to help you run your business better.
I have a business plan and a location in mind. What are my next steps?
We recommend that you contact our Office of Economic Development which will help you set up a predevelopment meeting with someone from our Planning Division prior to submitting applications and plans to determine your next steps, including if the zoning of the property allows your proposed business use and if there are any major issues in meeting the basic requirements that might prevent you from moving forward. The Zoning Ordinance outlines the uses that are allowed in certain zoning districts. The Office of Economic Development can be reached at (252) 329-4502. Our offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
We recommend that you bring the following to the predevelopment meeting:
- A written description of the project and the address of the proposed site
- Information regarding any proposed construction, modifications, parking, layout, and existing building or site conditions
- Location of utilities, hydrants, vehicular access, grading, wetlands, etc.
If I am starting a new business, do I need a business license?
No. The State of North Carolina eliminated the business licensing program a few years ago.
Site Plan Submittal & Zoning
The submission of a site plan follows the predevelopment meeting. The site plan, a scaled drawing created by a North Carolina licensed engineer or architect or North Carolina surveyor, should be submitted to the Planning Division for review and approval. The plan should include all improvements and features of a project, excluding the interior of the buildings. If there are no exterior improvements proposed, a site plan may not be required.
Site plans will be reviewed to ensure that they are in compliance with City ordinances, policies, and other regulations. Staff will also work with you to ensure that all other necessary approvals have been granted by the State, Pitt County, or other governmental agencies. The site plan review process takes approximately three weeks. Plans can be submitted by filling out this application and contacting Elizabeth Blount, Planner II, at (252) 329-4608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that any specific zoning changes or special exceptions must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission or Board of Adjustment prior to the approval of a site plan.
Building Plans and Building Codes
Following the approval of the site plan, building plans must be submitted to the Inspections Division for review. These plans should include all improvements and features of a building. Building plans will be evaluated in accordance with the North Carolina State Building Code. The Inspections Division will also advise you on the permitting required for the construction and/or rehabilitation of a building. The Inspections Division can be reached at (252) 329-4466.
You have your site plan and building plan approved. If your business is a new construction, it's time to set up a preconstruction meeting. To do so, contact the City's Engineering Division at (252) 329-4467. For the sake of convenience, the City will make an effort to coordinate the preconstruction meeting with representatives from Pitt County, but this may not always be possible.
Inspections will be performed by the Inspections Division and the Fire Marshal to ensure that new construction is being performed as approved in the building plans or existing structures meet requirements. The business owner, or representative, is responsible for scheduling inspections and ensuring that all requirements are met. All construction and improvements must be approved prior to receiving a certificate of occupancy.