Opening a Business in Newton

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Below is a list of the simple steps involved in opening a business in Newton. For more information, please contact Planning Director Randy Williams at 828-695-4277 or or Assistant Planning Director Alex Fulbright at 828-695-4326 or

Steps to open a business in Newton:

1.  Applicants are asked to visit the Planning Department, located at City Hall, 401 North Main Ave. Walk-ins are welcome! The staff will check to see if the proposed use is allowed within the Schedule of Permitted Uses of the Zoning Ordinance (Sec. 102-201).

2.  If the proposed use is listed as a permitted use within the Zoning Ordinance, the applicant is given a blue CO sheet, a Sewer Use application, and a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) application.  These may be completed in the office (completion usually takes 10-15 minutes).  A payment of $70 is made by the applicant and a receipt is issued.

Some fine print...

  • If the new business is located within a larger building with multiple businesses, where no separate utility account is being opened and a Sewer Use Permit has already been obtained, only the fee for the CO ($50.00) will be collected and only a blue CO sheet along with the white CO application will need to be filled out.
  • If the business is changing its name or owner but the use of the business is not to be changed, then a new CO must be issued showing the new date of issuance. No new fees will be collected.
  • If the name of the business and the owner are changing and the use of the business is staying the same, all applications will need to be completed and the full $70 fee will be collected.

3.  The telephone number for the Fire Marshal’s office is located on the back of the blue sheet as well as the Permit Center and Environmental Health.

  • All COs need a Fire Marshal signature to be issued.
  • If there is a change in use for the building where the proposed business is to be located or if the building has been vacant for a number of years, then a Safety Inspection will need to be completed by Catawba County. The Safety Inspection must be signed off on the back of the blue CO sheet.
  • A restaurant or food preparation industry will need to obtain a signature from Catawba County Environmental Health.

4.  A copy the completed blue CO sheet as well as the receipt are retained in the Planning Department’s records.  The completed CO Application sheet is given to the Commercial Development Coordinator and the Sewer Use Permit is distributed to the Public Works Department.  The applicant is responsible for having the blue CO sheet signed by all appropriate agencies.

5.  When the applicant returns to the Planning Department with the blue CO sheet that contains all of the required signatures, a full Certificate of Occupancy may be issued.

**A temporary CO may be issued to allow the applicant establish utilities to make repairs in order to pass inspections. In this case the temporary CO line will be signed by the required inspectors.  The temporary CO may be granted for up to thirty days and extended beyond that provided that work is being done and no one is occupying the building.

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