Auto Dealer

Business owners must obtain a zoning permit to sell automobiles within the City of Raleigh and its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction.

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Before You Apply Submittal Requirements How to Apply Submittal Instructions Fees Inspection Monitoring Your Project

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles minimum dealer license requirements include obtaining a “zoning letter” from the municipality in which the dealership is to be located. Within the City of Raleigh, this “zoning letter” requirement is accomplished by obtaining an Auto Dealer zoning permit.

Before You Apply

The property must be zoned in a district that allows the proposed use (i.e. Vehicle Sales). The zoning district can be found by using the City of Raleigh GIS iMaps and entering the address of the property. The permitted uses based on zoning district can be found in UDO Section 6.1.4.

If the property is properly zoned for this type of business, and the use for Vehicle Sales has been legally established, then a zoning permit for an auto dealership must be obtained.  Additionally, the auto dealer zoning permit must be obtained before applying or erecting any signs.

Submittal Requirements

The following information must be provided with the submittal: 

  • Auto Dealer Application (print in color)
  • Auto Dealer Landlord Approval (required if the applicant does not own the space)
  • Scaled Site plan/drawing of the proposed auto dealer property showing: All parking (display vehicles, customers, employees, handicap), driveways, streets, landscaping, building, and the location of the office(s). Refer to UDO Sec 6.4.13.B for Use Standards, including landscaping requirements.

How to Apply

Please email a digital PDF of the Auto Dealer Permit Application Packet (with all documents) to

Submittal Instructions

Digital submittal: Auto Dealer Application, Site plan sets drawn to a measurable scale, and other supporting documents must be submitted via email as separate PDF files. (Note: PDF is the only accepted file format)

Email subject lines should include:

  • New Submittals: Indicate “New Submittal” and scope of work (Auto Dealer zoning permit)
  • Re-submittals: Indicate “Re-submittal” and include your case number and scope of work (Auto Dealer zoning permit)


Fees are located in the Development Fee Guide. Search the document for "Zoning Permit - Commercial".

Permit fees are due when permits are issued.


A final zoning inspection will be required showing compliance with all required parking and landscaping as shown on the approved Site plan.

Monitoring Your Project

The Permit and Development Portal is a great way to manage your project activity online. Once you have registered an account, you can view your project workflow, pay fees, or schedule inspections.



Current Planning


Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - ZoningZoning