The Building and Zoning Department provides information and instruction to citizens, business owners, builders, and developers within the City.

The Department coordinates Zoning, Building/Construction Permits, Building Inspections, Code Enforcement, GIS, Business Licensing and E911 Addressing information for the City. Department personnel coordinate review and approval of all land development and building construction projects within the City. Department responsibilities include enforcement of the City’s zoning, subdivision, building, property maintenance codes, and processing requests for new water and sewer service.

Staff also provides support to various City Boards and Commissions related to appeals, zoning, etc.

Fee Schedule FY 2023-2024

CITY HOTLINE 803-283 -CITY (2489)

Planning to start a new business?

  • When a location is determined, verify proper zoning through department personnel.
  • With zoning approval for existing buildings, complete a Zoning and Inspection Occupancy Permit Application.  Fees are applicable.
  • Once the application receives zoning approval, it will be forwarded to the Fire Department where an inspection can be set up between you and the Fire Marshal. This inspection will determine the safety of the building prior to occupancy. If repairs or remodeling is warranted, a building permit may be required.
  • When the inspection has been completed and the Fire Marshal has approved occupancy, complete a New Business License Application. Based on estimated gross receipts and upon calculation and fee payment, a business license can be issued.
  • If a business sign is desired, complete a Sign Permit Application and return for approval. Fees are applicable.

New Business License

Every person engaged or intending to engage in any calling, business, occupation, or profession, in whole or in part, within the City of Lancaster is required to obtain a business license and pay a license fee.

Such fee, for each business subject to a business license fee, must be paid on or before April 30th of each year.

Business License

For more information call 803-283 -CITY (2489) or email.

2017 Business guide

Your guide to doing business in the City of Lancaster, SC

Hospitality Tax

Hospitality Tax is a two percent (2%) local hospitality fee tax upon the gross proceeds derived from the sale of all prepared foods and beverages served within the City of Lancaster by any establishment.  In addition, the tax is imposed on all prepared foods and beverages sold in establishments licensed.

Prepared foods means food prepared or modified by an establishment that at the time of sale is ready for consumption by the public, regardless of the food’s actual quantity, presentation, or packaging.

Establishment means any business within the City of Lancaster that sells prepared meals and beverages.

What items are taxed?*
All food and/or beverages prepared or modified for immediate consumption, such as:

  • Produce (vegetables, fruit) cut, sliced cored, etc., or prepared/modified on site.
    (vegetable/fruit trays)
  • Meats and cheeses cut, sliced or prepared on site (meat/cheese trays).
  • Salads made on site.
  • Sandwiches/subs prepared on site.
  • Bakery items cooked/naked on site.
  • Coffee brewed on site.
  • Popcorn made on site.
  • Ice Cream prepared on site.
  • Seafood steamed/cooked on site.
  • Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, nachos, chicken, etc.
  • Packaged dinners cooked on site (Thanksgiving dinners, etc).
  • Foutain drinks
  • Any food prepared, modified, or cooked on site by an employee or contractor.
  • Any prepared foods or meals that are subject to South Carolina Sales Tax.
  • Any served beverages, inclusive of beer, wine, and liquor.

What items are exempt from the tax?*

  • Cold, canned or bottled drinks in a vending machine on site.
  • Consolidating fruit into a basket (fruit basket).
  • Prepackaged items (not prepared or modified on site) consolidated into a larger container to make one package (gift basket).
  • Prepackaged, ready-to-consume meats, cheeses, and deli salads.
  • Packaged dinners that are not cooked, or modified on site.
  • Items cooked or baked off site without modifications on site.
  • Ready-to-eat prepackaged food a customer re-heats on site (customer makes the food consumable).
  • Prepackaged cans, boxes, or jars of food.
  • Bags of chips, pretzels, nuts, candy or other prepackaged food items.

If you have any questions, please call 803-289-1462.

*This list serves as an example only and is not an all-inclusive list of exempt items.

Planning to build/remodel?

The Building and Zoning Department will provide information and instructions to citizens, builders, and developers within the City.

No matter the extent of your project, be sure to call the Building, and Zoning Department to verify if your project will require a building permit. If a permit is required, the first step is completing a Building Permit Application. The complexity of the project determines the review time needed and plans to be submitted.

 Common Projects Requiring a Building Permit

  • Grading
  • New construction
  • Room additions or expansions
  • Structural repairs, remodeling, vinyl siding installation, re-roofing, and alterations
  • Accessory structures such as sheds, gazebos, decks, patio slabs, swimming pools, etc.
  • Carports and detached garages
  • Fences over 6′ in height
  • Vinyl Siding
  • Window Replacement
  • Reroofing

Who needs a building permit?

Any person, firm, business, or corporation planning to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, convert, or demolish any building or structure within the corporate limits of Lancaster.

During “New Construction” process.

The City of Lancaster requires contractors to comply with South Carolina State License Regulations for residential work. General Contractor certification is required when the total value of non-residential work exceeds $5,000. All contractors and sub-contractors must possess a current City of Lancaster business license. In addition to a building permit, other permits (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, gas) may be required. Also, your project may require the submission of a sketch or professional drawing. All plans submitted require a plan review. Plan reviews normally take 3 – 10 business days, depending on the complexity of the project.

Other Types of Permits Required

  • Electrical
    • Electrical installations (permanent and temporary)
    • Low voltage (commercial security systems)
  • Plumbing
    • Water systems
    • Sewer systems
    • Irrigation systems
    • Cross connection control
  • Mechanical
    • Air conditioning equipment
    • Heating equipment
    • Boilers
    • Combustion and ventilation air
    • Chimneys and vents
    • Ventilation and Exhaust systems
    • Solar energy utilization
    • Refrigeration
    • Ducts and duct systems
    • Incinerators
    • Insulation
  • Gas
    • Piping installation (air test required on all gas line work)
    • Venting
    • Heating Equipment

The City of Lancaster requires electrical, plumbing, gas, and mechanical contractors to possess a Master Qualification Card (purchased through the Building and Zoning Department), City of Lancaster business license, and a South Carolina Contractor’s License or certification through the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Verification of Zoning

The City of Lancaster has eleven (11) zoning classifications. Verifying zoning prior to building, or even purchasing property, is very important. For your convenience, a City zoning map may be purchased in the Building and Zoning Department for a fee. Maps for reference use are available at no charge. 

Please click link for City of Lancaster Official Zoning Map,

For more information, call 803-283 -CITY (2489) EXT 5 or visit us at 216 S. Catawba St.  Lancaster, SC 29720