Most construction and development related activities, including signs, require a Zoning Compliance Permit prior to the commencement of work. Once the permit is issued, the applicant can apply for an actual Building Permit via the Surry County Inspections Department in Dobson, NC. This includes Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC permits.  The City of Mount Airy Fire Department may require additional permits. See link below. 

The Zoning Compliance Permit is first required in order to ensure that the proposed activity is in accordance with the land development requirements of the City of Mount Airy. The Building Permit is required in order to ensure that the improvements will comply with the North Carolina State Building Code. 

The Planning Department staff encourages anyone considering a development activity to contact them at your earliest convenience. This allows us to address any questions or concerns regarding the project as well as the code requirements prior to any significant investment being made. Development activity includes anything from the placement of a utility building in your rear yard to the development of a new neighborhood.


Typically, a site plan drawn to scale or survey showing the proposed improvements and property lines of the subject property is all that is needed. Larger projects may necessitate additional information such as drainage and utility systems, parking, landscaping, and signage details.

Permit Review Time

Many Zoning Compliance Permits can be issued at the time of application, provided either the Zoning Administrator or Planning Director is available, and sufficient information as noted above is provided. Applications may also be emailed to the Planning Department prior to coming in. Other, typically larger projects, may require several days or even weeks depending upon the nature of the project, number of revisions needed, and whether or not any of the following factors are involved: request for annexation and/or rezoning, subdivision activity, TRC (Technical Review Committee) involvement, floodplain, watershed, or historic district considerations.

*Please note that the party requesting annexation is also responsible for advertising and notice costs.