Business Registration - Special Permits


1. City Business Registrations are issued for the period from October 1st to September 30th each year. Business Registrations are based on state law and city ordinances.

2. All businesses that operate within the city limits of Elizabeth City must have a permit prior to opening a business or conducting any type of work within the City unless they are exempt.

3. When a customer applies for a Business Registration, a Business Registration Application form must be completed.

4. An automatic renewal system is utilized for renewal businesses. A Business Registration application will be mailed to each renewal business each year and must be completed and returned to our office. The customer may cancel at any time by sending a written letter advising same. If the customer goes out of business or no longer operates in our area, they must contact our office immediately in order that they may be removed from this automatic renewal listing. Failure to notify our office indicates that they are still operating within city limits.

5. Once the application is completed, it must be approved by the Planning Department. Depending on the type of business that is being operated, there may be other departments such as the Police Department, Fire Department and Finance Department that must review the application for approval.

6. If a business discontinues business during the year, a refund is not issued.

7. A separate registration is required for each place of business operated by the same person or business entity.

8. If a business is sold and operated under the same name, the business should notify the Customer Service Department in writing, stating the names of the new owners. If the business operates under the same name, conducting the same type of business, a new registration is not required.

9. If a business changes the location during the registration period, notification of this change should be made within ten (10) days after the change has been made. The original registration issued will be valid for the remainder of the registration year.

10. If a business operates without a Business Registration, legal action may be sought against that business or person operating that business.



1. City Taxi Cab permits are issued for the period from September 1st to August 31st each year. All taxi cab owners and operators must have a special permit from the City Clerk and Police Department prior to obtaining a permit.

2. Taxicab operators are approved by City Council.

3. All renewal applications for the taxicab are processed through the Police Department. The Police Department makes contact with the taxicab operators and has additional requirements that must be followed prior to the permit being issued.


The City has a special ordinance for peddlers and itinerant merchants. There are several important steps to follow prior to receiving an itinerant merchant permit.

1. Written application must be made to the Finance Director twenty (20) days prior to date of sale.

2. The application must obtain a minimum of $5,000 bond or 10 percent of anticipated sales.

3. The fee for the license is $200 and must be renewed annually.

4. The applicant must provide written consent of the owner of the land upon which applicant proposes to conduct business.

5. The applicant must provide a certified copy of Charter of Articles of Incorporation and a copy of authority to do business in North Carolina.

6. The applicant must provide the inventory of goods or merchandise which will be offered for sale to include quantity, wholesale cost and prices at which items are to be sold.

7. The applicant must provide a statement of gross receipts for all sales in the City in the previous five (5) years, including the dates.

8. The applicant must provide a list of previous employers during preceding ten (10) years.

9. The applicant may not operate their business until they receive their permit and must have this permit in their possession at all times.


Operation of pushcarts, food trucks and trailers in the central business district.

1. Specialty Permits are issued for the period from September 1st to August 31st each year.

2. For the purposes of this section, the term “pushcarts” shall be defined as a manually maneuvered cart or a self-propelled cart operating within the central business district.

3. The operator of a vehicle at outdoor locations on public property as described in this section shall first apply for and obtain a specialty peddler’s permit issued by the city manager under the provisions of this section.

4. The fee for a specialty peddler’s permit shall be in the amount of $250.00 to be paid by the permittee at the time of issuance and annually thereafter on September 1st of each year.

5. The city manager is authorized to require, in accordance with the issuance of the permit under this section, evidence of adequate insurance for the protection of the general public in connection with the operation of the vehicle.

6. Upon approval of the permit application and payment of the fee, the applicant shall be issued a permit which should be affixed to the vehicle in a conspicuous place at all times.

7. Permits issued under the authority of this article shall be nontransferable either as to individuals, location or item

8. It shall be unlawful to sell novelties, souvenirs or any merchandise other than food or cut flowers from a vehicle.

9. The director of parks and recreation or his designated representative shall have the authority to determine if the aesthetic value of the pushcart is in conformity with regulation.

10. Food containers shall remain inside the vehicle at all times and under no circumstances are to be placed on city streets or sidewalks. At no time shall cut flowers be sold from a stand, table or any other type vehicle than described.

11. Permittee shall have posted on the vehicle, on both sides, the prices of all food items or flowers being sold and no item may be sold for more than the posted price

12. No vehicle shall be left unattended for more than 30 minutes.

13. The city manager is authorized to designate the number of vehicles and the location of same within the allowed geographical area

14. The permittee of a vehicle shall be responsible for the removal of all garbage generated by the operation of the vehicle.

15. Noise making devices such as, but not limited to, bells, whistles and gongs may not be used to advertise or announce sales.

16. The city manager is authorized to impose additional conditions and limitations on the issuance of such permit as may be necessary to protect the safety and well being of the citizens of the city.

17. Any permit issued hereunder shall be revoked by the city manager for any violation by the holder, of any provision of this Code or any other ordinance of the city or whenever there is a violation by the holder of any condition, provision or qualification set forth in this section.


This special fee is charged to vendors during downtown city festivals. The ordinance was amended on the section dealing with Itinerant Merchants such that a one-time only, up to three (3) day permit can be issued to the entity or body organizing a city-wide festival or special event. This applies only to citywide festival days and peddlers and itinerant merchant permits shall not be issued for these days. Any business who has a permanent permit issued, who operates a business year round, would not have to purchase this permit. They would be required to have in their possession a copy of their annual permit.

An application must be completed on the Special Festival Application form and submitted to the Customer Service Department. The applicant cannot operate until they have been issued a permit.