Checklist: Opening a Lodging and/or Meeting Facility

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If you are thinking about opening a lodging and/or meeting facility in Chatham County, we have provided a checklist of things to do.  You will also find answers to questions you might have if you are considering operating a bed and breakfast, country inn, RV camp, campground, meeting facility or related facilities, such as when you need a permit and what taxes you must collect.

CHECKLIST 

Meet with each of the following departments:


STEP ONE:
PLANNING & ZONING - 
Click here to visit website

This is your first point of contact.  Residential zoning districts allow Bed & Breakfast Homes (see definition below) to open and operate without having to obtain a conditional use permit, while Bed & Breakfast Inns must obtain a conditional use permit to operate in a residential district.  Please contact the Planning Department to verify if you meet the B&B requirements for the zoning district of the facility. However, it is important to note that events, assemblies, or other related activities may require other types of approvals or permits for a B&B.

Definition of a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) Home:  Owner-occupied bed and breakfast homes with no more than two (2) rooms (units) for rent for stays no longer than seven (7) consecutive days.  B&B Homes are permitted in the R5, R2 and R1 Zoning Districts if the Home is located on at least 1.5 acres and meets the standard setbacks of the Zoning District. 

Definition of a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) Inn:  Small, owner-operated businesses where the owner may or may not live on the premises.  The building's primary usage is for lodging of overnight guests and meals served in conjunction with the stay of guests.  The facility must be located on at least three acres, with no more than six rooms for rent, and have double the setbacks on all buildings, structures, and high intensity activity areas.  B&B Inns may host events such as weddings, small business meetings, et cetera with up to 6 overnight rooms for rent to guests.  B&B Inns are permitted in the CB and RB Zoning Districts, but require a conditional use permit in the R5, R2 or R1 districts.   

Ordinances: Click here to view all current land use ordinances.

Contact:   Angela Birchett at 919-542-8285 or email

Office Location: 80-A East Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312 (behind the BP station & Hardees)

Mailing Address: Planning Department, P. O. Box 54, Pittsboro, NC 27312


STEP TWO:
  CENTRAL PERMITTING & INSPECTIONS - Click here to visit website

A bed and breakfast facility containing five guest rooms or less for rent is considered a single-family dwelling. The building must comply with the North Carolina State Residential Building Code. A facility containing six or more rooms for rent is considered R-1 Residential Group 1 and The building must comply with the North Carolina State Building Code. All facilities must comply with the county's Noise Ordinance. If you are having a special event, you also may need other special permits, such as a fire inspection or a permit for food vendors.

Contact:  Jenny Williams, 919-542-8226, Email

Office Location: 80 East Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312 (behind the BP station and Hardees)

Mailing Address: Central Permitting, P. O. Box 548, Pittsboro, NC 27312


STEP THREE:
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH - Click here to visit website

Definition of a Bed & Breakfast: For Environmental Health, a Bed and Breakfast is defined as a private home offering bed and breakfast accommodations to eight or less persons per night for a period of less than a week. Also, a maximum of four guest bedrooms may be offered under state regulations for a Bed & Breakfast Home permit. 

Definition of a Bed and Breakfast Inn: According to state requlations, a B&B Inn is NOT the same as a B&B. The B&B Inn is defined as a business of no more than 12 guest rooms offering and breakfast accommodations for nine to 23 persons maximum per night for a period of less than one week. However, the B&B Inn also:

  • Does not serve food or drink to the general public for pay 
  • Serves only the breakfast meal, and that meal is served only to overnight guests of the business
  • Includes the price of breakfast in the room rate; and 
  • Is the permanent residence of the owner or the manager of the business.

Other Questions to Consider: The questions below are important to consider as some may require other environmental health permits. 

  • How many total bedrooms exist in the home and how many of these will be available for overnight guests to book?
  • Will your site host meetings, public functions or conduct food catering activity? If so, you may be required to have a commercial kitchen which is separate from the innkeeper's domestic use kitchen. A separate application process is required for requesting a food service permit.
  • Is your home on a municipal sewer system or does it use a private septic system?  If on a private system, the septic system must be sized or modified to accommodate the largest number of guests based on use frequency and type of food service. A separate application process is required when requesting the evaluation of an existing septic system or the installation of a new septic system.
  • Do you have municipal water or a private well? State regulations require that existing or new wells comply with setback and construction specifications. You may be required to comply with the state's Division of Groundwater Quality's regulations if you prepare food other than the breakfast meal.
  • Are you planning to offer use of a swimming pool or hot tub on your premises? If so, a separate pool operations application process is required before a permit can be issued when a pool is available for public use.

Environmental Health Fees & Information: Click here for more information on Environmental Health regulations. Click here for a current list of fees.

Contact:  Lisa Morgan, Environmental Health Food & Lodging Program Coordinator, 919-545-8309, Email

Office Location:  80 East Street, Pittsboro, NC

Mailing Address: Environmental Health, P. O. Box 130, Pittsboro, NC 27312


STEP FOUR: TAX OFFICE
  - 
Click here to visit occupany tax webpage

  • Occupancy taxes must be paid monthly by all lodging establishments, including Bed and Breakfasts and Bed and Breakfast Inns. The forms and taxes are due by the 20th of the month for the preceding month. IMPORTANT: Forms must be submitted, even if no taxes are due.
  • You should contact the Tax Office to make arrangements to have monthly occupancy tax reporting forms mailed to you. A copy of the form with instructions is provided here as a PDF file. Click here to find out more and to print off an occupancy tax reporting form.
  • Complete the form and return with a check made out to Chatham County Tax Collections to the contact listed below.

Contact:  Margaret Goldston, Tax Office, 919-542-8224, Email

Office Location: Courthouse Annex, 12 East Street, 1st Floor, Pittsboro, NC

Mailing Address: P. O. Box 697, Pittsboro, NC 27312


STEP FIVE: TOURISM -  Click here to visit website

The Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) serves all of Chatham County and provides various services to promote lodding and meeting facilities to potential visitors around the state and the nation. So contacting them is a great place to start your marketing efforts. The CVB provides numerous services to Chatham County's tourism-related businesses, all of which are free. Below are just a few:

  • Include information for tourism-related businesses on its tourism website, which includes information on lodging, dining, shopping, attractions and special events.
  • Provide related information for the Chatham County portion of the NC Tourism website
  • Display brochures at the CVB's Visitor Centers and distribute them at lodging facilities, other attraction sites, trade shows, etc. 
  • Mail brochures with information sent to all visitors requesting information (Internet, walk-in, or phone requests). 
  • Assist in facilitating partnerships between lodging and attractions for getaway packages and other marketing opportunities to increase business for all facilities in the county. 
  • Include information about golf courses, lodging, attractions, and tourism-related businesses in annual paid advertising and public relations campaigns
  • Provide media with story ideas, information, and photos/electronic images of tourism-related businesses. 
  • Include all information, brochures, and photographs/electronic images in press kits provided to local, regional, and national media and film scouts. 
  • Work with the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development to promote tourism in our area.
  • Write and distribute monthly e-mail newsletter, Tourism ChitCHAT (distributed to individuals who have specifically requested to receive information, updates, and golf information about Chatham County).

Annually, provide listing information about county golf courses in Official NC Tourism Visitor Guide, the Official NC Golf Guide, semi-annual NC Tourism Event Calendar (print), and for inclusion in the marketing materials for Chatham County.

Applicable Taxes: Another reason to contact the CVB is to find out more about applicable taxes that must be paid by lodging and meeting facilities in the county.

  • Sales tax: Current rate – 4.25% to the state and 2.5% to Chatham County.  
  • Occupancy tax: Current rate - 3% of nightly lodging rate.  See information above under Finance Office and below.

Important Tax Resources:  It can be very confusing to figure out how what receipts are subject to sales and occupancy taxes. Below are two resources that you will find helpful.

Contact:  Neha M. Shah, 919-542-8296, Email

Street Address: 964 East Street, Pittsboro NC 27312

Mailing Address: Pittsboro-Siler City CVB, PO Box 1809, Pittsboro, NC 27312


RELATED RESOURCES

We have provided links below to other related non-county organizations. Chatham County does not require membership to any of the professional membership associations included in the list below nor do we endorse any of these groups.

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