Late Night Establishment Permit Application

The City of Charleston regulates “Late Night Entertainment Establishments” (LNE’s) by zoning codecity ordinance, and business license

LNE’s are defined as businesses that:

  • Are licensed to allow on-premises consumption of beer, wine, or alcohol
  • Are not located within a building that also provides accommodations uses (i.e., hotel or inn) with a minimum of 20 rooms
  • Are open to the public after midnight
  • Are required to have a Class 8.4 (formerly 7a or 7b) business license

If your existing or new business meets the above criteria, you need to complete the LNE Permitting Process. 


  1. If your establishment is located within 500 feet of a residential zoning district (if not, skip to step 2): 
    1. Apply for a Late Night Use Special Exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals – Zoning (BZA-Z). This can be done by filling out the BZA-Z Application and submitting all required documentation. Anyone applying for a Late Night Use Special Exception should contact the Zoning Division prior to an application being submitted; see contact information below.
    2. ZONING MAP: Use our interactive zoning map here to look up your property, its zoning, and overlay zones (if applicable). Use the measure tool in the City’s interactive Mapnet to determine proximity to a residential zoning district. 
    3. Verify zoning district and conditions: An LNE may be permitted within 500 feet of a residential zoning district if the LNE is within one of the following zoning districts and satisfies all the conditions in Zoning Code Sec. 54-206-y (documentation required):
      1. Mixed Use 2
      2. Mixed Use 2 Workforce Housing
      3. Business Park
      4. Heavy Industrial
      5. General Business and Light Industrial districts that are not in the General Business Late Night Overlay or Light Industrial Late Night Overlay Zones (LNE’s are not permitted in these Overlay Zones).
  2. Apply for both a LNE Permit and a Business License Certificate of Occupancy (BLCO). The LNE Permit and BLCO Applications may be submitted concurrently. However, a BLCO will not be granted until the LNE Permit Application has been processed. It is recommended that you submit these applications at least 30 days in advance of your planned opening of the late-night use.
    1. Submit a LNE Permit Application. The LNE permit application asks for information relating to your business operations, security measures, noise abatement, waste management, and a fire safety and emergency action plan. Once submitted, applications will be reviewed by the LNE committee, which consists of staff from various City departments. The committee will contact the applicant within 14 days of submittal to either approve a permit or request additional information. The following other documents may assist you in completing the LNE permit application:
      1. Final LNE Ordinance (PDF)
      2. LNE Ordinance Amendment (PDF)
    2. Apply for a BLCO if you do not have one already. If you already have a BLCO, you will need to resubmit for a change in hours of operation.

LNE Permit Process Overview Flowchart Opens in new windowCONTACT US