Helpful Hints

Location Preapproval

Before you buy or lease - verify with City staff that the business you desire is allowed at the location you want - often a different use may require a conditional use permit (public hearing), or additional parking, or worse - not allowed for the zoning of the selected site.

Change of Use

Changing the use of a site - if your business is a different use than the previous tenant - a building permit is required prior to issuing a business license - even if you do not plan to build anything within the tenant space. This is required to ensure the building meets State Building and Electrical codes for the specific use.

Food or Drink

Food or drink provided - any business that provides food / drink services - even prepared off site - requires a separate review by the health department and by the sewer department and a grease trap ´╗┐is generally always required - even if the prior use served food and did not have a grease trap.

Location

Downtown is a great location for businesses, but ensure your lease or purchase clearly defines who maintains the exterior. Downtown locations have unique requirements on maintenance unlike other areas of the City. Architectural Review Board approval may be required for exterior changes.

Occupancy Load

Occupancy Load - during the business license application review, the Fire department reviews the site and will establish the maximum occupancy load. Tenants with 100 or more occupancy requires state building department review for all permits.

Electric Work

Electric service upgrades/renovations - often tenants will need to add electrical service, circuits, new plugs or lighting - these all require a separate electrical permit issued from Franklin County Planning, Building, & Code Enforcement to a licensed electrician - please discuss your needs with Franklin County staff prior to doing any of the electrical work.

Need to Expand

Expanding concerns - always discuss with staff prior to purchase or lease - a development plan is required for building additions which means: you will need to contract with an engineer, submit plans and possibly provide easements.

Signs & Advertising

Signs are an important part of any business. Signs also require a separate sign permit (PDF) from the city prior to them being installed. (Electrical permits are also often needed.) Any temporary signs installed in the right-of-way are not allowed. If found, they will be removed and not returned.

ADA Restrooms

American Disability Act (ADA) Restrooms are required for any business that provides public restrooms (certain uses require public restrooms).The best thing you can do is call our building inspector for a courtesy visit to review your tenant space and needs relating to both building codes and ADA requirements.

Home Business

Several home business uses can be administratively approved. Please contact planning staff to discuss your proposed business. There are several home businesses that require a conditional use permit (public hearing) or are specifically not allowed. Day care uses are one of the most common requests. There are several additional requirements for day cares and a public hearing is required.

Next Steps

  1. We suggest making all purchases or leases subject to issuance of a business license
  2. Discuss business plan / location with planning staff
  3. Apply for a business license
  4. Secure and complete any additional permits required - including health department
  5. Receive business license
  6. Obtain sign permits before you order them
  7. Secure purchase / lease
  8. Consider joining the Chamber of Commerce