Business Planning StageZoning StageLicensing StagePermitting StageAdditional Requirements

Every business license, location expansion and change of location application needs to be reviewed and approved by Zoning before a business license application can be processed.

The City of Chicago is divided into distinct zoning districts that reflect the diversity of business and neighborhood uses. Each zoning district has different regulations about the types of business activities that are permitted.

During a zoning review, we look at the following:

  • Proper classification of business activity
  • If the business activity(s) is allowed in a specific district
  • Compliance with parking, landscape, and building requirements
  • Verification of valid driveway permit

It is very important that you check the zoning requirements of your proposed business location carefully. It is critical that you:

  • DO NOT enter into any financial commitments (i.e. sign a lease) unless you are certain that you are in the proper zoning district that allows the proposed business activity
  • DO NOT assume the previous owner’s zoning designation applies

Utilize the below tools to research where you can do business in Chicago.

These tools are designed to summarize zoning classifications and primary business licensing requirements for common business types. To confirm the zoning status of a specific location, please schedule an appointment with a business consultant at the Small Business Center or call our Business Call Center at 312-74-GOBIZ (744.6249).

For more information on zoning, including the Zoning Board of Appeals, please visit the Zoning Ordinance Administration website.

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