Opening your business is an exciting time, but it is important to make sure that all the steps are taken from establishing the legal entity, setting up accounts, selecting a business location, and obtaining all the necessary zoning and building approvals. The Maple Heights Planning and Development Team is here to help guide you through the process.
1. Finding a Location
Opening your business starts with finding the right location. Contact the Planning and Development Team to discuss the size of space you are looking for, your budget, and any specific needs your business may have for a location.
2. Zoning Clearance
Once a location has been found, the Planning and Development Team will help identify the property’s zoning district to make sure that your business use is allowed in the identified location. You may be required to seek a Conditional Use Permit or Variance, which includes an application and appearance before the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission. It is best to find out this information early because it can impact the timing and conditions of opening your business.
3. Pre-Submission Review
Before you submit plans for permits, the City offers a Pre-Submission Review to help business owners plan their projects and meet all the requirements of the City. The Pre-Submission Review is a courtesy process that provides the business with initial feedback and a rough outline of what reviews and approvals will be required. Please keep in mind that is likely you will need to hire an architect or engineer to draw up plans for renovations or to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.
4. Permits for Interior or Exterior Renovations
Most renovations will require permits. It is important that you contact the Building Department before starting demolition, construction or system upgrades to ensure that the necessary plans are submitted and reviewed and permits issued. Contractors performing permitted work must be registered with the City’s Building Department. A list of registered contractors can be provided. Call the Building Department at (216) 663-4094 for questions and a list of registered contractors.
5. Occupancy Permit
Every business must have a valid Occupancy Permit (also called a Certificate of Occupancy) before moving into a commercial space. The Occupancy Permit will be issued after compliance with the City’s ordinances and the Ohio Building Code are achieved. Only after an Occupancy Permit has been issued can a business begin operating in a commercial space. The Building Department will proactively work with you to ensure compliance with the Ohio Building Code.
6. Other Items to Consider
If you plan to sell or prepare food or beverage, you should contact the Cuyahoga County Department of Health to determine which permits and/or inspections are required. The Department of Health can be reached at (216) 201-2000.
The City may offer specific incentives to certain businesses that are locating to or expanding in the City. Contact the Planning and Development Department to discuss your goals and what incentives you may be eligible for.