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What You Need to Know About Business Licenses and Zoning

Business licenses and zoning have always been important issues that entrepreneurs need to know about and stay current with. This is especially important today because of the rise of the virtual business. Sometimes these highly successful activities are operated out of a garage or home den office but they may be in violation of home zoning ordinances. At the same time, theses rules can shift for traditional physical location enterprises. A business license or permit is what is needed to legally operate a business no matter how large or small and wherever situated. You should check with your local city and state government offices to see what is required and how to apply for it and what the fees are. Depending on the business, additional permits and/or licenses may be required. For example, a food permit is necessary to sell or cook food. Other permits and licenses that may come into play include the following: seller’s permit, a police permit, building permit and a zoning permit. If you are a professional such as a doctor and  general contractor, you will also need your state occupational license. If you do operate a business out of your home you may be obliged to obtain a home occupation permit if your community restricts home-based businesses. Zoning, of course, is the government’s way of keeping residential areas residential and commercial areas commercial. Zoning can affect such aspects as advertising signage, parking, the number of people you employ, use of hazardous materials, noise, smoke or odor, and other factors. If you run into roadblocks regarding zoning, you can apply for a zoning variance that may involve filing out forms and presenting your business situation at a hearing. It is wise to consult business counsel if you do have to appeal a zoning ordinance. Small business entrepreneurs have expended a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build their business. What happens, however, when your business is under attack by special interest groups or associations who want to impede your ability to be in business? Among ‘barriers to entry’ faced by small business folks, who are either just starting or who have been in business for a while, are high fees, questionable occupational licensing requirements, and onerous government regulations such as zoning restrictions and ordinances. Competitors who might be able to offer similar goods and services cheaper often threaten established businesses. One topical example might be the now ubiquitous food truck. The food truck owner is a small business entrepreneur. But the businesses in the area where the food truck is operating may try to ban the truck from being or parking there.  The existing brick and mortar businesses may have been successful in getting “proximity restrictions.” If you think your small business has or may be facing some opposition to operating, you should have a consultation with your business attorney who can give you more advice as to your particular situation. R. D. Adair, PLLC offers experienced business counsel and can assist you with your business license, permits and zoning issues. To learn more about business licenses, permits and zoning maintaining and protecting your online presence in the 21st Century world, or how we can assist you with a related matter, contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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