Skip to main content

Every city has its own zoning regulations that dictate what types of developments are allowed in certain areas. To begin construction on a commercial building project, you must first secure a zoning compliance permit. If the chosen site is not zoned for commercial use, you may need to apply for a zoning variance. Choosing a site that is already zoned for commercial use can simplify the process, but there may still be regulations and limitations that impact the design of the building, such as lot coverage, parking requirements, and the type of business allowed. Cities may also classify businesses into different categories, such as C1, C2, and C3, which can affect the design of the building.


A C1 business would include smaller shops and companies that homeowners wouldn’t mind living close to. That is why C1 zones are near residential areas.


A C2 zone is usually in the downtown district with heavy traffic and is more saturated with commercial buildings.


C3 businesses include bigger buildings like shopping malls or more industrial companies. These zones are usually farther away from residences.

You should always check the zoning charts of a city before making any building plans.

Verify with the Planning Commission

Once you have obtained the necessary zoning permit, it is important to check with your local planning commission for any additional regulations that may apply to your project. There may be building code limitations on the size of the building, as well as restrictions on the height of the building due to sightline considerations. It is also important to be aware of any other local ordinances or covenants that may impact the design of the building.

Building Permits

Lastly, you will need to secure city and county building permits. Several different permits are required for commercial use.

Commercial projects will need:

  1. Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Permit
  2. Plans stamped by a licensed architect and engineer
  3. Fire Protection and Fire Alarm Plans
  4. Zoning Compliance Permit