General Business Licenses

Special Use Permits

Variances

Home Daycares

Public Notice for Zoning Changes

General Business Licenses

  • Who needs a General Business License?
    • Any businesses establishing itself within the city limits must file for a General Business License within 30 calendar days of establishment. Types of businesses that require licenses include, but are not limited to, sole proprietorships, LLCs, corporations, partnerships, and nonprofits.
  • How much does a General Business License cost?
    • New license – $150
    • Annual license renewal – $100
    • Building inspection (new licenses only) – $100
  • What is the penalty for not having a General Business License, or for renewing late?
    • Businesses that do not acquire a General Business License within 30 days of establishment will be charged late fees based on their establishment date. Previously licensed businesses that do not renew their General Business License annually will be charged late fees based on their previous license date. Late fees are as follows:
      • 30-120 days delinquent – $35
      • 121-240 days delinquent – $50
      • 241 or more days delinquent – $75
  • Can General Business License fees be waived?
    • General Business License fees are waived for nonprofit organizations with valid 501(c)(3) paperwork.
  • How do I pay for my General Business License?
    • All fees are payable by cash, money order, check, or credit card through the Finance Department in City Hall (Room 100), or you can pay online here.
  • Who approves General Business Licenses? What is the process?
    • For new businesses, the process for getting license approval is as follows:
      • ZONING – The Zoning Department accepts the completed license form and reviews it for compliance with the City’s zoning and land use code.
      • POLICE – The Gary Police Department reviews the application and performs a background check.
      • FIRE – If the business is public and serves customers, the Gary Fire Department visits the property to perform a fire inspection. There is no cost for this inspection.
      • BUILDING – If the business is public and serves customers, the Building Department visits the property to perform a building inspection. The cost for this inspection is $100.
      • FINANCE – After receiving approval from all necessary departments, the applicant is contacted to pay their license fees through the Finance Department. Alternatively, applicants can pay license fees online here.
      • Additional City of Gary departments may review and provide comments or additional approvals as necessary, including Law, Environmental Affairs, and the Health Department.
    • For annual license renewals, the Zoning Department accepts and processes the completed license form, and the applicant pays their renewal fees through the Finance Department. Alternatively, applicants can submit their completed renewal form and pay their renewal fees online here.
  • How long does it take for a General Business License to be approved?
    • For a new license, the process takes approximately two weeks. Annual renewals are processed and approved within two business days.
  • Where can I get the General Business License form?
    • You can pick up forms for new General Business Licenses or license renewals at the Zoning and Building Department in City Hall (Room 307). You can also access the forms online here.

Special Use Permits

  • What is a Special Use?
    • Special Uses are land uses which may be necessary or desirable to allow in a given zoning district but which, on account of their potential impact upon neighboring land uses or public facilities, need to be carefully regulated with respect to location or operation for the protection of the community. These land uses and fall into two categories:
      • Uses either municipally operated or operated by publicly regulated utilities, or uses traditionally affected by public interest.
      • Uses entirely private in character which on account of their peculiar locational need or the nature of the service they offer to the public may have to be established in a zoning district or districts in which they cannot reasonably be allowed as a permitted use under the zoning regulations.
    • A list of recognized Special Uses for each zoning district are outlined in the municipal code. These lists can be found here, by clicking on the type of district in question (Business, Manufacturing, or Residential).
    • Special Uses are allowed only with the approval of the Board of Zoning appeals and Common Council. You can apply to petition the BZA for a Special Use Permit through the Planning and Zoning Department. The permit application is available here.
  • Who reviews Special Use Permits? How are the approved?
    • Special Use Permits are reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Departments before being forwarded to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board of Zoning Appeals hears the petition, and offers a recommendation to Common Council. Common Council approves or denies the request.
  •  What qualifications must be met for a Special Use Permit?
    • According to the municipal code, no special use shall be granted unless the following qualifications are met:
      • The establishment, maintenance, or operation of the special use will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.
      • The special use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other properties in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted.
      • The establishment of the special use will not impede or substantially alter the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.
      • Adequate utilities, access roads, drainage, and other necessary facilities have been or are being provided.
      • Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide for access management, ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion on the public roads.
      • The special use will be located in a district where such a use is authorized and all other requirements set forth which are applicable to such special use will be met.
      • The petitioner documents and presents to the commission that proposed special use provides for the implementation of sustainable growth principles and initiatives as approved by the commission.
    • It is the responsibility of the petitioner to prove in writing that their proposed use meets these qualifications. The Board of Zoning Appeals then evaluates the petition based on the petitioner’s provided responses.
  • What is required to apply for a Special Use Permit?
    • A completed application, available here.
    • Site plan drawing
    • Letter of consent from property owner (if applicable)
    • Receipt of payment application
  • How much does it cost to apply for a Special Use Permit?
    • Petitioning for a Special Use Permit costs $220, plus the cost of newspaper advertisements and certified mailers to notify affected parties as required by Indiana State Law. Public notice costs will vary. More information on the public notice process and associated costs is available here.
  • How long does it take to be approved for a Special Use Permit?
    • In order to be placed on the agenda for the Board of Zoning Appeals, petitions for Special Use Permits must be received by the Planning and Zoning Department no later than three weeks prior to the next scheduled meeting. The BZA meeting schedule and associated petition deadlines can be viewed here. The complete process takes approximately six to eight weeks.

Variances

  • What is a variance?
    • A variance, if granted, allows the property owner to deviate from a zoning ordinance requirement.
  • What types of variances are there?
    • The City of Gary grants two types of variances: Developmental Standards Variances and Use Variances.
      • A Developmental Standards Variance includes modifications of required setbacks, building heights, parking requirements, landscaping or other physical standards.
      • A Use Variance allows a land use that is not permitted in the district where the property is located.
  • Who reviews variance petitions? How are the approved?
    • Variances are reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Departments before being forwarded to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board of Zoning Appeals hears the petition, and offers a recommendation to Common Council. Common Council approves or denies the request.
  •  What qualifications must be met for a variance?
    • According to the municipal code, no variance shall be granted unless the following qualifications are met:
      • The particular physical surroundings shape or topographical conditions of the specific property involved would result in a particular hardship upon the owner, as distinguished from a mere inconvenience, if the strict letter of the regulations were carried out.
      • The conditions upon which the requested variation is based would not be applicable, generally, to other property within the same zoning classification.
      • The alleged difficulty or hardship has not been created by any person presently having an interest in the property.
      • The granting of the variation will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to other property or improvements in the neighborhood in which the property is located.
      • The proposed variance will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property, substantially increase the congestion in the public streets, increase the danger of fire, endanger the public safety, substantially diminish or impair property values within the neighborhood; improves access management; or will not negatively impact or effect ecologically/scientifically significant natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat areas, or identified natural features or mitigate any negative impacts.
    • It is the responsibility of the petitioner to prove in writing that their proposed use meets these qualifications. The Board of Zoning Appeals then evaluates the petition based on the petitioner’s provided responses.
  • What is required to apply for a variance?
    • A completed application, available here.
    • Site plan drawing
    • Letter of consent from property owner (if applicable)
    • Receipt of payment application
  • How much does it cost to apply for a variance?
    • Petitioning for a Developmental Standards Variance costs $200, plus the cost of newspaper advertisements and certified mailers to notify affected parties as required by Indiana State Law. Public notice costs will vary.
    • Petitioning for a Use Variance costs $400, plus the cost of newspaper advertisements and certified mailers to notify affected parties as required by Indiana State Law. Public notice costs will vary.
  • How long does it take to be approved for a variance?
    • In order to be placed on the agenda for the Board of Zoning Appeals, petitions for variances must be received by the Planning and Zoning Department no later than three weeks prior to the next scheduled meeting. The BZA meeting schedule and associated petition deadlines can be viewed here. The complete process takes approximately six to eight weeks.

Home Daycares

  • What are the requirements to establish and/or operate a home daycare in the City of Gary?
    • Home-based daycare facilities licensed by the State of Indiana are required to have a General Business License (GBL) to operate in the City of Gary. More information on the GBL process is available here. In order to obtain a GBL, the Planning and Zoning department must verify that the daycare is property zoned. Daycare facilities are permitted to operate in business districts, and in residential districts with a Special Use Permit. You can check the zoning by entering in your property address at the bottom of the map here.
  • My daycare is located in a residential zone. What do I do?
    • You will need to apply for a Special Use Permit. More information on that process is available here.
  • Is any additional information required to apply for a Special Use Permit for a daycare in a residential zone besides the completed permit application?
    • Yes. The BZA and Common Council ask that you provide a site plan or a drawing of the layout of your home daycare, including the yard and driveway, and photos of the home itself and the street where it is located. You will also need to submit proof of property ownership along with your petition. If you do not own the home where the daycare will be located, you’ll need to provide a notarized letter of consent from the property owner giving you permission to operate a daycare.
  • My daycare has already been in operation for a long time. Do I still need to go through the process to get a General Business License and a Special Use Permit?
    • Yes. If your daycare has been operating without a GBL, or in a residential zone without a Special Use Permit, you have not been in compliance with local laws. Obtaining a GBL and a Special Use Permit will bring you into compliance.
  •  I only provide daycare services for children who are related to me. Do I need a GBL and/or a Special Use Permit?
    • All state-licensed daycare facilities require a GBL. However, childcare homes that care for fewer than four children that are related to the care provider do not require a Special Use Permit.

Public Notice for Zoning Changes

In accordance with Indiana State Law, the City of Gary Department of Planning and Zoning requires all petitioners who come before the Board of Zoning Appeals or the Plan Commission requesting a change to the zoning code (variances, special use permits, etc.) to notify impacted parties of the proposed change. Petitioners are required to do this via Certified Mail with Electronic Delivery Confirmation, available at any USPS location.

  • What is Certified Mail?
    • Certified Mail provides the sender with a mailing receipt and electronic verification that a letter was delivered, or that a delivery attempt was made.
  • Who do I need to send Certified Mailers to?
    • The Planning and Zoning Department will provide you with an address list of every property owner within 400 feet of your proposed planning or zoning change, along with the public notice letter and envelopes. You must assemble the Certified Mailers, address them, and take them to the post office within 48 hours of receiving the mailing information, and provide the Planning and Zoning Department with your receipts as proof of mailing.
  • Why do I need to do this?
    • It is required by law. Nearby property owners must be made aware of and given the opportunity to respond to any planning or zoning changes that may affect their property.
  • Where do I get Certified Mailers with Electronic Delivery Confirmation?
    • You can get them from any USPS office, including the following locations in Gary:
      • 15th Avenue – 1490 Broadway
      • Gary – 1499 Martin Luther King Dr.
      • Tolleston – 2407 W. 11th Ave.
      • Glen Park – 320 E. 40th Ave.
      • Miller – 518 S. Hancock St.
  • How much do they cost?
    • Please contact a USPS office for more information on pricing.
  • Is there anything I have to do after sending the mailers?
    • Yes, you have to provide the Planning and Zoning Department with the receipts you get from the post office at the time of mailing so they can confirm delivery of the mail. Please deliver the receipts to the Planning and Zoning office in City Hall (401 Broadway, Room 304) as soon as possible after mailing your notices.
    • All public notices MUST be mailed at least two weeks prior to your public hearing. If you do not pick up your mailers from the Planning and Zoning office more than two weeks in advance of your meeting date, your petition will be automatically deferred to the next month’s agenda.