General Business Licenses

Special Use Permits

Variances

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?
    • From February 11, 2019 to March 29, 2019, late fees will not be charged on any General Business License application as a part of the City’s General Business License Amnesty Program.
    • 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 or check 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.
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    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. You can apply to petition the BZA for a Special Use Permit through the 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 forward to the Board of Zoning Appeals for approval.
    •  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.
    • 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 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 weeks

    Variances