Business Location Approvals
A Business Location Approval (BLA) is required for all businesses that are located within City limits (formerly called Business Approval or Zoning Approval) prior to obtaining a Business Tax Certificate (a.k.a. business license). The BLA process is an opportunity to confirm that your proposed use is permitted in the property’s zoning district and that the structure meets applicable building and fire code requirements. Go to the BLA Process Flowchart for a map of the process.
All businesses operating in the City of Savannah are also required to have a Business Tax Certificate(BTC) (a.k.a. business license) and must submit the BTC application. Contact the Revenue Department at 912-651-6445 for more information.
Online Business Location Approval Application & Steps
Step 1) Business Location Approval Applications can be filled out and submitted online. Click here for the online application.
BLA Instruction Video Link: https://youtu.be/q6O04yT4_lI
Step 1a) All Home Occupations (businesses operating from a residential home address) must also complete the Home Occupation Agreement, in addition to the BLA application. Click here to fill out and submit the online Home Occupation form.
Additional resources – Starting a Business Guide
Determine Zoning District and PIN
To determine the zoning district and/or property ID number (PIN) for a property, consult the zoning map. The "Regulations by District" portion of the city’s ENCode Viewer or the principal use table outline whether a particular use is permitted.
Point of Contact - Business Approval Coordinator
For assistance with business location approvals or the process, contact:
Aislee Jackson, Business Approval / Zoning Use Coordinator
Visit the Food Truck web page for more information about approval and permitting requirements.
Visit the Starting a Tour Business web page for more information about the tour business approval process and requirements.
Before You Sign a Lease...
Prior to leasing, purchasing, or otherwise committing to a property you are strongly advised to confirm that the zoning and physical layout of the building and site are appropriate for the business use intended and will comply with the City of Savannah’s Zoning Ordinance.
This includes having a clear understanding of any code restrictions, limitations or architectural guidelines that may impact your operation and any building and site modifications that may be necessary to open for business.
The City’s Zoning Ordinance permits certain types of businesses in specific areas of the City. The City’s Business Approval Coordinator will assist you in determining whether a specific location is appropriately zoned for your business.
The Business Approval Coordinator will also assist you in determining whether your situation is a change of use or occupancy that requires building and life safety code compliance, and whether a building and/or site permit is needed.
Two Typical Tracks for Business Location Approvals:
(Note: For additional information, see Business Location Approval Process Brochure.)
- Change of tenant with same business use
- Allow on Average 7 to 10 business days to obtain business approval (Incomplete or high volume of applications, inconsistent records, missing previous use information, or bad address/unit/PIN information may cause additional delays)
- Change of business use (or new construction)
- Requires compliance with current building and life safety codes
- May require changes to the building &/or site, which would require a Building Permit &/or Site Development Permit
- Allow 7 to 10 business days for a response. If a building/trade permit or a site development permit is required your BLA will be pending the completion of those permits and a certificate of occupancy (CO) or a certificate of completion (CC) is obtained.