New or Changing Business

We highly recommend that you speak to staff prior to leasing or buying. Please find the different ways that we offer free Early Assistance.

If you are interested in starting or expanding a business in Garden City, there are a few things that you will need to do specific to Garden City requirements.

The first step to starting a business in Garden City is to make sure that the zoning will permit your business type. Secondly, you must ensure that the structure is built for that occupancy. Finally, for certain businesses, you will need to obtain a business license.  


Step 1:  Determine if the zoning is appropriate. 

Prior to determining what zoning regulations apply to your property, you must determine what your property is zoned as. This information can be found by searching your address on the Ada County Assessor Land Records webpage. After you determine what your property is zoned, you will need to determine what regulations apply. Garden City Code Table 8-2B-1 shows what uses are allowed in a specific zoning district.  Additionally, some uses are subject to specific provisions; you can find these provisions under Garden City Code 8-2C: Land Use Provisions.

If you are not sure what your use would be classified as per Garden City Code, please refer to the definitions of uses at Garden City Code 8-7A-1 Definitions of Uses.

  • If the table shows a P for the use in the zoning district where you are hoping to start your business, then it is a permitted use in that zoning district, and you can move on to step 2.
  • If the table shows a C, then a conditional use permit must be granted prior to moving on to step 2.  For more information related to conditional uses please visit the Conditional Use Permit.
  • If the table shows a blank space, then your desired business cannot be located at that location without amending the zoning or changing the code.

Step 2:  
Occupancy Review
If you will be making changes to the site or the exterior of the structure you will likely need to obtain Design Review approval.  For more information, please see the link to Design Review.  Once the Design Review is approved, you will need to obtain a Non-Residential Building Permit.  A building permit is required when you are changing the occupancy (as defined by the International Building Code) of the structure.

If you do not plan on making any physical improvements, either the Occupancy Analysis or Business Compliance process will be utilized.  For more information, please see the link to Business Compliance and Occupancy Analysis.


After completed applications have been received and official inspections and approval of all improvements, a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) or Certificate of Compliance (C of C) will be issued by the City.  A C of O or C of C is required prior to use or occupancy of any tenant space.  Just like our neighboring jurisdictions, a legal C of O document is mandatory for all businesses.


Step 3:  Business License
Business licenses are issued through the Clerk's Office.  A list of the licenses is located here: Licenses.


Step 4:  Start Utilities
For more information on starting utilities please refer to Utility Billing.


Step 5:  Start Business

Congratulations on your new or expanding business!  We thank you for investing in Garden City. 

We look forward to having you and your business as a part of our community and wish you great success.