San José is a great location for new and growing businesses. The City and its partners offer coaching for new entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners looking to locate or expand in San José.
Where to go for help to start or expand your business?
Businessownerspace.com is a partnership of more than 20 public, private and nonprofit agencies that assist businesses in San José. Many offer a range of services for small business owners. If you need basic start up help, Businessownerspace.com can help you.
BusinessOwnerSpace.com can now speak your language! With the help of a translation service we can now connect you with business assistance organizations offering no- and low-cost services specific to your needs. Your business has more support than you think and now you can find out more in 20 different languages ranging from Arabic to Vietnamese.
How can the City help me navigate permitting?The City of San José coaches businesses through the steps necessary to obtain permits, inspections for your business in the City. Your coach will help you navigate San Jose business tax registration, plan review, permitting and inspections with City.
- Register your business
- Specific details on how to manage your plan review, permits, and inspections
1. How to reach your coach at the City?
For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact your coach. Your Coach provides assistance in working through San Jose's plan review, permitting and inspection process.
If you need assistance with starting up your business, you can find information and resources at www.businessownerspace.com.
2. Check Your Zoning
Check your property's zoning and use.
What are the City’s commercial/industrial zoning districts?
For a full list of zoning districts, visit Title 20 of the City of San Jose Municipal Code. Some locations, although zoned correctly, may have significant parking requirements that restrict business use.
For example, zoning districts that allow for restaurants include Commercial Pedestrian (CP), Commercial Neighborhood (CN), Commercial General (CG), and Combined Industrial/ Commercial (CIC). Restaurants can also locate in Downtown Core (DC) and Downtown Core Neighborhood Transition 1 (DC-NT1) districts and conditionally in some industrial districts.
The City’s commercial and industrial zoning districts include the following:
- Commercial Office (CO) is a low-density office zone in or near residential and commercial areas.
- Commercial Pedestrian (CP) is a zone for pedestrian-oriented retail activity and mixed residential/commercial development.
- Commercial Neighborhood (CN) is a commercial use zone that includes neighborhood centers, multi-tenant commercial along connectors and main streets, and small corner commercial.
- Commercial General (CG) allows for larger-scale retail and commercial uses, including regional malls.
- Combined Industrial/Commercial (CIC) includes commercial and/or low-density light industrial uses, including big box retail, assembly uses and daycare centers.
Industrial Park (IP) zoning is an exclusive designation that includes industrial uses such as research and development.
- Light Industrial (LI) includes a wide variety of industrial uses excluding those with unmitigated hazardous or nuisance effects.
- Heavy Industrial (HI) allows for those industrial uses having hazardous or nuisance characteristics, including extractive and primary processing industries.
What are the City’s special zoning districts?
The City also has a number of special zoning districts, including downtown districts limited to specific geographic areas of the city. Note that some of the City’s historic zones or addresses may be more restrictive.
- Downtown Core (DC) restricts certain uses and building improvements within specified downtown zones.
- Downtown Core Neighborhood Transition 1 (DC-NT1) restricts certain uses and building improvements within specified areas of the City.
- Main Street Ground-Floor Commercial (MS-G) integrates mixed commercial and residential uses into a pedestrian-oriented zone.
- Main Street Commercial District (MS-C) includes primarily commercial uses within a pedestrian-oriented area.
- Planned Development (PD) provisions include those set forth in Chapter 20.60.010 of Title 20.
3. Hire a Professional
Learn what to know before hiring a processional.
4. Develop plans
The architect, engineer and building contractor you select can help you comply with City regulations (and any County regulations). These professionals can develop scaled site plans, elevations and floor plans for submittal. Learn more about the plan review process.