Starting, growing or relocating a business can be overwhelming. The City of Fort Bragg would like to provide resources and steps to make your journey easier. The City has an in-house Business Advocate to assist existing businesses in their growth and help new businesses open smoothly.
Give the City a call about your plans early in the journey. The City is aware of resources to help you begin or grow your business, and can help identify potential issues early in the process. Please contact the City’s Business Advocate at 707-961-2827, ext. 114, for information and referrals that will help your business’ success. Here is a partial list of the processes the City’s Business Advocate can help you navigate:
- Zoning Requirements: Before you sign a lease or purchase a commercial building, the Community Development Department can review the location’s consistency with the zoning ordinance. City Planners will identify what City reviews or permits may be necessary, and give information on signage, parking and utility requirements for your project. Home-based businesses must also abide by zoning standards for compatibility with residential neighborhoods. Your City Business Advocate will work with you to understand and navigate these requirements, and will help you avoid surprises as you develop your business. See the City’s Commercial Property Guides to learn about the current inventory of commercial spaces for sale or lease.
- Building Permits: Building Permits may be required to modify the space your business will occupy or to build new space. These permits are subject to the review of Community Development, Public Works, the Fire Department and the Mendocino County Building Department. For some projects, the Mendocino County Health Department will also weigh in. Your City Business Advocate will help guide you through this process to avoid unnecessary costs or delays.
- Business Licenses: Whether you’re operating from home or a storefront, office or industrial park, you will need a Business License. Business License applications are managed by the Finance Department. The issuance of a Business License requires Community Development, the Fire Department and sometimes a Building Inspector to approve a building for your particular business. Your City Business Advocate can help you navigate this process to get your business open.
- Utility Connections: When a building changes from one business to another, City sewer and/or water fees may be due. This depends on the historical use of the building compared with how you propose to operate the building. If fire sprinklers are required, increasing the size of your connections may be required. The Public Works Department analyzes the utility connections for new businesses, and your City Business Advocate can help with these issues.