Starting a Business

Starting a Business

Anyone who wishes to operate a business in the City of St. John’s must first complete and submit the application Planning/Development Application and the corresponding Development Checklist.

Where to submit your application:
You must submit your application to the third floor of the John J. Murphy Building (City Hall annex) if you are:

  • Using an existing commercial space or building for business purposes.
  • Undergoing interior or exterior renovations.
  • Installing exterior signs.
  • Erecting accessory buildings or fences or doing other sitework.

Depending on the type of business you wish to operate, other jurisdictions, at the provincial level, may be involved. Service NL processes permits, licences, approvals and conducts inspections on behalf of a number of provincial departments. Some of the approvals which fall under the responsibility of Service NL include: Building accessibility, elevator inspections, food establishment licensing and liquor licensing.

Any application which involves renovations must either comply with Provincial Accessibility Requirements or be eligible for an exemption.

Your application will be forwarded to the Planning and Development Division for review if you are:

  • Starting a home-based business.
  • Constructing commercial, industrial or institutional buildings or constructing extensions to these types of buildings.
  • Changing the type of use of a building if that building is not zoned to allow the proposed use or if the new use is a discretionary use in the zone.

Application Fees
Please refer to the Planning and Development Division Fee Schedule, the fee is based on the type of application you submit.  

Cost of Permits
Building and repair permits issued based on the cost of the work being carried out; you’ll be asked to provide an estimate to determine the permit cost.  Please refer to the Inspection Services Division Schedule of Rates page for information on permit costs.

Applicants should allow adequate time for the application process, particularly if other agencies/departments are involved. The length of time involved in processing an application can vary depending on the application type.

If you have any questions on your application or its applicable fees, please call 709-576-8565