Doylestown Borough has several ordinances that impact opening or relocating a business in town. This guide is designed to help you navigate the process. You will need to view a copy of the Doylestown Borough Code of Ordinances. It is available on line or in our offices. We recommend you check zoning information before signing a lease.

Location Information

Step 1. Check Zoning and Permitted Uses for the location you want to occupy.

  • Look up the address on the zoning map. Write down the location’s zoning.
  • Look up the use code for the type of business you want to operate from Chapter 27, Part 4, Section 406(8).
  • Write down the use and the use number.
  • Look at the “Table of Uses” beginning on Page 364. Find the intersection of Zoning Code and the Use Number to see if what you want to do is permitted.
  • If permitted then move to step 2.

Step 2. Determine if you need a DEP or BCWS letter/card.

  • Look up the use code for the type of business that was in the location immediately before yours. Write down the prior use and the use number.
  • Look at the use code you found for your use and write it down.
    • You need a DEP and BCWS letter/card if your use is number 33 or 34 but it was something different before that or if your proposed 33 or 24 operation is larger than what is there or if you are opening a beauty salon.
  • If you need a letter or card there is more info online, or you can call us to discuss.

Step 3. Determine if the location has enough off street parking to meet the requirements.

  • Again compare the use codes you wrote down above. If they are different or your space will be bigger of have more seats then you need to check the parking requirements. You will need to know the measurements of your space to determine this.
  • Look up the parking requirements for your use in Chapter 27, Part 8, Section 801.
    • Write down how many parking spaces you need to have.
    • Write down how many spaces your proposed space has. Note these must be spaces dedicated to your location during the hours you are open.
    • Does your proposed location have enough parking spaces?
  • If your Use is Permitted and you have enough parking you can expect that you will not have zoning issues. If you use is not permitted or only by special exception or if you have issues with parking or need a BCWS/DEP letter please talk with a zoning officer.

Tenant Fit-Out Information

Step 1. Determine if you need a building permit.

  • What will you be doing to the space before you move in? If you will be doing wallpaper, painting, tiling, changing electrical or plumbing fixtures in kind, installing partitions you do not need a building permit.
  • If you will be constructing, demolishing or altering structural components including windows, doors, doorways, bathrooms you will need a building permit.

Step 2. Determine if you need to make the space accessible.

  • What type of activity was the locations’ most recent Use and Occupancy permit issued for? Residence / Business / Mercantile (sales of goods) / Assembly (this includes restaurants, art galleries, etc) / Other
  • What type of activity do you want to carry on in the space? Residence / Business / Mercantile (sales of goods) / Assembly (this includes restaurants, art galleries, etc) / Other
    • If the two types of activity are different it is likely that you will need to make the space accessible to handicapped individuals. Please call us to discuss this.
    • If your activity types are the same and you are making any additions or alterations to the space you should plan on spending an additional amount equal to 20% of your cost to make the space more accessible than it is now.
  • Determine if you need an electrical, mechanical or plumbing permit.
    • If you will be installing electric wiring, adding or subtracting plumbing, or installing any heating, ventilation or other fixed mechanical equipment you may need those permits. Changing one light fixture or one sink to another one does not need a permit – adding a fixture where there is not already one does need a permit.

Permit Information

Step 1. Apply for the necessary permits including Use and Occupancy and Sign Permits.

  • An application and information sheet for the Use and Occupancy inspection and requirements are available in our office. You should apply early so that your application can go through zoning. Once approved by the zoning officer you can begin your tenant fit-out and should schedule the Use and Occupancy inspection for after you are ready to open but before you actually do open.
  • You will need a sign permit for any signs you want to display. The permitting process for signs takes approximately two months so you should apply early. Check our Signs Page for more information on the process and requirements.
    • You should also consider a temporary sign if you will be opening before your permanent sign is approved.