Business Occupancy

Starting a new business or locating one in the village of Shorewood requires some planning to ensure that your start-up will proceed smoothly. It is important that you determine that your business will meet Village Code requirements and existing ordinances. The following brochures, checklist and occupancy permit information are a good place to begin the process of opening a business:

Occupancy Permit

Every business in the village of Shorewood requires approval of an occupancy permit before opening. Occupancy permits ensure that the space occupied by a business is up to code and allowed per our Zoning Code. In that regard, it is highly recommended that you begin the review process with the Planning and Development Department before signing a lease. We will check the zoning to clarify if your business is a permitted, conditional or prohibited use. Parking requirements will also be verified for your type of business.

Permit Application Process

The process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy begins with a Commercial Development Application. A business plan of operations and floor plan are required along with the application. If your application is for a food establishment, a copy of the menu is required.

For new businesses involving large renovations, an Occupancy Permit Application (PDF) through the North Shore Fire Department is also required.

Upon application receipt, a review of the zoning code to verify permitted, conditional or prohibited use status is performed.

If your business requires a Conditional Use Permit, required findings shall be submitted for review will be required to go before the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission meets once a month on the fourth Tuesday. Applications are due the final Tuesday of the month prior, in order to publish the required public hearing notices.


The next step of the review typically involves an inspection by the Commercial Building Inspector. New occupancy approvals require one to multiple inspectors to look over the space. Extensive remodeling of a commercial space would require inspections by a:

  • Building Inspector
  • Electrical Inspector
  • Fire Inspector
  • Health Inspector
  • Plumbing Inspector

The Health Inspector would only be involved with businesses that offer any food or beverage. If it’s a small office space or new remodeling, then only one inspection by the Building Inspector is required.

If you are proposing major physical alterations to a site, permits will be required for all construction activity, and the approval process may be extended accordingly.

Certificate of Occupancy

If no violations are found or once violations are cleared, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. If non-life safety violations are found, a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy may be issued, to allow businesses to open.

Other Licenses

To determine if any special licenses are necessary to operate your business, you may contact the Village Clerk’s Office or view a list of list of the applications, forms, permits, and licenses. Typically licenses include beer, wine, alcohol, and tobacco.

Plan Review

All commercial occupancies must comply with the State Commerce Building Code for new occupancy and new buildings. The village is authorized to approve small commercial plans. As a general reference:

  • If a building is less than 25,000 cubic feet, plans need not be reviewed by an architect.
  • If a building is between 25,000 to 50,000 cubic feet, all plans must be reviewed by an architect.
  • If a building is greater than 50,000 cubic feet, plans must be approved by the state.

Renewal Requirements

The Village of Shorewood requires all businesses to renew their Certificate of Occupancy every 5 years. The Village will notify businesses up for renewal in January of each year as to how to schedule and obtain a renewed permit.