Open a Business


Thank you for your interest in opening a business in the City of Palos Heights. For a simple, step-by-step guide, please view the Guide to Opening a New Business in Palos Heights (PDF).  If you have any further questions please contact the Economic Development Office at 708-480-3022.

Find a Location 

The City maintains a list of available commercial properties along with the owner or realtor contact information, rent rates, links to online listings (if available), and a map of each location. You can search Available Buildings and Available Sites.


Check the Zoning Map (PDF) and Zoning Code in order to make sure your business is permitted on the parcel or within the building. The city's two basic commercial zoning classifications are B Business and B-1 Restricted Business. Definitions of permitted uses are contained within the code of each commercial district. Another commercial district is located along Harlem Avenue and is known as the Harlem Avenue Overlay District, which may may allow for administrative approval a select list of "Limited" uses.


Reviewed and linked below are six (6) applications related to opening a new business.

Application for Zoning Review - (B.1): Please complete and, if necessary, attach a separate document describing your proposed business and operation, including floor plan, hours of operation, term of lease, etc. A valid Illinois license must be presented at the time of application, and will be photocopied for City records.

Zoning Application - (B.2): A Zoning Application is required where a Special Use, Variance or Zoning Change is required. Once submitted with appropriate payment, the City can begin scheduling a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing and the City Council review process.

NOTE: The Harlem Avenue Overlay District may allow for administrative approval a select list of "Limited" uses. When necessary, and following receipt of the Zoning Review Application, an Overlay District Analysis will be conducted for uses that may qualify as a Limited use within the Harlem Avenue Overlay District. If the analysis does not allow the use administratively, a Special Use may be pursued by the applicant through the conventional Special Use application and hearing process.

Business License Application - (C.1): A Business License Application is required for establishing a business in Palos Heights. The City will retain this information on file in the event of emergencies and the like. A valid Illinois license must be presented at time of application, and will be photocopied for City records. The Business License Application carries a fee that varies depending upon the square footage of your commercial space. There may also be additional fees for businesses that prepare and sell food products, or operate vending and game machines.

Occupancy Permit Application - (D.1): This application is completed and submitted at the same time other applications are completed. It carries a $150 fee and includes up to 5 inspections along with it, such as: Building, Fire, Plumbing, Electrical, and, if you serve and prepare food, Cook County Health. The Occupancy Permit fee is paid at the time the final inspection is scheduled for occupancy.

Application for Plan Review and Building Permit - (D.2): The Building Department reviews planned improvements to make sure they are designed to current code. Additionally, Contractors must Register with the City of Palos Heights - (D.3) and be licensed and bonded. If no changes or improvements are planned, then simply state no planned improvements on the application. If changes or improvements are planned, then complete and submit the application with the Building Department (708-480-3020 or 3021).

Permanent Sign Application - (E.1): All signs must be reviewed and approved by the Building Department. The Sign Application must include illustrations with dimensions of sign and lettering. Payment for sign permits is made at the time the sign is installed.

Need Any Other Permits? 

In opening your business, you will likely be performing some type of build-out, including electrical or plumbing work, erecting signage, putting up walls, demolition, and more. Performing this type of work requires that proper permits be obtained. Work should only be performed by contractors that are licensed with the Palos Heights Building Department. If you have any questions in regards to the permitting process or if you would like a list of licensed contractors, please contact our Building Department at 708-361-1804.

Promote Your Business 

Congratulations! Now that you're officially open for business, let people know about it! Palos Heights businesses can often get some free press and promotion from local news outlets such as: