Do not sign a lease or purchase property until you've checked with the city to make sure the building can be used for your business type.
Different business types are only allowed in certain parts of the city. It is illegal to run a business in a building that is not zoned for that type of activity. Contact the Zoning department to confirm that your business type is allowed in your desired location and zone. It is helpful to select 2-3 locations that would be a good fit for your business before contacting the Zoning department.
You may be able to receive a Special Permit if the property isn't zoned for for your type of business. To find out if a Special Permit is required for your business location, please consult the Zoning Ordinance for your district.
You should also check parking minimums for each location based on your business type. You may be able to receive a waiver if there is not enough parking.
When in doubt, contact the Zoning department.
City Hall Commons
201 E Washington St # 211
The City requires you to provide a site plan showing the interior and exterior layout of the business. Draw out how you want the layout of your building. For small projects, such as a fence, you may be able to draw this yourself, working carefully with a pencil and ruler. You should use a scale, such as 1 inch for every foot (1:1). We recommend hiring an architect to help you create these drawings for larger projects. Have a look at this example drawing to understand what’s necessary.
Historic Property Reviews
Buildings with Local Protected Site status, or located in Local Preservation District will require a Certificate of Appropriateness if you plan to change its inside or outside appearance. Even minor changes such as painting can require approval. The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board (SLPB) manages this process.
If it is, you will need a Certificate of Appropriateness, as well as building permits before any construction project. Commercial properties, or residential properties with more than 4 units will need Project Site Review from the Zoning office and from the SLPB. You may also need approval by the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals.
If the project will involve the use of state or federal funding, or the developer will be seeking state or federal tax credits and the property (individually or as part of a district) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or is eligible to be listed, approval from the New York State State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is required
Some projects will require historic review at the local level (SLPB) and the state level (SHPO), and possibly the federal level (National Park Service). Most commonly these projects are exterior work on commercial properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (individually or as part of a district), and involve state or federal funding and/or tax credits. There are also instances where a property is listed both on the National Register (individually or as part of a district), and is designated as a Local Protected Site or part of a Local Preservation District.
For any questions, or to help coordinate multiple reviews, please contact: