Local Business Services
Starting a Small Business: Information and Tips
The Town of The Blue Mountains supports and encourages new business. Town Staff and Council understand that starting a small business can be a complex process. We are here to help you. To follow is an overview of some of the issues which you may need to consider as you move forward with your dream of starting your own business here in The Blue Mountains.
Each municipal government has the authority to issue its own business licenses within its jurisdiction. At this time, the Town of The Blue Mountains does not issue business licenses or charge a fee for business start-up.
Zoning By-laws are used by the Town to regulate the use of land. They indicate what land uses are permitted in the community and provide information such as where buildings may be located, the types of uses and dwellings permitted, standards for lot size, parking requirements and building height. The Town is currently undertaking a Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review. Once completed, it will be available for viewing here. For information about current zoning, please contact the Planning Department (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/planning.cfm). They will assist you with any questions you may have.
Please note that if you are considering using your property in a manner that does not comply with the existing Zoning By-law you will have to apply for a zoning change. If this is the case, please contact our Planning Department (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/planning.cfm). Town Staff will discuss your proposal with you and offer advice on how to proceed with an application and the fees that may be required.
Home-based businesses are regulated by the Town’s Zoning By-law as well. There is a wide range of permitted and non-permitted uses depending on the location of your home in The Blue Mountains. We encourage you to contact our Planning Department (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/planning.cfm) to discuss your home-based business proposal and offer you assistance on how best to proceed.
A building permit is required when you wish to:
- construct any new building over ten square meters in area or place another structure, such as a mobile home, on your property
- make renovations or repairs or add to a building
- excavate or construct a foundation
- construct a seasonal building
Permits are also required for the installation, alteration, extension or repair of an on-site sewage system.
For more information on why and when you need a building permit, read the Citizen’s Guide To Building Permits (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/public_docs/documents/Citizen's%20Guide%20to%20Building%20Permits1.pdf) or visit the Town’s permits webpage (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/permits-inspections.cfm) where you can download an application form and information on building permit fees.
If you are planning on installing a sign for your new business, you need to fill out a sign permit application (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/public_docs/documents/TBM%20Sign%20Permit%20Application.pdf). All signage requires a permit, including A-frame signage.
Municipal Business Taxes
The tax rate for commercial property varies depending on occupancy. Please see the tax rate schedule (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/public_docs/documents/The%20Blue%20Mountains%20Tax%20Rates%202011.pdf) for more information.
If you are a landowner and have a business vacate your property, you are eligible for a vacancy rebate.
Please contact Financial and Information Services Department (http://www.thebluemountains.ca/assessment-taxation.cfm) for more information.
Business Improvement Area Levy
Each business property or unit in the Thornbury Business Improvement Area is charged a levy. The levy is collected for the purposes of beautifying, marketing and promoting the BIA. The annual BIA budget is approved by the BIA and then approved by Town Council during the budget process. For 2012, the levy is $728.16 per business in the defined Business Improvement Area in Thornbury.
If you are a renter, it is important you communicate with the landowner to understand whether you or the property owner will pay the levy and how it will be paid.
The levy is billed quarterly and is included on the property tax bill.