Business Location Approvals

A Business Location Approval (BLA) is required for all businesses that are located within City limits (formerly called Business Approval or Zoning Approval) prior to obtaining a Business Tax Certificate (business license). The BLA process is an opportunity to confirm that your proposed use is permitted in the property’s zoning district and that the structure meets applicable building and fire code requirements. Go to the BLA Process Flowchart for a map of the process.

All businesses operating in the City of Savannah are also required to have a Business Tax Certificate(BTC) (business license) and must submit the BTC application. Contact the Revenue Department at 912-651-6445 for more BTC information. Follow the steps below to apply for a BLA. 

Online Business Location Approval Steps

BLA Process Questions? Watch the BLA Overview Video for detail step by step instructions.

Step 1) Read all steps including steps 1a & 1b, then Register for an account in our E-Trac - Electronic Tracking, Review & Approval Center System by clicking here 

Step 1a) Next, Click Apply below for the Plan Type Category that is the best fit for your business. Complete & submit the online Business Location Approval Application. After submitting the application come back to this page to complete any additional or applicable steps and to schedule your virtual/phone appointment in step 1b below.

BLA Application Questions? Watch the BLA Application Video

Category Name: Non-residential Structure Business Approval                        Apply
Description: A business at a Non-Residential Location.

Category Name:  Home Occupation Business Approval                                     Apply
Description: A business based from a Residential dwelling Location. 
See Sec 8.7.11 Home Occupations standards 

Category Name: Child/Adult Care Center Business Approval                          Apply
Description: facility that provides care and supervision for more than six (6) children/adults.

Category Name: Day-Care/Personal Care <=6 Business Approval                   Apply
Description:  Day Care or Personal Care business for 6 or less individuals.

Category Name:  Long Term Care Facility Business Approval                          Apply
Description: Long Term Care Facility of more than 6 individuals.

Category Name:  Temporary Use Business Approval                                          Apply
Description: A business at a Temporary Location. See Temporary use standards.

In addition to the BLA application above, see the Additional-Info-for-Specific-Business-Uses For Child care, car wash, pressure wash, lawn care, temporary use, or STVRs, other, 

Step 1b) Schedule a BLA Review virtual / phone appointment time at the following link here: 

To prioritize BLA applications and increase efficiency, all applicants must schedule a 30 minute BLA review virtual / phone appointment after submitting your BLA application using the link in Step 1b above. Review the booking policy in step 1b. Do not use the video call feature. Call 912-644-7709 at your scheduled appointment time. Your application will be reviewed on the day of your appointment even if your phone call reaches our voicemail or if you are not available at your scheduled review time.

Step 2) Apply for a Business Tax Certificate(License) by clicking here . This is a PDF application. You must download, complete the application, and submit it to the City of Savannah Revenue department via the address & instructions on the application. Contact the City Revenue Department 912-651-6445 for any BTC questions.

Additional resources – Starting a Business Guide 

Determine Zoning District and PIN

To determine the zoning district and/or property ID number (PIN) for a property, consult the zoning map
Watch 'How To locate the Zoning District using' video. 
Watch 'How to identify or locate the PIN Parcel ID Number using' video.

Determine if Use is permitted in Zoning District

The "Regulations by District" portion of the city’s ENCode Viewer or the principal use table outline whether a particular use is permitted. 

Point of Contact - Business Approval Coordinator

For assistance with business location approvals process, please watch the BLA Overview Video

If further assistance is needed then contact:
Aislee Jackson, Business Approval / Zoning Use Coordinator
Phone: 912-644-7709 / 912-651-3108

Food Trucks - Mobile Food Service Units

Visit the Food Truck web page for more information about approval and permitting requirements.

Tour Business

Visit the Starting a Tour Business web page for more information about the tour business approval process and requirements.

Before You Sign a Lease...

Prior to leasing, purchasing, or otherwise committing to a property you are strongly advised to confirm that the zoning and physical layout of the building and site are appropriate for the business use intended and will comply with the City of Savannah’s Zoning Ordinance.

This includes having a clear understanding of any code restrictions, limitations or architectural guidelines that may impact your operation and any building and site modifications that may be necessary to open for business.

The City’s Zoning Ordinance permits certain types of businesses in specific areas of the City. The City’s Business Approval Coordinator will assist you in determining whether a specific location is appropriately zoned for your business.

The Business Approval Coordinator will also assist you in determining whether your situation is a change of use or occupancy that requires building and life safety code compliance, and whether a building and/or site permit is needed.

Two Typical Tracks for Business Location Approvals:

(Note: For additional information, see Business Location Approval Process Brochure.)

 Track A:

  • Change of tenant with same business use / occupancy
  • Schedule your BLA virtual phone appointment for an outcome/response. Plan on Average 7 to 10 business days to obtain a BLA appointment. (Incomplete or high volume of applications, inconsistent records, missing previous use information, or bad address/unit/PIN information may cause additional delays)

Track B:

  • Change of business use / occupancy (or new construction)
  • Requires compliance with current building and life safety codes
  • May require changes to the building &/or site, which would require a Building Permit &/or Site Development Permit
  • Building Plan Review (BPR) Meetings and Site Plan Review (SPR) Meetings  Please call or email Mike Rose (email, 912-651-6510 Ext. 1964) or Peter Ghilarducci (email, 912-644-7784)  to be placed on an agenda for a BPR meeting. Please call or email Robert Brannen (email, 912-651-6510 Ext. 1926) to be placed on an agenda for a SPR meeting.
  • Schedule your BLA virtual phone appointment for an outcome/ response. If a building/trade permit or a site development permit is required for your BLA will be pending the completion of those permits and a certificate of occupancy (CO) or a certificate of completion (CC) is obtained.