Starting a Business in Portage

Step 1:  Determine what zoning district your business is permitted and whether the business is a: 1) principal permitted use or 2) a special land use, which requires a public hearing and Planning Commission approval.  View the City of Portage Zoning Ordinance to determine where your proposed business is permitted.

Step 2:  Determine if the proposed location of your business permits the proposed business based on the zoning of the property.  Use the GIS mapping system to determine the zoning of the location where your business is proposed.

Step 2a: If the proposed business is permitted, proceed to step 3.
Step 2b: If the proposed business is not permitted, find an alternative property or determine if rezoning the property is a feasible option.  Rezoning proposals should be consistent with the Future Land Use recommended in the Comprehensive Plan.  View the City of Portage 2014 Comprehensive Plan (PDF) to determine the recommended Future Land Use of the property and vicinity.

Step 3: Determine if the new business will require Site Plan Review.  Site Plan Review is required prior to the start of construction if a new building is proposed, if an existing building will be expanded, or when if there is a change of use that requires upgrades to the building or site.  View the Development Review Guide (PDF), which provides additional information regarding site plan review and building plan review, permits and inspections.

Step 4: Determine if the new business requires licensing by the City of Portage.  Click here for the City of Portage Business section of the Code of Ordinances.

Step 5:  Determine if the new business will require building alterations.  Most building alterations require permits prior to the start of construction.  The Development Review Guide (PDF) provides additional information regarding site plan review and building plan review, permits and inspections.

Step 5a: Prepare building plans and submit applications for required permits.
Step 5b: Request inspections for all work as construction proceeds.
Step 5c: Request a final Certificate of Occupancy.

Step 6:  Grand opening of business!  

During any of the above steps, city staff are available to meet with business owners to review their proposal, concept plans and more. Please feel free to call the Department of Community Development at 269-329-4477 or send an email.