Business FAQs

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Answering Questions about Operating a Business in Wood Dale

With the revisions to the Commercial Occupancy & Activity Regulations recently adopted by the City, this page is intended to answer some of the most common questions.

What is Commercial Occupancy?

Commercial Occupancy is granting approval of the use of a particular non-residential space within the City.

How is Commercial Occupancy different than a Business License?

Commercial Occupancy is focused on public health, safety and welfare whereas a Business License is more focused on business and professional conduct.  All non-residential structures will be required to obtain a Commercial Occupancy Certificate (COC) on an annual basis.  Only certain commercial activities will require a Business License.  However, the Commercial Occupancy and Business License will be completed and approved concurrently.

What commercial activities require a Business License?

The following activities/uses require a concurrent Business License:

  • Video Gaming
  • Amusement Devices
  • Vending Machines
  • Cigarette and Tobacco Dealers
  • Money Services (activities related to transmitting or converting money by non-bank financial institutions)
  • Adult Entertainment Establishments
  • Massage Establishments
  • Transporters (engaged in the business of transporting goods, wares or merchandise)
  • Commercial Land Leasing (rental of land for use by vehicles and/or trailers that are not permanent)
  • Electrician (only renewals - no new licenses)

What commercial activities require Registration?

The following activities require an approved Registration before commencing the activity:

  • Scavengers (business of collecting refuse and hauling outside of the City)
  • Mobile Food Vendors
  • Solicitors & Canvassers (Obtain through the City Clerk's Office)
  • Contractors
  • Auctioneers
  • Raffles (Obtain through the City Clerk's Office)
  • Home-Based Businesses
  • Residential Short-Term Sales (Garage, Estate, Yard Sales)

When do I need to renew my COC, License or Registration?

If the activity is conducted on private property, then the renewal cycle will follow the Renewal Zones.  If not, then it will be an annual (calendar year) renewal. 

How often is an inspection required?

Annually, each non-residential property will be inspected for fire and life safety compliance.  There will typically be two inspectors (one from the Wood Dale Fire Protection District and one from the City of Wood Dale).  A passing inspection is required prior to issuance of a new or renewal COC.

How can I prepare for my annual inspection?

Reviewing the Inspection Checklist in advance of your renewal period will ensure that your facility will pass inspection on the first inspection.

What happens if a deficiency is found during my annual inspection?

A letter from the City will be sent out via email within 2 business days of the inspection that identifies the deficiencies found and the date by which the items will need to be corrected.  The length of time given to correct the deficiency depends on the deficiency.  Most deficiencies will require a subsequent inspection.

What happens if I am not able to correct my deficiencies within the given time period?

If, at the time the deficiency is noted, you are unable to meet the time frame required, contact the Code Enforcement Officer noted on the letter.  The City will work with you to gain compliance in a reasonable manner.  If more than one re-inspection is required, a re-inspection fee will be assessed for each subsequent inspection.

How will a COC affect my ability to secure financing?

A Commercial Occupancy Certificate (COC) is issued annually to indicate general compliance with City requirements. However, this process is different than a Certificate of Occupancy that is typically issued upon completion of a building permit. The City can provide a letter explaining the Commercial Occupancy Program, a copy of the COC and any Certificates of Occupancy, if available, when requested by a lender. Additionally, the annual requirement to obtain a COC ensures a greater level of compliance than a Certificate of Occupancy issued only upon completion of a building permit. Therefore, the Commercial Occupancy Program should not impact the process to secure financing.