Start a Business
The City of Westminster welcomes new businesses! There are several topics to consider when starting a new business: developing a business plan, financing options, registering and licensing the business, finding a location, and obtaining proper permitting and zoning approvals.
The City of Westminster Department of Community Planning and Development can assist businesses with such matters as finding an appropriate location for your business and obtaining proper permitting and zoning approvals.
Locating Your Business (Site Selection)
It is important to determine whether the business or land use is allowed and obtain required City approvals prior to obtaining a business or traders license.
- Is my proposed business or land use allowed at the property?
- What zoning district allows for my proposed business (use)?
Obtaining Proper Zoning Approvals
- Is my proposed business (use) a permitted or special exception use at the property?
- Do I need Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning and Zoning Commission, and/or Historic District Commission approvals?
- Do I need to submit a Site Development Plan Application?
- Do I need to submit a Water and Sewer Allocation Application?
- Do I need to submit an Application for Sign and Awning?
- Other services include: Zoning Verifications and Zoning Determinations
“Zoning Certificate” for New Businesses
If you plan to use any building, structure, or land to operate a new business (use) in the City of Westminster, a zoning certificate must be issued by the Zoning Administrator. This includes change of use, replacing a use in-kind, expanding a use, and establishing/ constructing a new use.
Community Planning and Development staff are available to assist businesses and are happy to work with small, entrepreneur businesses and large, established businesses alike. We recommend that you contact our Community Planning and Development staff at Planning@westminstermd.gov and for Downtown Westminster businesses, please contact our Director of Community Planning and Development, Mark Depo, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be advised, fees may be applied for certain services, applications, and approvals.
Carroll County Bureau of Permits and Inspection
Carroll County Bureau of Permits and Inspection office accepts, reviews, and issues Building, Electrical, Plumbing, and Grading Permits for properties located within the City of Westminster. You can apply for these permits at the Permits and Inspections office located at 225 North Center Street, Westminster, Maryland. For more information regarding these permits, please call the Permits and Inspections office at 410-386-2400 or visit their website at https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/public-works/permits-inspections/.
Assistance Available for Business Owners
Are you interested in starting a business but need help with the first steps to make it happen? Are you interested in expanding your business? We recommend you reach out to our partners at:
- Carroll County Department of Economic Development
- Carroll County Chamber of Commerce
- Carroll Technology & Innovation Council
- Miller Resources for Entrepreneurs
- MAGIC (Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory)
- The Center for Experience & Opportunity
These business resources can assist you with developing of your business, understanding available start-up financing options, training needs, and expanding your business and much more.
Permits, Forms, and Applications
Below is a list of links providing information on permits, forms, and applications needed to open or expand your business. This list is not meant to be inclusive, nor to give any legal advice regarding opening a business, but rather to serve as a guide. Businesses are urged to consult with the agencies provided above and with private counsel before proceeding with establishing a business in the City of Westminster.
- City of Westminster Department of Community Planning and Development
- City of Westminster Zoning Ordinance
- City of Westminster Water and Sewer Allocations Application
- City of Westminster Application for Sign and Awning
- Carroll County Bureau of Permits and Inspection
- Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office (Business Licenses) – Please be advised, prior to applying and obtaining a business license, you are responsible to ensure that your business is allowed within the City of Westminster (see information under City of Westminster section above)
- Maryland Business Express - Licensing and Registration Portal
- Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation and its “Starting a Business” Checklist
- Comptroller of Maryland Tax Information