Steps to Obtain Certificate of Occupancy

1) Call, email or visit the Planning Division in the Community Development Department to verify that your proposed business is an allowed used at the subject property. Be prepared to provide the following information to obtain the allowed use/zoning: 
    a) Property address 
    b) Specific business use and activity 
 
    City Hall, Planning Division, Community Development Department 
    8650 California Avenue, South Gate, CA 90280 
    (323) 563-9514/jguevara@sogate.org, Monday – Thursday: 7am – 5:30pm

2) Visit the Business License Division to obtain a Zoning Clearance Form.
City Hall, Business License Division
Monday – Thursday: 7am – 5:30pm.
(323) 563-9527
3) Fill-out the Zoning Clearance Form and submit it to the Planning Division for review and approval. The Planning Division in the Community Development Department will ensure that the proposed business is permitted at the subject address. The turnaround for this is normally 2-3 days.
4) The Planning Division will notify you to pick up the Zoning Clearance Form. Please be advised the form is only valid for six (6) months from the date of approval. Failure to pick-up the form from the Planning Division within 6-months of approval, will require you to obtain a new clearance approval.
5) After you obtain Zoning Clearance approval, you can pull permits to remodel the building, install new permitted signage and obtain Fire Department approval. However, you may not operate your business until you are issued a Certificate of Occupancy and a Business License. 
    a) All building permits must be obtained by the property owner or a State Licensed Contractor with a City of South Gate 
    Business License. The permits can be obtained at City Hall, Building and Safety Division, Monday – Thursday, 7am-4:30pm. 
    Payments for permits are collected until 4:30pm. 
    b) For signage permits contact the Planning Division at (323) 563-9514/jguevara@sogate.org, Monday – Thursday: 7am – 5:30pm. 
    c) For Fire Department information, visit www.fire.lacounty.gov/fire-prevention-division, call (323) 890-4125 or visit the Fire 
    Prevention Division Headquarters, Fire Marshal’s Office at 5823 Rickenbacker Road, Commerce, CA 90040.
6) If you are not doing any remodeling or new signage you can proceed to apply for a Business License—step 7.
7) After you obtain the Final Permit approval for all permits (building, signage and Fire Department), you can apply for a Business License Application. 
    a) Please be advised that the Business License Application is only valid for sixty (60) days from the date of submittal. After sixty 
    (60) days, the applicant will be required to re-apply and pay another application fee.
8) Visit the Business License Division to apply for a Business License and submit the following REQUIRED items with the Application: 
    i) Approved Zoning Clearance Form; 
    ii) Application deposit fee of $33. This deposit will be deducted from the total business license fee
    iii) Additional documents requested by the Business License Division; 
    iv) Plot plan to scale in a 8 ½ x 11 copy showing the proposed business location including parking stalls; 
    v) Floor plan to scale in a 8 ½ x 11 copy showing the location of the following: 
            • windows and doors with dimensions; 
            • door swing of exit doors; 
            • layout of desks, files, equipment, racks, counters, etc.; and 
            • water heater and electrical panel(s) 
    vi) If your business operation includes the preparation of food and/or food products you must obtain LA County Health 
    Department approval (800) 700-9995. A copy of the approved permit issued by the Health Department must be submitted to 
    the City’s Business License Division. The Business License Division will not release the license until a copy of the approved permit 
    issued by the Health Department is received.
9) After you obtain a Business License Application, you can apply for a Certificate of Occupancy.
10) Visit the Building and Safety Division and submit the Certificate of Occupancy Application with the following REQUIRED items: 
        i. Original copy of the approved Business License Application; 
        ii. Payment for the occupancy inspection (cash or check only); 
         iii. If the applicant is not the property owner, the applicant must submit a copy of the lease signed by the property owner or a 
            letter signed by the property owner granting the applicant permission to submit the occupancy application; 
        iv. Plot plan to scale in a 8 ½ x 11 copy showing the proposed business location including parking stalls; 
        v. Floor plan to scale in a 8 ½ x 11 copy showing the location of the following: 
                • windows and doors with dimensions; 
                •  door swing of exit doors; 
                • layout of desks, files, equipment, racks, counters, etc.; and 
                • water heater and electrical panel(s) 
        ii) Meet the occupancy inspection requirements. 
11) The Building and Safety Division will schedule the initial occupancy inspection, typically within 1-2 business days. Someone must be present the day of inspection to allow entry to the inspector.
12) On the day of the inspection, the inspector will notify the applicant, in writing, if the occupancy needs corrections/repairs or if it passes the inspection.
13) If corrections/repairs are requested, the applicant must complete the corrections/repairs and re-schedule a second inspection before the Business License Application expiration date (60-days from date of submittal) to avoid additional fees.
14) Once you obtain occupancy approval, the Building and Safety Division will forward the approved Certificate of Occupancy to the Business License Division. The Business License Division will contact the applicant when the Certificate of Occupancy and Business License are ready for pick-up. The Business License Division will hold the Certificate of Occupancy and Business License for 30 days. Failure to pick-up the documents within 30 days, will result in a Notice of Violation and penalty fees.
15) After you pick-up the Certificate of Occupancy and Business License and pay all pending fees, you may open your business to the public.