Site Location Factors: Zoning and Costs

The Village has regulations to ensure a cohesive environment in many neighborhoods and to help maintain existing improvements.  Before a business signs a lease or purchases property, it is important to understand the Village Code, policies and procedures related to the location. Businesses should contact the local municipality and Community Development staff to determine if their business is permitted in a particular location (the zoning district) and ask about signage, landscaping, and parking regulations.  Those regulations, and others, can be found online in the Village Code

A business may locate in an area that is permitted by right in the Zoning Ordinance, even if the neighborhood has existing competitors, or the business is considered less desirable. The Village regulates location thru the Zoning Ordinance.  Some uses require zoning entitlements which requires the business to go before the Plan Commission and Village Board for final approval.

Businesses also may inquire about local requirements that may affect business operations such as utility requirements, infrastructure requirements and availability, future road improvements and surrounding uses.  

Lombard’s Community Development Department can assist with zoning, signage, private engineering, and building codes.  The Village regularly meets with developers and businesses before a permit is applied for to discuss specific regulations.  These meetings can help the building permit process go smoother.  Businesses that serve, make, or distribute food or beverage products will also want to engage the DuPage County Health Department to learn about their regulations. 

Businesses that rent existing commercial space will need to evaluate expenses beyond paying for utilities and inventory costs. Besides base rent, they should consider other financial considerations including:

  • Who pays for lawn care, building maintenance, utilities and security?
  • Who pays for the upkeep and repair of the heating/air units?
  • If the location is remote, how much additional marketing is required for customers to find the location?
  • Does a business need to make any repairs or remodeling to have the location fit their needs?
  • Will the business be responsible for property taxes or does the property owner take care of this?
  • What are the costs for applicable licenses with the State, County, or Village?
  • What building permits will be required and what are the costs?

Last, occasionally a decision will be based on emotion or other external factors.  The Village can’t control this aspect, but it is important to recognize.  A business owner may choose a storefront based on the distance from their home or because a location “feels right”.