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Business Tool Kit

Welcome to Oro Valley! The new Business Tool Kit (Tool Kit) has been designed by Oro Valley business owners, representatives from the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and town staff. The Tool Kit will guide you through our development process and is the most frequently needed and requested information by Oro Valley business owners and entrepreneurs.

Click on the highlighted sections below to view links to more information.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to email the Economic Development Manager.

SECTION 1: The tenant space I need exists and doesn't need any changes

So you found the perfect space that is essentially move-in ready. Other than cosmetic changes and personal touches (carpeting, paint, furniture), the space is essentially ready to move in. This section describes an Investigative Inspection for Certificate of Occupancy (C of O); a streamlined permitting process so you can obtain your C of O and open for business.

SECTION 2: The tenant space exists but I need to make changes

So you found a great location for your business, but the tenant space could use more than a few finishing touches to meet the demands of your business. In order to make these changes a Tenant Improvement permit is required. This scope of work is more involved than the previous section but it can still be a relatively simple process if you know and understand the sequence to obtain your C of O.

SECTION 3: My business requires a new undeveloped site

Property owners and managers work hard to attract your business to their facilities. One way of enticing new leasing contracts is to offer renovated spaces complete with all the amenities. Although the space is move-in ready and waiting for your business to put out the open sign the space is void of any previous C of O’s. A Tenant Improvement permit is required to get a C of O. This scope of work contains elements mentioned in Section 2 of this guide but may still be cost and time effective. Here is what you need to know to get your C of O.

SECTION 4: The space is brand new or newly remodeled and my business will be the first occupant

Undeveloped or “ground-up” is the most involved process. This involves additional departments and agencies in and around Oro Valley and will likely require you to work with architects, engineers and contractors. Here are some important things to consider when selecting a site for your business.

SECTION 5: The space exists but the previous use is different from my intended use

The previous use of an existing tenant space does affect the use for future businesses. Zoning and building codes help make this determination. The information in this section will help you ask the right types of questions before you sign a lease or close on the property. Going into an agreement after covering all angles is a proven time and money saver.

SECTION 1: The tenant space I need exists and doesn't need any changes

So you found the perfect space that is essentially move-in ready. Other than cosmetic changes and personal touches (carpeting, paint, furniture), the space is essentially ready to move in. This section describes an Investigative Inspection for Certificate of Occupancy (C of O); a streamlined permitting process so you can obtain your C of O and open for business.

  • Apply for your Oro Valley Business License. Please note that a business license is location specific so if this is your second Oro Valley location or relocation from an old space, a new application is required. Visit Oro Valley’s website for a list of available business license forms.
     
  • A permit application and permit is required in order to obtain your C of O. Download our application and checklist by visiting Oro Valley’s website or visit the Community Development and Public Works (CDPW) permit counter and request an application for Investigative Inspection for C of O. A completed application and a general floor plan/site plan are essential elements of a complete permit submittal.
  1. Complete a building permit application. Please complete all applicable fields including full contact information, site address and suite number, name of business and property owner information. Also, be sure to sign and print your name in the designated areas on the application.
     
  2. Provide a dimensioned floor plan of the space you wish to occupy. Professional architectural drawings are not necessary, but your floor plan should be concise and legible and should include the following elements:
    1. Title Block or a designated area that includes name of business, full site address, total square feet leased and property owner.
    2. Each designated room should have dimensions noted and the intended use of each space should be clearly labeled (e.g. lobby, break room, office, storage, etc.).
    3. Please indicate all safety elements (e.g. exit lighting, extinguishers) and exits.
       
  3. All permits have required inspections that can easily be requested/scheduled in person (while your permit is issued), or by calling our automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) inspection request line (520-229-4898). Inspections can be requested as early as the next working day; however, the observed cut-off time for next day inspections is 3:30 p.m.
     
  4. Your inspections were successful and the building, fire and zoning inspectors have approved and signed your inspection documents. Please return all of your permit documents, including all inspection reports that were provided, back to Oro Valley Community Development and Public Works. A permit technician will verify all paperwork is in order and will start the process of generating a C of O for your business. Please note that we ask for a minimum 24-hours to process your C of O. Once your C of O is issued, your business is ready to open to the public.
     
  5. Keep your C of O in a safe and accessible location. Businesses are subject to annual fire department inspections, and your C of O is typically the first item fire staff will ask to see. C of O’s contain valuable information such as square footage, occupant use, and other building code information. One tip is to frame your certificate and hang it on the wall, next to the utility closet, restroom hallways or the reception area. Failure to provide evidence of your C of O may result in additional visits to Town Hall for record requests or in some cases, a new C of O application process.

As with most things in life, time is money and surprises can add unintended time to your project, which affect your bottom line. This category provides you a basic guideline of when you can expect certain aspects of the permitting process to be completed. Please note that every project, building site and tenant space is unique. The following list provides insight into Oro Valley’s policy on reviews, permits, and inspections.

  • Depending on site conditions, code-compliance updates and other factors, an Investigative Inspection for C of O is typically completed within a week of submitting your application, if not sooner.
     
  • Depending on staff workload, both your business license and building permit applications (building permits processed, not reviewed or approved) are processed “over-the-counter,” while you wait. A Business License is not typically issued until the C of O is issued. C of O’s are also not issued without a business license application being filed through the Town Clerk’s Office.
     
  • Inspections are required and can typically be requested as early as the next working day (see the aforementioned Step 3 for specifics). Inspections are necessary as they assure that the space you wish to occupy meets the minimum life/safety requirements, is a close representation of what was submitted on building plans and was not considerably changed by the landlord or previous tenant.
  • Occupancy types vary for each business and building construction type. Ask your landlord or broker to help research the prior tenant or type of business that occupied the building/suite. The goal of this exercise is to identify similarities and differences between the previous occupant and your business. If you intend to make only cosmetic changes (as prescribed in this section) please follow the steps in the section.
     
  • Knowing the age of the building is important and can help save valuable time and money. Building construction standards and code cycles are constantly changing, and because it is neither practical nor cost-effective to remove walls and ceilings to discover what materials were used in construction, knowing the year of construction can help a code official reference standard practices that were in effect during the time it was constructed.
     
  • With approved and issued permits, code allows the use of temporary banners (i.e. “coming soon,” “now open,” etc.) as well as permanent wall and monument signage. Always check with your landlord/property manager for any requirements exclusive to the development, such as a Master Sign Criteria which may be active for the commercial development. Sometimes the property may have inherently stricter sign regulations than what is prescribed in the Oro Valley Zoning Code. 
  • Depending on the type of business, other factors may need to be considered. For example, if you are taking ownership of an existing restaurant or other food-related business, Pima County Health Department approvals are required.
     
  • If you plan on selling alcohol, a state license is required and additional lead time is necessary.
     
  • Check with your broker, agent or property owner and ask if they can help you locate a copy of the existing floor plan. Having these documents available can save time and provide helpful information.
     
  • Possible zoning issues (E.g., permitted uses, sufficient parking, etc.) Some businesses utilize the investigative inspection permit for peace of mind and documentation to present to agent/landlord prior to signing a lease. This process can offer an affordable alternative to make sure you know exactly what type of code requirements are necessary for a safe and code-compliant tenant space.
SECTION 2: The tenant space exists but I need to make changes

So you found a great location for your business, but the tenant space could use more than a few finishing touches to meet the demands of your business. In order to make these changes a Tenant Improvement permit is required. This scope of work is more involved than the previous section but it can still be a relatively simple process if you know and understand the sequence to obtain your C of O.

  • Apply for your Oro Valley Business License. Please note that a business license is location specific so if this is your second Oro Valley location or relocation from an old space, a new application is required. Visit Oro Valley’s website for a list of available business license forms.
     
  • A permit application and tenant improvement drawings must be submitted for review. Contact the Oro Valley Permitting Department who can provide assistance regarding minimum submittal requirements. Download our application and checklist by visiting Oro Valley’s website or visit the Community Development and Public Works (CDPW) permit counter and request a building permit application. A completed application and construction plans are essential elements of a complete permit submittal.
     
  • For a streamlined submittal process, please print the latest Tenant Improvement Checklist. Visit the town’s website for the latest form.
  1. Complete a building permit application. Please complete all applicable fields including full contact information, site address and suite number, name of business and property owner information. Also, be sure to sign and print your name in the designated areas on the application.
     
  2. In many instances a licensed architect or design professional is required to prepare permit drawings. The Town of Oro Valley’s Community Development and Public Works Department (CDPW) provides a criteria checklist to help assure the basic plan requirements are presented for submittal. However, the checklist is generic in nature and is not an exhaustive list of all required elements. In many instances, the proposed scope of work is greater than the checklist demonstrates. The checklist is a tool to guide the permit applicant through the submittal process.
     
  3. If the minimum criteria is present on the plans, the application is logged in and the plans are processed and routed to all necessary plan review disciplines. Plan review fees are due at the time of permit submittal. Fees are based on the actual cost of construction (estimates are acceptable at this time).
     
  4. Plan review timelines are based on the tenant improvement classifications and scope of work that needs to be completed in the space. CDPW will furnish a copy of timelines and definitions upon request, or you may visit Oro Valley’s website for detailed information.
     
  5. There’s a possibility that the plan review may not be approved during the initial submittal. If this is the case, the applicant will be contacted and a comment letter and marked “redline” drawings will be released for corrections. At this time, your design professionals and architects will need to address the itemized comments, and provide corrected drawings for a second review.
    1. If three or more reviews are required, the plan review staff may request a meeting with the business owner and their hired design professionals to assist with the review process.
    2. Each plan submittal will receive a complete plan review. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if the plans have major deficiencies or are missing components that do not allow for a complete review. If the plan set is “incomplete,” the plan review will be stopped and the applicant is immediately notified.
       
  6. All permits have required inspections that can easily be requested/scheduled in person (while your permit is issued), or by calling our automated IVR inspection request line (520-229-4898). Inspections can be requested as early as the next working day; however, the observed cut-off time for next-day inspections is 3:30 p.m.
     
  7. Your inspections were successful and the building, fire and zoning inspectors have approved and signed your inspection documents. Please return all of your permit documents, including final inspection reports that were provided, back to Oro Valley Community Development and Public Works. A permit technician will verify all paperwork is in order and will start the process of generating a C of O for your business. Please note that we ask for 24 hours to process your C of O. Once your C of O is issued, your business is ready to open to the public.
     
  8. Keep your C of O in a safe and accessible location. Businesses are subject to annual fire department inspections, and your C of O is typically the first item fire staff will ask to see. C of O’s contain valuable information such as square footage, occupant use, and other building code information. One tip is to frame your certificate and hang it on the wall, next to the utility closet, restroom hallways or the reception area. Failure to provide evidence of your C of O may result in additional visits to Town Hall for record requests or in some cases, a new C of O application process.

We understand that with most things in life, time is money and surprises can add unintended time to your project, which affect your bottom line. This category provides you a basic guideline of when you can expect certain aspects of the permitting process to be completed. Please note that every project, building site and tenant space is unique. The following list provides some guidance so that you can have a better idea of Oro Valley’s policy on reviews, permits, and inspections.

  • Tenant Improvements are classified by complexity of the plans, occupancy type and previous use. There are three classifications with corresponding goal review days:
    • Class I (10 working day review time)
    • Class II (10 working day review time)
    • Class III (20 working day review time)

Goal review dates reflect the maximum review time allowed for first and second plan reviews. Third and subsequent review times are less and vary based on the changes made to the plan set. A detail for each classification is available upon request or online.

  • Inspections are required and can typically be requested as early as the next working day (see Step 6 in the previous section for specifics). Inspections are necessary as they provide assurance that the space you wish to occupy meets the minimum life/safety requirements, are a close representation of what was submitted on the construction plans and verify the space was not considerably changed by the previous tenant or landlord.
     
  • A business license is typically not issued until the C of O is issued. C of O’s are also not issued without a business license application.
  • Occupancy types vary for each business and building construction type. Ask your landlord or broker to help research the prior tenant use or type of business that occupied the building/suite. The goal of this exercise is to identify similarities and differences between the previous occupant and your business. If you intend to make only cosmetic changes, please review Section 1 in this document.
     
  • All plan reviews and inspections can be tracked in close to real-time on a portal via the town’s website. This allows all involved parties to have remote access to the status of the review, read plan review comments, or see what inspections have been completed.
     
  • With approved and issued permits, code allows the use of temporary banners (e.g. “coming soon,” “now open,” etc.) as well as permanent wall and monument signage. Always check with your landlord/property manager for requirements exclusive to the development, such as a Master Sign Criteria which may be in effect for the commercial development. Sometimes the property may have inherently stricter sign regulations than what is prescribed in the Oro Valley Zoning Code.
  • Depending on the type of business, other factors may need to be considered. For example, if you are taking ownership of an existing restaurant or other food-related business, Pima County Health Department approvals are required.
     
  • If you plan on selling alcohol, a state license is required and additional lead time is necessary.
     
  • Check with your broker, agent or property owner and ask if they can help you locate a copy of the existing floor plan. Having these documents can save time and provide helpful information to your design professional and the town’s review staff.
     
  • Possible zoning issues (E.g., permitted uses, sufficient parking, etc.)
SECTION 3: My business requires a new undeveloped site

Property owners and managers work hard to attract your business to their facilities. One way of enticing new leasing contracts is to offer renovated spaces complete with all the amenities. Although the space is move-in ready and waiting for your business to put out the open sign the space is void of any previous C of O’s. A Tenant Improvement permit is required to get a C of O. This scope of work contains elements mentioned in Section 2 of this guide but may still be cost and time effective. Here is what you need to know to get your C of O.

  • Apply for your Oro Valley Business License. Please note that a business license is location specific so if this is your second Oro Valley location or a relocation from an old space, a new application is required. Visit Oro Valley’s website for a list of available business license forms.
     
  • A permit application and tenant improvement drawings must be submitted for review. Download our application and checklist by visiting Oro Valley’s website, or visit the Community Development and Public Works (CDPW) permit counter and request a building permit application. A copy of this form is also included in the appendix of this guide. A completed application and a general floor plan/site plan are essential elements of a complete permit application.
     
  • For a streamlined submittal process, please print the latest Tenant Improvement Checklist. Visit the town’s website for the latest form.
  1. Complete a building permit application. Please complete all applicable fields including full contact information, site address and suite number, name of business and property owner information. Also, be sure to sign and print your name in the designated areas on the application.
     
  2. In most cases a licensed architect or design professional is required to prepare permit drawings. The Town of Oro Valley’s CDPW provides a criteria checklist to assure that complete plans are presented for submittal. The checklist is generic in nature and is not a complete list of required elements. In many instances, the proposed scope of work is less than the checklist demonstrates. The checklist is a tool to guide the permit applicant through the submittal process.
     
  3. If the minimum criteria is present on the plans, the application is logged in, processed and routed to all necessary plan review disciplines. Fees are based on the actual cost of construction; estimates are provided by you or your designer/contractor and associated fees are calculated at time of submittal.
     
  4. Plan review timelines vary from 10 to 20 days and are based on the tenant improvement classification which is determined by the scope of work that needs to be completed. CDPW can furnish a copy of timelines and definitions upon request, or you may visit Oro Valley’s website for detailed information.
     
  5. There’s a possibility that the plan review may not be approved during the initial submittal. If this is the case, the applicant will be contacted and a comment letter and marked “redline” drawings will be released for corrections. At this time your design professionals and architects will need to address the itemized comments, and provide corrected drawings for a second review.
    1. If three or more reviews are required, the plan review staff may request a meeting with the business owner and their hired design professionals to assist with the review process.
    2. Each plan submittal will receive a complete plan review. There are exceptions to this rule such as if the plans have major deficiencies or are missing components that do not allow a complete review. If the plan set is “incomplete,” the plan review will be stopped and the applicant is immediately notified.
       
  6. All permits have required inspections that can easily be requested/scheduled in person (while your permit is issued), or by calling our automated IVR inspection request line (520-229-4898). Inspections can be requested as early as the next working day; however, the observed cut-off time for next day inspections is 3:30 p.m.
     
  7. Your inspections were successful and the building, fire and zoning inspectors have approved and signed your inspection documents. Please return all of your permit documents, including final inspection reports that were provided, back to Oro Valley CDPW. A permit technician will verify all paperwork is in order and will start the process of generating a C of O for your business. Please note that we ask for 24 hours to process your C of O. Once your C of O is issued, your business is ready to open to the public.
     
  8. Keep your C of O in a safe and accessible location. Businesses are subject to annual fire department inspections, and your C of O is typically the first item fire staff will ask to see. C of O’s contain valuable information such as square footage, occupant use, and other building code information. One tip is to frame your certificate and hang it on the wall, next to the utility closet, restroom hallways or the reception area. Failure to provide evidence of your C of O may result in additional visits to Town Hall for record requests or in some cases, a new C of O application process.

We understand that with most things in life, time is money and surprises can add unintended time to your project, which affect your bottom line. This category provides you a basic guideline of when you can expect certain aspects of the permitting process to be completed. Please note that every project, building site and tenant space is unique. The following list provides some guidance so that you can have a better idea of Oro Valley’s policy on reviews, permits and inspections.

  • Tenant Improvements are classified by complexity of the plans, occupancy type and previous use. There are three classifications with corresponding goal review days:
    • Class I (10 working day review time)
    • Class II (10 working day review time)
    • Class III (20 working day review time)

Goal review dates reflect the maximum review time allowed for first and second plan reviews. Third and subsequent review times are less and vary based on the changes made to the plan set. A detail for each classification is available upon request or online.

  • Inspections are required and can typically be requested as early as the next working day (see Step 6 in the previous section for specifics). Inspections are necessary as they provide assurance that the space you wish to occupy meets the minimum life/safety requirements, is a close representation of what was submitted on the building plans and was not considerably changed by the previous tenant or landlord.
     
  • A business license is typically not issued until the C of O is issued. C of O’s are also not issued without a business license application.
  • Occupancy types vary for each business and building construction type. Ask your landlord or broker to help research the prior tenant or type of business that occupied the building/suite. The goal of this exercise is to identify similarities and differences between the previous occupant and your business. If you intend to make only cosmetic changes, please review Section 1 in this document.
     
  • All plan reviews and inspections can be tracked in close to real-time on a portal via the town’s website. This allows all involved parties to have remote access to the status of the review, read plan review comments, or see what inspections have been completed.
     
  • With approved and issued permits, code allows the use of temporary banners (e.g. “coming soon,” “now open,” etc.) as well as permanent wall and monument signage. Always check with your landlord/property manager for any requirements exclusive to the development, as a Master Sign Criteria may be active for the commercial development. Sometimes the property may have inherently stricter sign regulations than what is prescribed in the Oro Valley Zoning Code.
  • Depending on the type of business, other factors may need to be considered. For example, if yours is a food-related business, Pima County Health Department approvals are required.
     
  • If you plan on selling alcohol, a state license is required and additional lead time is necessary.
     
  • Possible zoning issues (E.g., change to building footprint, permitted uses, sufficient parking, etc.)
SECTION 4: The space is brand new or newly remodeled and my business will be the first occupant

Undeveloped or “ground-up” is the most involved process. This involves additional departments and agencies in and around Oro Valley and will likely require you to work with architects, engineers and contractors. Here are some important things to consider when selecting a site for your business.

Prior to purchasing or leasing a site, you should contact the Town’s Planning Division for questions about the zoning designation for the site to ensure your intended use is permitted in that location. If the site you are considering does not have the proper zoning designation for your use, you may want to explore whether rezoning is an option.

To determine whether the site you are considering is able to meet your infrastructure and utility needs, contact the respective service provider or the Community Development and Public Works Department at 520-229-4800 for assistance.

Completing a “request for pre-application” should be your first step during the site selection process. A “pre-application” is a free consultation that allows you to learn about the processing and broad issues related to the proposed development. Your submittal is conceptual in nature and the intent is to provide basic layout and summary information about how you propose to develop the property selected. Approximately two weeks after receiving the application, a meeting is scheduled with you and representatives from key department staff. Some highlights of the meeting include:

  • Introduction to key staff members who can provide assistance once your project moves forward
  • Discuss your proposed business use
  • Discuss any development or use constraints related to the selected site
  • Discuss what approvals your use/site modifications may require
  • Explanation of the development review process
  • Introduce the applicant to applicable zoning, engineering, water and fire requirements

Conceptual Design
The intent of the Conceptual Design process is to ensure that the project’s overall site layout is functional within its boundaries and is compatible with the surrounding area. During this process a Conceptual Site Plan, Conceptual Public Art Plan and Conceptual Architectural Design Plan are submitted for review and approval. A conceptual design process guide is available in CDPW office or on Oro Valley’s website.

Congratulations! You have completed the Conceptual Design Review and your project has received Town Council Approval. The next phase is final design, which is reviewed by Town Staff and outside agencies for conformance with the approved conceptual plans and adopted codes and provisions. A final design process guide is available in the Community Development and Public Work’s (CDPW) office and on Oro Valley’s website.

Each development project is different and may require additional submittals in order to be compliant with applicable codes and provisions. Below is a non-exhaustive list of forms and checklist that may be useful for your project. Forms are available online or at CDPW.

  • New Planned Area Development Packet
  • Rezoning Packet
  • Board of Adjustment Application
  • Communication Facility Packet
  • Conditional Use Permit Packet
  • Minor Land Division WITHOUT Final Plats or Development Plans
  • Minor Plat/Development Plan Changes/Scrivener’s Errors
  • Sign Programs Submittal Packet
  • General Plan Amendment Packet
  • Improvement Plan Checklist

(Subject to design conditions your building plans may be simultaneously submitted with Final Design Review drawings.)

What forms do I need?

  • Apply for your Oro Valley Business License. Please note that a business license is location specific so if this is your second Oro Valley location or relocation from an old space, a new application is required. Visit Oro Valley’s website for a list of available business license forms.
  • A permit application and commercial building drawings must be submitted for review. Download our applications and checklist by visiting Oro Valley’s website, or visit the CDPW permit counter and request a building permit application. A copy of this form is also included in the appendix of this guide. A completed application and complete construction plans are essential elements of a complete permit submittal.
  • For a streamlined submittal process, please bring the latest Commercial Building Plans Checklist. Visit the town’s website for the latest form.

What are the steps?

  1. Complete an application for a building permit. Please complete all applicable fields including full contact information, site address and suite number, name of business and property owner information. Also, be sure to sign and print your name in the designated areas on the application.
     
  2. A licensed architect or design professional is required to prepare permit drawings. The Town of Oro Valley’s CDPW provides a criteria checklist to help assure that minimum plans are submitted.
    1. The checklist is generic in nature and is not an exhaustive list of required elements. In many instances, the proposed scope of work is less than the checklist demonstrates. The checklist is a tool to guide the permit applicant through the submittal process.
       
  3. If the minimum criteria is present on the plans, the application is logged in, processed and routed to all necessary plan review disciplines. Plan review fees are due at the time of permit application. Fees are based on the actual cost of construction; estimates are provided by you or your designer/contractor and associated fees are calculated at time of submittal.
     
  4. Plan review timelines are 20 days for new commercial buildings. CDPW can furnish a copy of timelines and definitions upon request, or you may visit Oro Valley’s website for detailed information.
     
  5. There’s a possibility that the plan review may not be approved during the initial submittal. If this is the case, the applicant will be contacted and a comment letter and marked “redline” drawings will be released for corrections. At this time your design professional will need to address the itemized comments, and provide corrected drawings for a second review.
    1. If three or more reviews are required, the plan review staff may request a meeting with the business owner and their hired design professional to assist with the review process.
    2. Each plan submittal will receive a complete plan review. There are exceptions to this rule if the plans have major deficiencies or are missing components that do not allow a complete review. If the plan set is “incomplete,” the plan review will be stopped and the applicant is immediately notified.
       
  6. All permits have required inspections that can easily be requested/scheduled in person (while your permit is issued), or by calling our automated IVR inspection request line (520-229-4898). Inspections can be requested as early as the next working day; however, the observed cut-off time for next day inspections is 3:30 p.m.
     
  7. Your inspections were successful and the building, fire and zoning inspectors have approved and signed your inspection documents. Please return all of your permit documents, including final inspection reports that were provided, back to Oro Valley CDPW. A permit technician will verify all paperwork is in order and will start the process of generating a C of O for your business. Please note that we ask for 24 hours to process your C of O. Once your C of O is issued, your business is ready to open to the public.
     
  8. Keep your C of O in a safe and accessible location. Businesses are subject to annual fire department inspections, and your C of O is typically the first item fire staff will ask to see. C of O’s contain valuable information such as square footage, occupant use, and other building code information. One tip is to frame your certificate and hang it on the wall, next to the utility closet, restroom hallways or the reception area. Failure to provide evidence of your C of O may result in additional visits to Town Hall for record requests or in some cases, a new C of O application process.

Timelines
We understand that with most things in life, time is money and surprises can add unintended time to your project, which affect your bottom line. This category provides you a basic guideline of when you can expect certain aspects of the permitting process to be completed. Please note that every project, building site and tenant space comes with its own unique set of challenges, schedules and setbacks. The following list provides some guidance so that you can have a better idea of Oro Valley’s policy on reviews, permits and inspections.

 

  • Commercial Building Plan reviews are typically completed within 20 working days from date of submittal. Goal review dates reflect the maximum review time allowed for first and second plan reviews. Third and subsequent reviews are less and vary based on the changes made to the plan set.
     
  • Inspections are required and can typically be requested as early as the next working day (see Step 6 in the previous section for specifics). Inspections are necessary as they provide assurance that the space you wish to occupy meets the minimum life/safety requirements, are a close representation of what was submitted on the construction plans and verify the space was not considerably changed by the previous tenant or landlord.
     
  • A business license is typically not issued until the C of O is issued. C of O’s are also not issues without a business license application.

Know these important details

  • All plan reviews and inspections can be tracked in close to real-time on a portal via the town’s website. This allows all involved parties to have remote access to the status of the review, read plan review comments, or see what inspections have been completed.
     
  • With approved and issued permits, code allows the use of temporary banners (e.g. “coming soon,” “now open,” etc.) as well as permanent wall and monument signage. Always check with your landlord/property manager for any requirements exclusive to the development, such as a Master Sign Criteria for the commercial development. Sometimes the property may have inherently stricter sign regulations than what is prescribed in the Oro Valley Zoning Code.

Other options to consider

  • Depending on the type of business, other factors may need to be considered. For example, if this is a food-related business, Pima County Health Department approvals are required.
     
  • If you plan on selling alcohol, a state license is required and additional lead time is necessary. Please visit our prefix section for the appropriate contact information.
     
  • Possible zoning issues (E.g., change to building footprint, permitted uses, sufficient parking, etc.)
SECTION 5: The space exists but the previous use is different from my intended use

The previous use of an existing tenant space does affect the use for future businesses. Zoning and building codes help make this determination. The information in this section will help you ask the right types of questions before you sign a lease or close on the property. Going into an agreement after covering all angles is a proven time and money saver.

  • Know the previous tenant’s type of business. Then speak to a Community Development and Public Works building code official to determine if the previous use and your intended use are similar or complimentary.
     
  • Ask about the age of the building/suite. Code requirements frequently change over time. What may be compliant for the previous tenant does not always carry over to new tenants.
     
  • Know if the building is equipped with fire sprinklers. This can save you a lot of time, money and unforeseen obstacles.
     
  • Know the neighboring business names and types. This research will increase your knowledge of property zoning and if your business is a fit. Feel free to speak to a CDPW zoning staff member who can help verify your findings and answer any questions.
  • Apply for your Oro Valley Business License. Please note that a business license is location specific so if this is your second Oro Valley location or relocation from an old space, a new application is required. Visit Oro Valley’s website for a list of available business license forms.
     
  • A permit application and tenant improvement drawings must be submitted for review. Download our application and checklist by visiting Oro Valley’s website, or visit the CDPW permit counter and request a building permit application. A copy of this form is also included in the appendix of this guide. A completed application and a general floor plan/site plan are essential elements of a complete a permit application.
     
  • For a streamlined submittal process, please bring the latest Tenant Improvement Checklist. Visit the town’s website for the latest form.
  1. Complete a building permit application. Please complete all applicable fields including full contact information, site address and suite number, name of business and property owner information. Also, be sure to sign and print your name in the designated areas on the application.
     
  2. A licensed architect or design professional may be required to prepare construction drawings. The Town of Oro Valley’s CDPW provides a criteria checklist to help assure that complete plans are presented for submittal.
    1. The checklist is generic in nature and is not an exhaustive list of required elements. In many instances, the proposed scope of work is less than the checklist demonstrates. The checklist is a tool to guide the permit applicant through the submittal process.
       
  3. If the minimum criteria is present on the plans, the application is logged in, processed and routed to all necessary plan review disciplines. Plan review fees are due at the time of permit application. Fees are based on the actual cost of construction (estimates are acceptable at this time).
     
  4. Plan review timelines are based on the tenant improvement classifications and scope of work that needs to be completed in the space. CDPW will furnish a copy of timelines and definitions upon request, or you may visit Oro Valley’s website for detailed information.
     
  5. There’s a possibility that the plan review may not be approved during the initial submittal. If this is the case, the applicant will be contacted and a comment letter and marked “redline” drawings will be returned for corrections. At this time your design professionals and architects will need to address the itemized comments, and provide corrected drawings for a second review.
    1. If three or more reviews are required, the plan review staff may request a meeting with the business owner and their hired design professionals to assist with the review process.
    2. Each plan submittal will receive a complete plan review. There are exceptions to this rule such as if the plans have major deficiencies or are missing components that do not allow a complete review. If the plan set is “incomplete,” the plan review will be stopped and the applicant is immediately notified.
       
  6. All permits have required inspections that can easily be requested/scheduled in person (while your permit is issued), or by calling our automated IVR inspection request line (520-229-4898). Inspections can be requested as early as the next working day; however, the observed cut-off time for next day inspections is 3:30p.m.
     
  7. Your inspections were successful and the building, fire and zoning inspectors have approved and signed your inspection documents. Please return all of your permit documents, including final inspection reports that were provided, back to CDPW. A permit technician will verify all paperwork is in order and will start the process of generating a C of O for your business. Please note that we ask for 24 hours to process your C of O. Once your C of O is issued, your business is ready to open to the public.
     
  8. Keep your C of O in a safe and accessible location. Businesses are subject to annual fire department inspections, and your C of O is typically the first item fire staff will ask to see. C of O’s contain valuable information such as square footage, occupant use, and other building code information. One tip is to frame your certificate and hang it on the wall, next to the utility closet, restroom hallways or the reception area. Failure to provide evidence of your C of O may result in additional visits to Town Hall for record requests or in some cases, a new C of O application process.

We understand that with most things in life, time is money and surprises can add unintended time to your project, which affect your bottom line. This category provides you a basic guideline of when you can expect certain aspects of the permitting process to be completed. Please note that every project, building site and tenant space is unique. The following list provides some guidance so that you can have a better idea of Oro Valley’s policy on reviews, permits, and inspections.

  • Tenant Improvements are classified by complexity of the plans, occupancy type and previous use. There are three classifications with corresponding goal review days:
    • Class I (10 working day review time)
    • Class II (10 working day review time)
    • Class III (20 working day maximum review time)
       
  • Goal review dates reflect the maximum review time allowed for first and second plan reviews. Third and subsequent review times are less and vary based on the changes made to the plan set. A detail for each classification is available upon request or online.
     
  • Inspections are required and can typically be requested as early as the next working day (see Step 6 in the previous section for specifics). Inspections are necessary as they provide assurance that the space you wish to occupy meets the minimum life/safety requirements, are a close representation of what was submitted on the construction plans and verify the space was not considerably changed by the previous tenant or landlord.
     
  • A business license is typically not issued until the C of O is issued. C of O’s are also not issued without a business license application.
  • Occupancy types vary for each business and building construction type. Ask your landlord or broker to help research the prior tenant or type of business that occupied the building/suite. The goal of this exercise is to identify similarities and differences between the previous occupant and your business. If you intend to make only cosmetic changes, please review Section 1 in this document.
     
  • All plan reviews and inspections can be tracked in close to real-time on a portal via the town’s website. This allows all involved parties to have remote access to the status of the review, read plan review comments, or see what inspections have been completed.
     
  • With approved and issued permits, code allows the use of temporary banners (e.g. “coming soon,” “now open,” etc.) as well as permanent wall and monument signage. Always check with your landlord/property manager for any requirements exclusive to the development, as a Master Sign Criteria may be active for the commercial development. Sometimes the property may have inherently stricter sign regulations than what is prescribed in the Oro Valley Zoning Code.

 

  • Depending on the type of business, other factors may need to be considered. For example, if yours is a food-related business, Pima County Health Department approvals are required.
     
  • If you plan on selling alcohol, a state license is required and additional lead time is necessary.
     
  • Check with your broker, agent or property owner and ask if they can help you locate a copy of the existing floor plan. Having these documents available can save time and provide helpful information to your design professional and the town’s review staff.
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