Business Permits Overview
The Community Aide serves as the first point of contact for new businesses and assists them through the onboarding process: beginning with the business registrar then with the acquisition of permits and licenses necessary for their business. They are responsible for encouraging potential new economic development by spearheading local initiatives as well as cultivating commercial relationships, and gathering and disseminating of information and regulatory guidelines.
Lawrence Township has several zones with different uses allowed in each. If you are opening a business or operating an existing business, a Zoning Permit may be required. Some uses may require Planning Board approvals prior to Zoning Permit being issued. Signs, fences, and outdoor seating require a specific permit.
A permit must be obtained prior to any new construction or alteration, with the exception of ordinary repairs. For expansions or additions, applicants must first contact the Zoning Officer to assure compliance with Land Use Ordinance requirements such as setback from property lines. Once approval of the Zoning Officer is received, applicants may proceed by applying for a permit. For owners and/or occupants of commercial property, a New Jersey architect’s or engineer’s sealed plans (3 sets of plans minimum) are required with the exception of minor work. Check with the Construction Office for guidelines for minor work. Commercial building and mechanical contractors need to be licensed by Lawrence Township. Inspections are required for all phases of work. Check with the Construction Office for a list of possible inspections. Certificates of Approval or Occupancy are not issued unless all inspections have been completed and approved.
The Health Department reviews and approves restaurants according to State Sanitary Codes. If you are opening up a brand new restaurant, with significant construction and remodeling, you will need to fill out the Retail Food Establishment Plan Review Application. If you are an existing restaurant, you will need to renew your Retail Food Establishment License Application annually.
All businesses are required to register with Lawrence Township under the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code. It is mandatory that registration be renewed on an annual basis. All registration applications can be picked up at the Code Enforcement Office, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The fee schedule, as adopted by Lawrence Township ordinance, is based on the square footage of the business premises. Renewals are sent to each business every January and include an invoice for the required fee and the property information currently on file. You must return the invoice and fee and make any corrections or updates to the information provided. In addition to the registration, all businesses must have an annual fire inspection performed by the Lawrence Township Fire Marshal’s Office. The purpose of the inspection is to locate any fire code violations and make sure they are corrected. Once a business is cleared of any violations, a Certificate of Inspection will be issued.
While Emergency Management does not approve of Emergency Operations Plans, they do review and file them. If your business is a daycare, assisted living or nursing home, or a hazardous materials facility, please contact Emergency Management about your Emergency Plan.
*Disclaimer: this is not a comprehensive list of all permits, licenses, or approvals you will need in order to operate your business. The purpose of this page is to familiarize you with the most common municipal regulations and procedures to be better informed.*