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  • Requirements for Business Startup and Operation in Unincorporated Pima County

    Business License

    Pima County does not require or issue business licenses.

    Zoning Use

    The first step in determining whether a business may operate in a particular location is to ensure that the zoning is compatible for the business use.  Property zoning may be determined through the tools provided under the “Research” tab of our web page and allowable uses for the zone are viewable in the Pima County Zoning Code.  Alternatively, an email may be sent to building.safety@pima.gov or by calling 724-6490.

    Certain uses may require a Conditional Use Permit, information of which is available on the Planning Division page or a Development Permit described in the "Commercial Development & Plats" tab of the Building web page.

    Note that businesses require zoning use approval from Pima County Development Services accomplished either through building permit or through a zoning use permit if the building is legally conforming and does not entail a change of use under the building code.

    Building Safety

    For new construction, additions or tenant improvements, see Building Permits tab.  Existing buildings not undergoing any improvements may be used for new businesses so long as the building is legally conforming for the intended use under the building code.  Note that building code uses do not equate to zoning code uses as the latter addresses the integration of the use within a neighborhood while the former addresses life safety and other elements regulated within the building.  Guidance on building safety compliance may be gleaned from the Certificates of Occupancy document.

    Other Requirements & Resources

    Businesses serving food require a permit from the Pima County Health Department, information of which is available under "Restaurants" in Building Permits tab.  Plants producing industrial emissions or waste may require permitting from Pima County Environmental Quality or Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department in addition to other state or federal requirements.

    For additional information about starting, operating and growing a business, visit the Arizona Commerce Authority website. Their free online Checklist Program is designed to help you easily navigate information on what you need to know, who you need to contact and where you need to go to license your business in Arizona. It also includes contact information for statewide resources and assistance to accelerate your business growth.

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    Development Services

    201 N. Stone Ave.
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Lobby hours are
    8:00 am to 4:00 pm
    Monday - Friday
    County observed holidays

    (520) 724-9000

    Department Home Page
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    Carla Blackwell

    Chris Poirier
    Deputy Director

    Joseph Godoy
    Deputy Director

     Daniel Ice
    Chief Building Official

    Rick Wilburg
    Assistant Building Official