Whether you’re an existing business in Morgan Hill or planning to relocate or start a new business in town, the city is here to help you. There are a number of programs in place designed to assist business owners, and the information provided on the city’s website should get you on the right track.
When looking for a place to start or relocate your business, it is important to make sure the zoning of the site allows the proposed use. Refer to the city’s Zoning Map (PDF) and Zoning Code for details. For each zoning district, there is a list of uses that are permitted in that specific zoning district and conditionally permitted with approval of a Conditional Use Permit (PDF).
Business Identification Signs
If you want to replace existing business signs with new signs, a Sign Copy Change Permit (PDF) is required from the Planning Division. This applies if the existing signs were legally installed with permits and the new signs comply with the City’s sign code, the Sign Copy Change Permit can be issued over the counter.
Banners are typically prohibited signs in Morgan Hill, except that banners may be permitted at the opening of a new business or for promotional events with prior approval of a Banner Permit (PDF) from the Planning Division. Banners may only be approved for a total period not exceeding 60 days if the business is new and does not have an existing business identification sign; or not to exceed 10 days within any 90-day period for temporary promotional events. Banners cannot exceed twice the allowable sign area for building attached signs permitted for the business frontage.
Please note that there are many prohibited signs, the Sign Code outlines permitted and prohibited signs.
Renovating an Existing Building
If you’re planning to locate your business in an existing building but want to make physical improvements to the inside and/or outside of the building, you may need to secure permits and/or design review approval first. Contact the Building Division to determine if a Tenant Improvement Permit or other permit is required. Contact the Planning Division to determine the level of design review required for any exterior improvements and if proposing a change of use, whether the use is allowed or if a use permit is required.
It is recommended that you also contact the Public Works Department for applicable Impact Fees. Depending on the extent of the renovation, approvals from outside agencies such as Santa Clara County Fire Department and South County Regional Wastewater Authority (SCRWA) Pretreatment Program may also be required.
Constructing a New Building
The Development Process Flowchart provides a general overview of the steps involved with constructing a new building for a proposed business. As shown in the flowchart, applicants will need to secure planning approvals for one or more of the following applications:
Design Review (PDF) - Required for all new construction; application to review the site layout, architectural elevations and landscape plans of a project
Conditional Use Permit (PDF) - Required if the business is a use that is only conditionally permitted within the proposed zoning district; and
Zoning Amendment (PDF) - Required if the business is part of a new Planned Development or if a zone change is needed to allow the business on a particular site
Applicants are encouraged to contact other city departments for their specific requirements, including:
- Building Division for Building Code requirements
- Public Works Department for Impact Fees
- Fire Marshal for Fire Code requirements
Parking Lot / Sidewalk Sales
Parking lot and sidewalk sales are permitted in the city with prior approval of a Temporary Use Permit (PDF) from the Planning Division. Parking lot / sidewalk sales are limited to 7 days in any 180-day period.