It is necessary to obtain and maintain a business license in order to operate a business within the unincorporated areas of Santa Fe County. The requirements of obtaining a business license are described in Ordinance 2009-3, the Business Registration and Licensing Ordinance. Business Licenses are not transferrable from one business owner to the next.

If a development project is being undertaken as a part of starting a new business the necessary requirements, inspections and fees will be included as a part of that approval process. If, however, an existing business is sold to a new owner or if a business is established without any new related development, a development application form and all related documents are submitted for that action.

When considering opening a business a good first step is to have a clear written concept of the business and to determine the zoning of the relevant property. Use the County’s Interactive Zoning Mapas it is the simplest way to discover the zoning district, the allowed uses and whether the lot is in a traditional community or overlay district, etc. If the property lies within a community district, you can refer to the respective Community District Overlay Use Table in Chapter 9 of the Sustainable Land Development Code to determine what uses are allowed within the zoning district.  If the property is not within a Community District, you can refer to the Use Matrix Table in Appendix B of the Sustainable Land Development Code to determine what uses are allowed in the zoning district.

Once you have this information, please use the Staff Directory and contact the Commercial Development specialist to discuss the requirements of your submittal. There are a number of conditions and requirements that vary across the County depending upon the nature of the business, the zoning and existing development status of the property, as well as the condition of required offsite improvements.