Frequently Asked Questions - Planning Division

Do I need a license or permit to run a business from my home?

To operate a home business from a residential dwelling, you must first obtain a home business permit through the Planning Division and then a business license from the Business License Division.

Home Business Permit
To apply, complete the home business permit application and submit to the Planning Division.  The application is intended to extract a detailed business operation description from you which will aid us in determining the appropriate level of review for your proposed home business.  Based upon your business description, your home businesses will fall into one of three categories: prohibited, administrative review (level 1), or planning commission review (level 2).  For further details, please contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 or planning@westminster-ca.gov.  You may also access the City's Home Business Ordinance  for details.  If and when your home business permit is approved you may then apply for a business license. 

Home Business License
Once you obtain a home business permit you may then obtain a home business license through the Business License Division.  For information about business licenses, you may contact the Business License Division at 714-548-3258.

Do I need a license to work from home?

Yes. Westminster allows some home occupations in residential areas. A home occupation is an occupation or a business activity that does not bring customers or clients to your home or cause disruption to the residential character of your neighborhood.

A Home Business Permit and a business license are required before a home business can begin operation. The permit and license can be obtained from the business license office at city hall.  For information about the type of uses that are acceptable as a home business, please check the City Home Page under Municipal Code, Chapter 17.60, or contact Planning Division at 714-548-3247.  For information about business license regulations such as fictitious name, please check the City's home page under Business Licenses, or you may contact the Business License Division at 714-548-3258.

Do I need a permit for a yard or garage sale?

Yes, a permit is required for all garage sales, which are subject to the following restrictions:

  • Garage/Yard sales may be conducted no more than three times per residence in any calendar year, with a minimum  three-month interval between sales.
  • A maximum of three consecutive days.
  • All goods and equipment to be displayed and sold at a garage sale must not have been acquired elsewhere for resale.
For detailed information, please check the City Home Page under Municipal Code, Section 17.540.045 or contact Planning Division at 714-548-3247.

Do I need a permit for my business sign?

Yes, a permit is required for a new permanent business sign.  Please contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 for information.

How do I obtain a license to sell beer and wine?

A conditional use permit is required for both on-sale and off-sale of alcoholic beverages. Please contact the  Planning Division of at 714-548-3247 for more information.  Also, contact the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control at 714-558-4101.

How do I obtain signage for my business?

To obtain signage, you will need to submit plans for your proposed sign to the Planning Division and Building Division.  Once plans are approved building permits will be issued and you may install your sign.  For more information, contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 and the Building Division at 714-548-3254.

May I put up a sign for a yard/garage sale?

Yes, signs are permitted subject to the following restrictions:

  • No signs advertising a yard/garage sale shall be placed on any public property, including but not limited to, utility poles, street name signs, traffic signs, trees or walls.
  • Only one sign is allowed per each property.
  • The total sign area shall not exceed 4 square feet.
  • You must get the property owner's permission, if you place a sign on other people's property in your neighborhood.
  • You are responsible for removing all signs at the end of the approved period for each garage sale.

What is a conditional use permit (CUP)?

A CUP allows a city to consider special uses which may be essential or desirable to a particular community, but which are not allowed as a matter of right within a zoning district, through a public hearing process. A conditional use permit can provide flexibility within a zoning ordinance or enable a municipality to control certain uses which could have detrimental effects on the community.

In reviewing a CUP application, City staff and the Planning Commission will evaluate such issues as building placement, building size, traffic generation, noise, hours of operation, parking, circulation, landscaping, overall compatibility of uses with adjoining properties and other related development impacts.  Conditions may be imposed as necessary to insure that the proposed use will be compatible with the environment.

What permits and/or licenses do I need to open a new restaurant?

You may need to contact the following agencies for various approvals:

  • Check with Planning Division to see if a restaurant is permitted. Other land use approvals (i.e. outdoor dining, parking, design review, etc.) may be needed, as well.  Call 714-548-3247 for more information.
  • Check with Building Division for construction, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical inspections.  Call  714-548-3254 for more information.
  • Planning and Building permits are needed for signs.
  • Check with the County Health Department for food & beverage service.
  • Approval from Midway City Sanitary District is required for grease control devices.  Please contact MCSD at 714-893-3553.
  • City Business License. Call 714-548-3258.
  • A Conditional Use Permit is required if you plan to have live entertainment, performers, and/or dancing.  Please contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 for more information.
  • A conditional use permit is required if you serve beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages.  Please contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 for more information.  You also need to obtain a license from the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  Call 714-558-4101 for more information.
  • Check out the State's permit resource here.

What permits and/or licenses do I need to start a new business?

For any new business, it is always advised you first contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 to ensure your proposed business location is in the appropriate zone. To discuss your proposed business with the Planning Division, please bring a detailed operation description and floor plan with you to City Hall.

Once determined to be in the appropriate zone, you must then submit plans for any construction that must take place prior to commencement of your business operation. Following construction, or if no construction is required, you may obtain a business license from the Business License Division.

Start here for more information on other permits or licenses from the County or the State. 

Who do I contact if I am building a new house?

You should contact the Planning Division at 714-548-3247 to determine zoning and development standards that will apply to your new home. You should also contact the Building Division at 714-548-3254 to determine required permits as well as building and construction requirements of the California Building Code (CBC).