The "How to Open a Business in Sandy" Guide Step 2

Economic Development Dept: (503) 489-2159  •  Planning Dept: (503) 489-2160

Step 2 – Find a Location

So you've done your due diligence and are ready to take your first step towards building a business in Sandy.  The next step is to find a suitable home for your business.  This guide is intended for commercial businesses seeking an existing building - it is not meant for the following types of businesses:

Home-occupation businesses

A home occupation business is exactly what it sounds like – a business operating out of a residential property.  If this is where your business is going to start out, this guide really isn't for you.  Simply apply for a business license (click here) and make sure you know the rules regarding home occupation businesses (click here and scroll down to “17.74.80 – Home Businesses”).

Industrial businesses

On the other end of the spectrum, industrial businesses are generally larger businesses that focus on manufacturing.  Due to the level of complexity surrounding their regulation, we require industrial businesses to communicate directly with the City’s Planning Department.  If you wish to start an industrial business, please contact the Planning Desk at (503) 668-2160 to get started.

New Construction

Building your own building is a much more complicated process than moving into an existing building, and also requires direct communication with the Planning Department.  If you plan to build your own building to house your business, please contact the Planning Desk at (503) 668-2160 to get started.

Commercial businesses seeking an existing building

To secure a location for your commercial business, do the following:

Find a vacant building or space:

There are three methods for finding a vacant commercial space in town.

  • Commercial realtor:  There are several realties in Sandy that specialize in commercial real estate and can give you detailed information on available properties in Sandy.
  • The City of Sandy Available Commercial Properties database:  This database is maintained by the City of Sandy’s Economic Development department and is updated monthly.
  • City of Sandy Economic Development Department:  Contact us at (503) 489-2159 and ask for assistance.  We are quite familiar with the commercial rental market in town and have an established relationship with many local property owners.

Contact the property owner:

Let the owner of the property know you are interested in leasing their space, and schedule an appointment with them to physically see the space.  This would also be a good time to mention any potential changes you wish to make to the space should you sign a lease, and make sure the building owner is OK with those changes.  WE STRONGLY ADVISE NOT TO SIGN A LEASE AT THIS TIME!

Identify the zone your property is in:

A commercial business must be housed in an appropriate zone for the type of business you are operating.  Please check the following:

  • City of Sandy Zoning Map:  Check this map and make sure that your property is located in one of the following zones:    C-1 (Central Business District), C-2 (General Commercial), C-3 (Village Commercial) or I-1 (Industrial Park)
  • If your property is located in the I-1 zone, there are specific requirements that must be met in order to house a commercial business here.  Please consult the Economic Development office at (503) 489-2159 before proceeding any further.

Is your business a permitted use or a conditional use for the zone you’re in?

Every area in Sandy is designated for certain types of business use by our zoning ordinances.  A permitted use is simply a type of business that is allowed within a particular zone – for instance, a restaurant is a “permitted use” in the C-1 zone, meaning that you may locate a restaurant in the C-1 zone without any additional conditions.  The zoning ordinance also allows for “conditional” uses, or uses that require additional analysis prior to approval to determine their suitability to the surrounding area.

Permitted and conditional uses are listed in Chapter 17 of the Sandy Municipal Code (SMC).  Click here to go to Chapter 17, then scroll down to the appropriate sub-chapter.

C-1 (Central Business District) zone:

  • Permitted uses -- SMC 17.42.10
  • Conditional uses -- SMC 17.42.20

C-2 (General Commercial) zone:

  • Permitted uses -- SMC 17.44.10
  • Conditional uses -- SMC 17.44.20

C-3 (Village Commercial) zone:

  • Permitted uses -- SMC 17.46.10
  • Conditional uses -- SMC 17.46.20

I-1 (Industrial Park) zone:

  • Permitted uses -- SMC 17.48.10
  • Conditional uses -- SMC 17.48.20

Conditional use requests require notification to adjoining property owners and are sometimes reviewed by the City of Sandy's Planning Commission depending on the nature of the request.  If your business is listed as a conditional use for the zone you’re in, please contact the Planning Desk at (503) 668-2160 for instructions on how to proceed.

link Go back to Step 1: What to Do Before Coming to the City

link Go to Step 3: Meet with the Economic Development Department