Understand the Pitfalls
It's important to consider the time or cost required to make a location work for you. Land use and zoning has set some perimeters around certain areas and their future use. Does the permitted use match what you need and if not, could you apply for a conditional use or change of use permit?
To answer many of your questions you will need to have answers as well. Have you considered the use of the space and how much seating you will need or the number of people who will be occupying the space? Your answer will determine if there are safety and building improvements required to occupy the space.
In some cases, sprinkler systems may be required, and you need to determine if it is feasible to install or upgrade to protect against a fire. Are the fire alarms adequate and working properly?
Is the existing parking adequate to meet your business needs and city requirements? Restaurants may need more parking than a single chair hair stylist and understanding your business needs will determine what is required by the city.
If you decide to be in a historic part of town, you may find limitations on signage options, sidewalk uses, and you need to investigate it before you sign a lease on your new location. You may need electrical permit, street use permit, and sign permits.
You need to consider ADA compliance and creating barrier-free accessibility.
Whether you plan to do very simple renovations, you should check to make sure you do not need to pull a permit. If you plan to use equipment or systems that require large amounts of electricity, gas, and/or water, you may need to investigate the capacity at the location. Find out if they can be expanded to meet your needs.
As you look at your needs and the requirements for the site determine if the decision you are making is worth the time and cost to fulfill the city requirements. As you review this information, keep in mind, our goal is to protect and serve the public.