Permits & Licensing

Site Plan Review

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Building Permits

All new businesses require a “Certificate of Use & Occupancy” which is fulfilled with a “Commercial Permit”. Building permits, for work to be performed on a building, will include a “Certificate of Use & Occupancy”; no separate application or fee is needed.

A building permit is required for the erection, repair, alteration, improvement and addition to any building within the City. Permits are not required for ordinary maintenance or repair, unless the alteration changes the exterior lines or limits of the building, changes the number of living units within the building, or relates to the sanitary condition, which requires a building permit regardless of the cost of the improvement. It takes about 10 days for the application to be reviewed. The Commercial Permit requires…

  • A floor plan of space with dimensions
  • If the building’s use changes dramatically the plans need to be stamped by an architect or engineer. Call the Wilmington Building & Zoning Department if there is any discretion.
  • Uses of rooms listed
  • Main points of egress
  • Application fee

Commercial Building Permit Application

Residential Building Permit Application

Residential building is enforced under the 2013 Residential Code of Ohio. Commercial building work is enforced under the 2017 Ohio Building Code.  Electrical work is under the 2017 National Electrical Code. Code books are available for viewing in the Building and Zoning Office, as well as the Clinton County Law Library and the Public Library. In addition, several of the local building supply businesses have the code books available at the contractor’s desk. Wilmington Code of Ordinances


Sign Permits

Sign permits are obtained with a zoning permit application and should not be made prior to obtaining a permit and a Certificate of Appropriateness (if needed). Buildings within the H1 zone (the Wilmington Commercial Historic District) require a Certificate of Appropriateness. A sign permit will not be issued until a Certificate of Appropriateness is issued. Reference the design guidelines for sign regulations and suggestions (found below or in on the “Historic District” page). Relocating, altering, or enlarging a sign requires a new permit.


Certificate of Appropriateness

Historic preservation of exterior architecture adds value to buildings and businesses by creating a destination, a sense of place, for shoppers. Even large developers are now trying to recreate that “quaint” or historic atmosphere in their new shopping malls. Design review and the issuance of Certificates of Appropriateness for design changes on the exterior of buildings helps to preserve the valuable architectural and design heritage of downtown Wilmington. Building owners and business owners are important partners in that process.

For over twenty years, the City of Wilmington and its downtown businesses have partnered in creating a unique environment in which to do business—the Wilmington Commercial Historic District (H-1 Zone). The character of the Wilmington Commercial Historic District is maintained through public and private investment and public legislation. Without design review, the City would not be able to provide matching grant funds (when available) for building improvements. Without design review, valuable architectural features of downtown buildings would be lost.

The Design Review Board has the sole responsibility for permitting the alteration, construction, preservation, restoration, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or demolition of any structure, signage, or landscaping within the Historical Commercial District. Any change, defined as “any demolition, construction, reconstruction, or restoration of the exterior; placement of new landscaping; erection of new signs: as well as any material alteration in the landscaping; signage, exterior color or external architectural features of any property within the district,” requires a Certificate of Appropriateness. Follow these steps to obtain a “Certificate of Appropriateness”.

  1. Complete the application and return it to the Mayor’s office located on the 2nd floor of the Wilmington Municipal Building (69 North South Street). The application will be reviewed by the city’s code enforcement official and posted on the bulletin board in service director’s office 10 days prior to application being eligible for a certificate. The application requires…
    • Description of proposed changes with materials, dimensions, and color schemes
    • Photos of building façade or real property where changes will be made
    • Certificate Application
  2. Attend Board Meeting 
    • A letter will be sent within a week of the meeting.

Check out the “Design Guideline” packet by clicking on the link below for design review suggestions and sign regulations.


Contact the Wilmington Building & Zoning Department to schedule any of the inspections listed below. Call 1 or more days before desired inspection day.

  • Zoning Inspection
  • Building Inspection
  • Fire Inspection
  • Electrical Inspection

Inspections are available in the morning hours.

Wilmington Building and Zoning Department

  • 69 North South Street Wilmington, OH 45177

    • Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00

  • (937)382-5134


Health Department

Any business selling or preparing food requires licensing and inspection by the Clinton County Health Department. Follow these steps to obtain the needed licenses and inspections.

  1. Complete “Food Service Operation & Retail Food Establishment Facility Plan Review” Packet. The Health Department has 30 days to review the plan and make suggestions. After the plan is reviewed an approval or denial letter will be provided along with an inspector sign off sheet and a “Food Service Operation & Retail Food Establishment Application”. The review application requires… 
  2.  Begin construction/alteration
  3. Complete the inspector sign off sheet…
    • Building Inspection (Building & Zoning Department)
    • Electrical Inspection (Building & Zoning Department)
    • Fire Inspection (Building & Zoning Department)
    • Zoning Inspection (Building & Zoning Department)
    • Plumbing Inspection (Health Department)
  4. Complete the “Food Service Operation & Retail Food Establishment Application” provided after the plan review was completed and pay the application fee.
  5. Schedule pre-opening inspection +5 days before opening. Contact the Health Department +3 days prior to desired inspection date. After the license is issued a 30 day inspection is conducted after the business opens.

Clinton County Health Department

  • 111 South Nelson Ave. Wilmington, OH 45177
    • Hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30 – 4:30; Friday 7:30 – 11:30, 12:30 – 4:30
  • (937)382-7251

City Income Tax

All businesses located in or working in Wilmington must file a return annually regardless of the organization’s classification (C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Partnership, or Sole Proprietor) and regardless of whether the business had income or a loss for the year. Generally, a business will use Form BR (Business Return) to report its income and expenses. However, if you are employed as an individual but earn incidental income from a side business, you may simply include this in your individual return, Form IR, rather than fill out a separate business return

A resident employer or an employer having employees working within the City must withhold Wilmington income tax (1.5%) from all salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, or other compensation paid to employees before any deductions. This is applicable for a business whose primary office is outside of the city limits, as well as those in the City. Where a business fails to withhold the income tax from the employee, the City will hold the business responsible for paying the tax.


Main Street Wilmington has created this resource as a guide for opening up a business in Downtown Wilmington. Every step you need to take to open up your business may not be included in this guide.

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