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City Licenses & Permits

License to Operate
The Fire Department requires a license to operate for any type of business where there is a public assembly, such as a church or movie theater, as well as manufacturing, dry cleaning and other businesses using chemicals or other high-hazard processes, day care, public assembly, restaurant and other businesses where cooking is involved. An annual inspection is required to renew a license to operate. For more information regarding a license to operate, please contact the Fire Department at (847) 926-1075.

Temporary Outdoor Dining & Accessory Use License
Restaurants that choose to offer outdoor dining on public or private property are required to have an outdoor dining license. Businesses that choose to place outdoor sales displays in front of their businesses on public or private property are required to have an outdoor display license. For more information regarding the City’s outdoor dining or display licenses, and applications, please contact the Office of Business Development at (847) 926-1046.

Temporary Display License
The City Council recently approved the creation of a Temporary Display License. The purpose of this license is for the temporary display of art and/or seasonal items, which may also include temporary installation of decorative items such as planters or benches on the public right-of-way.  For more information, please contact Jennifer Dotson in the City Manager's Office at (847) 926-1006.

Liquor, Food and Cigarette Licenses
Licenses are required for the sale of certain items. These are: the sale of liquor, the sale of food and the sale of tobacco. For more information regarding these licenses, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (847) 926-1036.

Landscaper License
Landscapers working in Highland Park are required to have a license. For more information regarding landscaping licenses, please call Alison Redfield in the City Manager's Office at (847) 926-1008. These licenses may be obtained at City Hall, 1707 St. Johns Avenue.

General Contractor License
General contractors doing construction in Highland Park are required to have a license. For more information regarding general contractor licenses, please contact the Building Division at (847) 432-0808.  


Fire Alarm Permit
The Fire Department requires annual fire alarm permits for businesses using a fire alarm system. For more information regarding fire alarm permits, please contact the Bureau of Fire Prevention at (847) 926-1075.

Burglar Alarm Permit
The Police Department requires annual burglar alarm permits for businesses using a burglar alarm system. For more information regarding burglar alarm permits, please contact the Police Department alarm coordinator by calling (847) 926-1093.

Special Event Permit
A special event permit is required for events involving public property. For more information regarding the City’s Special Event Permit and application, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (847) 926-1034.

Community Event Signs & Banners
Publicize local events using Highland Park's temporary community event posting locations.  A Guide to Installing Signs and Banners outlines the specifications for posting your information and includes the required application.  Contact Community Development at (847) 432-0867 for further information.   

Parking Permit

Prior to opening your business, please contact the City Manager’s Office at (847) 926-1006 to discuss parking regulations in your business district. For more information about parking in Highland Park, please visit the City's Parking page.

Business Sign Permit

A Sign Permit is required prior to installing a temporary or permanent sign in the window, awning, or facade of your commercial space.  For permanent signs, there is currently a $75 base fee and an additional charge of $1 per square foot.  For temporary signs, there is currently a flat fee of $75 ($60 if less than 12 square feet).  It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with Highland Park’s sign regulations as you design your business’s sign with your sign contractor.  Sign regulations are established in Chapter 20 of the Zoning Code. Once you have reviewed the City’s Sign Regulations, please contact the Building Division at (847) 432-0808. 

While the City Code allows a wide variety of signs, some businesses desire a sign that is bigger or taller than what is permitted by code. For sign concepts beyond what the code allows, a variation may be necessary. The Plan and Design Commission reviews sign variation requests and works on a case-by-case basis to safeguard the character and aesthetic quality of the community. Its decisions work to enhance property values, taxable values and the health, safety and welfare of the City.

To schedule an appearance at a Plan and Design Commission meeting, please submit a completed Design Review Application and the associated fee to the Department of Community Development.  There is currently a $500 fee associated with variation requests. For more information, please contact the Planning Division at (847) 432-0867.

Some commercial buildings in Highland Park have Sign Packages on file with the City that control what their signs can look like.  Please confirm with your landlord whether or not your lease space is governed by a Sign Package and if so, what restrictions it may put on the signs that may be installed.  If you need additional assistance please contact Community Development at (847) 432-0867.

For more information, please view the Permits & Licenses Fee Schedule.