Permit and License Overview

Business Licenses

City ordinance requires all individuals and corporations operating a business in Chicago to obtain an annual license from the city. If you are interested in starting a business, visit the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection website or call (312) 744-6260.

The City’s Small Business Center provides invaluable information for business owners new and old.

To request a meeting with Alderman Reilly about a potential new business, please fill out one of the forms below and email it to our office. Please include a menu, floor plan, and any helpful information to explain your concept.

Business Identification and Advertising Sign Permits


A sign is any name, identification, description, display, illustration, or character which:

(1) is affixed to, or represented directly or indirectly (including projected) upon, a building, structure, or piece of land; and

(2) directs attention to an object, product, place, activity, person, institution, organization, or business.


Guide to On-Premise signs


Standing / Loading / No Parking Zones

Standing or loading zones are occasionally granted for downtown businesses and residential buildings. To apply for a standing, loading (including daycare or valet loading) zone, please download and complete the required application.

Please submit the following to our office (121 North LaSalle Dr #200) with your application for the Alderman’s review:

  • Letter to Alderman Reilly requesting a standing, loading, daycare, or valet zone, detailing the reasons the zone is needed.
  • Photographs of the proposed location, adequately documenting the area surrounding the proposed zone.
  • Diagram or map detailing the building, sidewalk, street, existing parking restrictions (meters, other loading zones, etc.) and location of the proposed zone.

Before applying it is important to note:

  • Loading zones are for commercial vehicles only
  • Standing zones are for any type of vehicle
  • There is no “exclusive use” or “proprietary use” of a standing or loading zone
  • Loading or standing zones shall not be used as personal parking spaces
  • Request zones in increments of 20′ (20′ = 1 car length, 40′ = 2 car lengths)

For an overview of the process, please click here.

Public Way & Large Sign approval

Public Way: Any item that extends on or over the Public Way requires a permit issued by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The permit application also requires Alderman Reilly’s approval.


Please visit the Online Permit Portal to apply for new permits, renew existing permits, and pay fees (annual and outstanding debt) online.


Large Signs: Signs that are over 100 square feet and / or 24 feet above grade require a Council Order.

Liquor Licenses

If you are interested in opening a liquor establishment in the 42nd Ward, please complete this form and submit it to our office via email along with a menu.

You are strongly encouraged to determine whether or not a liquor license is permitted in a location before signing a lease or investing in a business. Several neighborhoods in the 42nd Ward are under moratoria that prohibit new liquor licenses in the area. Liquor licenses are also prohibited within 100 ft. of a school, church or library.

Special Events and Permits

Please click here to access the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) special event permit packet. Please notify Alderman Reilly’s Office once an application has been submitted to DCASE. Please contact the DCASE Permit Team for more information.

Cannabis Licenses

The State of Illinois controls the licensure process for cannabis businesses. The City of Chicago is not directly involved in the State’s licensure process for cannabis businesses however the sale of general non-cannabis merchandise requires a City of Chicago Business License. To learn about different types of cannabis business licenses, please visit the City’s website at

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