In order to obtain a zoning approval, any use of land or structures other than a single family dwelling (for example, a commercial business, a multi-unit dwelling structure, etc.) must have an certificate of occupancy, also known as an occupancy permit. If a change in use occurs, an Occupancy Permit Application must be submitted along with a survey or a plot plan (a hand drawn plan of the property ). This is a plan of the property that indicates all structures on the property in relation to the property lines and to the street(s). Information about plot plan requirements can be found here.
How to Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy
Verify Whether or Not You have a Valid Certificate of Occupancy: The Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections File Room is the source for the complete collection of Certificates of Occupancy. Please call (412) 255-2195 during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to inquire as to whether there is an occupancy permit on file for your property. Please be sure to have any alternate or historical addresses available. If there is not a Certificate of Occupancy on file that exactly matches the current use of the property or if you DO NOT have a valid Certificate of Occupancy, you must apply for one through Zoning and the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections.
Apply for a Certificate of Occupancy: The applicant must apply in person at the Zoning Counter, 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Complete the top half of the application and bring it to the counter where a zoning specialist will ask additional questions about the property and proposed change.
Verify Whether You will be Required to Submit a Plot Plan or Survey: A Plot Plan or Survey is required for properties that have on-site parking stalls, decks, and other accessory structures or uses that are not explicitly included in a valid Certificate of Occupancy, as well as for any application that includes new construction. Plot Plans that are hand drawn and to a scale are accepatable. Plot Plan Specifications can be found here.
Complete Application at Zoning Counter: Complete applications (including Plot Plans or Surveys (if required) can be processed in person at the Zoning Counter, 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A $25 processing fee for all applications, checks made payable to "Treasurer City of Pittsburgh," must be included with every application submission. All applications will be reviewed and a Zoning Representative will contact you within ten (10) business days. When the Zoning Application is approved, the property owner, or a representative will need to return in person to the Zoning Counter to sign notarized paperwork and continue on to Permits, Licenses, and Inspections.
To learn more about zoning approval and the design review process, applicants are encouraged to attend a pre-application meeting with zoning staff. Please click here for more information about setting up a pre-application meeting.