The Village of River Forest is a great place to start and grow your business. If you are interested in opening or expanding your business, you are encouraged to contact the Village at your earliest convenience. The Village can help usher you through the process of opening your business whether it's answering questions like "How do I apply for a building permit" or "Where can my employees park."

Click here for a comprehensive explanation of the requirements to start a business in River Forest, including permitting, zoning, parking, signage, taxes, licensing, and more, as well as all of the necessary forms and applications.

The location you choose must be zoned for the type of business you wish to operate. Two issues to consider:

  • What type of business will you be conducting?
  • What parking is available?

Businesses are encouraged to consider and contact the Village before entering into any contracts regarding:

Zoning and Permitted Uses

To determine whether your business in permitted in the area you seek to locate, click to view the Village's Land Use Chart.

Click here to view the Village's Zoning Map.

Questions regarding land use and permitted uses should be directed to the Building Official by clicking here or calling 708-714-3557.


Generally, 1 parking space for each 2 employees is required in the C1, C2 and C3 zoning districts. Additional requirements are as follows:

Restaurant- 1 space for each 100 square feet of public floor area

Retail, Office or Service- 1 space for each 400 square feet of public floor area

For businesses in the C3 District between Lathrop, Lake, Park, and a line 1/2 block south of and parallel to Lake, no off street parking is required.

Building Permits

Building permits are required for most construction work. Click here to learn more about the permit process. 

Business License

A business license will allow you to conduct business in the Village of River Forest.

Certain specialty licenses such as a food handler’s license are included on the business license application. If applying for a food handler license please provide proof of your State Food Service Sanitation Certificate along with the application. Before a license can be issued the Village Administrator's Office will verify your business is permitted for your proposed location.

Click here to download and complete an application.  The application should be returned to Village Hall with the appropriate payment.


All permanent signs located on the exterior of the building or window require a permit.

Click here to learn more about signage requirements.