Starting a Business in Cheltenham

Cheltenham Township offers many advantages for businesses:

  • Location, Location, Location -- Cheltenham is an anchor point for Montgomery County, one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. Plus, our Township is only 20 minutes from Center City, Philadelphia.
  • Technology -- From ISDN to fiber optics, Cheltenham has the communications system in place to allow businesses to provide state of the art services to their customers and business partners.
  • People -- Cheltenham is home to a diverse, highly-educated, professional and stable residential population.
  • Business-Friendly Attitude -- The Township has an Economic Development Task Force to work with businesses to develop new strategies and aid ongoing commercial efforts.  The EDTF meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Township Administration Building.*
    *Meetings are currently being held via web-conference due to coronavirus restrictions.

If you are considering opening or starting a new business in Cheltenham Township, we are available and ready to help. 

The first step is to contact the Cheltenham Township Planning & Zoning Department prior to making an offer on any property. Since each business and property is different, this is a vital first step that will help save you money and heartache.  The Township also recommends prospective commercial tenants thoroughly evaluate potential space for their business needs and current code requirements prior to signing.

Township staff will help you identify the steps involved in opening your business so you can better plan for the time and costs involved in establishing your business. It may be as simple as filing a business privilege license with the Township or as complicated as requiring zoning relief, a land development application, building permits, and more.  The timeline for this process will vary depending on the complexity of the project.

Also worth viewing is this video discussion sewer connections (EDUs) for businesses.

The Planning & Zoning Department is open Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to discuss your plans for opening a business.


Henry Sekawungu
Director of Planning & Zoning
215-887-1000, ext. 219

  • Use & Occupancy Permits and Inspection
  • Zoning Hearing Board Determinations & Information
  • Subdivision & Land Development
  • Sign Permits
  • La Mott and Wyncote Historic District Boards of Historical and Architectural Review (BHARs)
  • Fee Schedules for all required permits and inspections

Robert Habgood
Assistant Director of Planning & Zoning
267-809-1811 or 215-887-1000, ext. 216

Scott Lynch
Fire Marshal; Director of Building & Codes
215-887-1000, ext. 235

  • Fire Inspection (including potential sprinkler requirements)

Marc Lieberson
Finance Officer
215-887-1000, ext. 134

  • Mercantile and Business Privilege Licenses

Tom Cignalia
Building Inspector
215-887-1000, ext. 222

  • Building Permits & Inspections
  • Plumbing Permits & Inspections
  • Electrical Permits & Inspections
  • Contractor License & Registration


To open a restaurant in Cheltenham Township:

Prior to purchase or signing a Tenant Lease Agreement, please contact the Planning and Zoning Department or access the Township website and print out a Zoning Determination Request Form. The zoning review will determine if the use is permitted at the proposed location, and as part of the response, you will receive input on the next steps which may include the following:

  • Zoning relief from the Zoning Hearing Board if the use is not permitted by right.
  • If the use is permitted by right, you will be informed of the next steps in writing.
  • Sewer Capacity review and approval from DEP/Aqua if a change in use. (Requires a narrative on the prior use, hours and staffing for both the prior and proposed uses, in addition to establishing an escrow for the review, packaging and submission of your request to DEP for capacity). This will need to be approved prior to any permitting by the Township.
  • Building Plan review and approval by the Building and Codes Department.
  • Issuance of Permits which include Building Permit, Mechanical Permit, Electrical Permit, and Plumbing Permit.
  • Sign Permit approval. If the property is in the Commercial Enhancement District, you will also need a Certificate of Appropriateness for any proposed signage.
  • All Contractors performing work in Cheltenham Township must be registered with the Township.
  • Montgomery County Health Department review and approval Tel: (215) 784-5415(This process can occur anytime. However, please note that the Health Department only issues health licenses, while all other approvals have to go through the Township including occupancy certifications).
  • Permits fees are tripled in Cheltenham Township if work is performed without them.