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Opening A Business In Campbell

My husband, Arlin, and I just finished the process of opening Rita’s of Campbell at 475 E. Campbell Avenue. This was our first experience of going through the process of getting all the necessary permits, licenses and approvals from all the different agencies involved and I thought it would help other small businesses that are looking at opening a business in Campbell CA.

First I want to say that I have been involved with the Campbell Chamber of Commerce for the past 4 years and the fact that the franchise company had the territory of Campbell and Los Gatos available, we just knew that we wanted to open our first shop in Campbell.

I remember the day that I first walked into the City of Campbell to start this process and was greeted by someone from the Campbell Community Development Department, who handed me a stack of forms that I needed to start filling out. It was a little overwhelming to say the least. However, the team at the department understood that this was my first planning project and they walked me through the process of what I had to do. I wanted to try to simplify this process to share with you.

Here is a summary of the process and forms that I needed to submit.

  1. Administrative Planned Development Permit – this includes several forms and items that must be submitted for the Planned Dev. Permit.
  2. Development Application
  3. Attachment A – which must include the following
  4. Vicinity map
  5. Plot Plan (which wasn’t available so I had to hire an architect to draw this out)
  6. Elevations – front, sides and rear
  7. Floor plan(s) (luckily this was provided by the Franchise Corporation)
  8. Building Cross Section
  9. Landscape plan
  10. Streetscape
  11. Project summary
  12. Attachment B – Contribution Disclosure Form
  13. Attachment C – Hazardous Waste & Substance Sites Disclosure Form
  14. Attachment D – West Valley Sanitation District 4 Acknowledgement
  15. Attachment E – Environmental Information Form
  16. Neighbor Acknowledgement Form

To submit all these forms, there is a fee that is needed to be paid, depending on your project.

When I submitted my original “planning permit” forms to the City of Campbell, I also had to submit my permit to Department of Environmental Health (Health Department) which is located on Berger Drive in San Jose.

There were requirements to also submit copies of all the architect drawings to both the City of Campbell Community Development Department and the Health Dept.   They needed them in different sizes formats (CD format vs. folded vs. rolled) and different quantities.  In total for this first round, I had to prepare 7 different sets for these two departments. And, of course, there is a fee to submit your permit to the Health Department to review your plans.

In addition to the City of Campbell Planning Department and the Health Department, I also had to submit a permit to the West Valley Sanitation Department and submit more architect drawing to them. And, of course there was a fee to be paid.

Simultaneously, with the submission of the above-mentioned permits, there was also a need to submit a permit to the SCC Environmental Services Department. They also needed a set of drawings for their records. They are located at the San Jose City Hall.

Once the City of Campbell Community Development Department approved our plans, we then needed to go to the next department at Campbell (same room) for our building permit (which allowed us to do the Tenant Improvements) to do construction.

But wait, there’s more. Because of the product that we are serving, we needed to go to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to obtain a semi frozen (soft serve) permit.

There are so many other layers of City Departments that were involved with the City of Campbell and getting the permits approved, such as Fire Department, but they all worked together to make this as smooth as possible.

Another permit that we needed to obtain was for the outside sign. The City of Campbell has certain requirements for all the exteriors of the buildings and they watch closely to make sure they keep the overall “look and feel” of any new development to fit in with the existing storefronts in the city limits.

During this process of getting the permits in place, we did have the help of the Corporation from which we bought our Franchise license. They helped with obtaining a location (which took about 8 months to find the ideal location) and help with the design of the shop itself.

With all that being said, the entire permit process took about 4 months. Once we were given final approval, which was right before the Thanksgiving holiday, it took another 4 months for construction. The construction delay was partly due to all the holidays during this time, the rainy weather, the PG&E hold up due to floods in our area, etc.

I must add that the City of Campbell Community Development Department and the Planning Department were great to work with. They understood that this was my first go at doing this sort of project and they helped explain the process and what I needed to submit to obtain the correct permits.

We opened our doors for business (our soft opening) on March 30th. We will be having a Grand Opening and Campbell Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 1st, 2017. In the meantime, we are going to install outside tables, umbrellas and a park bench for our guests to enjoy their treats outside with the warm weather. In order to do this, I need to obtain an outside eating permit. And so the saga continues…..


Tina Fisher
Rita’s of Campbell

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