Starting a Business in Bath?

What Kind of Business?

This is important because it could determine the steps necessary to getting your business started.  Are you starting a Home-Occupancy or conventional Commercial business?  A Home-Occupancy is any use conducted within a dwelling unit by members of the family residing therein, which is clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use of the dwelling, does not change the residential character thereof, and does not emit any sound or noise discernible outside of the dwelling unit and requires no parking for patrons or employees.  The term “Home Occupation” shall include but shall not be limited to post and preschool care for six (6) or “latch-key” children.  Home occupations, in addition to other zoning regulations, cannot exceed 25% of the total square footage of the residence.  There are also Home Professional Occupations, such as lawyers, architects, and engineers who work from the home.

Any other commercial based business is that of an enterprise, occupation, trade or profession engaged in, either continuously or temporarily, for remuneration or gain, or the occupancy or use of a building or premises or any portion thereof for barter or monetary transaction or the rendering or receiving of professional services.

Please note: THE BOROUGH OF BATH DOES NOT HAVE A MIXED-USE DISTRICT.  Mixed-use would allow for up to two (2) uses in a building.  As of now, the Borough’s Zoning Ordinance has a more than one principal use prohibition.  Borough Council is working to ease this restriction within the Borough’s Parking Overlay District, which would effect 72 properties in the downtown area.  For example, this would allow situations where a business (commercial use) is permissible on the first floor and a residential (residential use) is on the second floor.  If the Borough passes a mixed-use amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, prospective business owners will be required to follow all Uniform Construction Code (UCC) rules and regulations for the building in which the use occurs.

The following is general information on obtaining a home occupation or commercial business.  There are no guarantees your specific use will be compatible with the zoning district for which you are applying for.  Other rules and conditions could apply.

Home-Occupancy Use

Step ONE – You will need to file a Moving Permit with the Borough of Bath.  The moving permit form may be found on this website, under the Government Menu, select the ‘Permits and Applications’ tab.  The moving permit will assist the Borough office confirming that you actually reside at the potential location of your business.

Step TWO – You need to file a Zoning Application.  We need to ensure that the business you propose will be in compliance with the designated Borough Zoning District.  For example, one cannot open a car dealership in a Low Residential neighborhood!  The Zoning Application will also assist to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the Home-Occupancy building use.  Zoning Applications are found on this website, under the Government Menu, select the ‘Permits and Applications’ tab.

Step THREE – You may also need to confirm your property address because it could lie within the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) District.  You may need to follow other requirements if your business is located within the HARB District.  Certain restrictions may apply.

Step FOUR – Finally, once the previous steps are complete, you need to file an annual Business Registration with the Borough of Bath.  These registrations cost $25.00 a year, due by July 1.

Under the Community Menu, select the ‘Maps of the Borough’ tab.  There is an up-to-date Zoning Map and HARB District of the Borough on that webpage.

Commercial Use

Step ONE – You need to file a Zoning Application.  The prospective business you are trying to open will need to be checked against current Zoning laws.

Step TWO – Once the Zoning Application has been given approval, you need to file a Business Registration with the Borough.  These registrations cost $25.00 a year, due by July 1.

The above is some standard information to help answer basic questions.  Other rules, Ordinances, laws, and regulations from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry may apply.  You must also ensure your business meets the Uniform Construction Code and State Building Codes.  Most of this is taken care of during the Zoning Application and Inspection phase.  Once these steps are complete and approval is given, we welcome you to the community and wish you the very best!

If your business is in the food service industry, you will need to file for a Health Department license.  These licenses cost $100 for start-up food service businesses and annual inspections by the Health Department are required.  Health Department licenses must be renewed each year and cost $75.00.

Business Taxes

One of the best reasons to start a business in the Borough of Bath is because there are NO BUSINESS TAXES!!  Aside from a nominal Business Registration and fee, which is required to be renewed each year, the Borough does not levy any other business taxes.  There are no Mercantile Taxes, no Business Privilege Taxes, and no Mechanical Device Taxes!

Employer Information on Earned Income Taxes


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(Last Updated 10/08/2015)

(Last revised 06/23/2017)