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Ease of Doing Business

If you are a new business to Novi or wish to expand and need access to permit applications, please visit the City of Novi's website.

Our Novi community continues to host major investments and be a desirable location for businesses and residents to locate. Our great location, high-quality education choices, powerful retail magnet presence, excellent public safety and dynamic high-tech office opportunity are just some of the qualities Novi offers. In 2005, Novi had the highest amount of significant and new investment activity in the State of Michigan. We are working hard as a staff to be the best place for continued quality investment. The purpose of this correspondence is to provide you with an update on several significant streamlining and modernization initiatives to continue being a great place to do business.

Liquor Licenses
Site Plan and Development Manual
Development Review Process - Review and Recommendations
Sign Ordinance
Office Service Technology Zoning District - Increased Height Allowance in Appropriate Areas
Streamlining Review of Outdoor Seating at Restaurants
Streamlining Review of Temporary Uses
Retail Parking Standards
Property Tax Abatement Policy

Liquor Licenses

Section 3-13 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances requires an application and review process for the issuance of new licenses and the transfer of existing licenses into the city or between or among applicants.

To apply for a new license (often referred to as a quota license), you must first submit the license application to the MLCC, along with any license, permit, and inspection fees. For MLCC forms and information, visit . As of November 2013, the City of Novi holds no quota licenses.

Once the MLCC has notified the City of Novi of the application for a new license or transfer of a license, the applicant must complete the City of Novi Liquor License Application and submit directly to the Novi City Clerk’s Office.
 City of Novi Liquor License Application

The application includes the following:

Questionnaires A, B and C
Non-refundable application fee
Site Plan
Building Façade Plan
Interior Plan with seating arrangement
Administrative Special Land Use
Any other pertinent information as requested by the Clerk’s Office
Please read Section 3-15(g) “Review criteria”, of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances. City Council will refer to the review criteria when considering the request.

Any questions regarding the City of Novi Liquor License Application and local government approval, please contact the Novi City Clerk’s Office at 248-347-0456.

Site Plan and Development Manual

The City Council recently adopted an updated City of Novi Site Plan and Development Manual. This document is written for and provided to the development community to provide an overview of Novi’s development review standards, provide requirements for site plan and application submittals, and answer frequently asked questions. Planning Staff prepared the manual to provide easy electronic reference to the City’s Site Plan Review procedures and to reduce the number of paper copies that are currently distributed. The new electronic version will allow for reduced costs in duplicating paper copies (since many times the entire document is not needed), and will reduce the impact of unneeded papers being added to the waste stream.

Among the updates to the manual include hyperlinks to allow applicants to directly link to required forms or relevant information provided elsewhere on the webpage. Other changes include details of the Planned Rezoning Overlay Review process; combined sections for similar topics (i.e. Woodland and Wetland Permit requirements are discussed in a Natural Features Chapter); updated standards for Traffic Impact Studies to reflect the most current trip generation manual; and updated and refreshed application forms.
 Site Plan and Development Manual

Development Review Process
Review and Recommendations

Two men shaking handsWe are committed to process improvement within our City of Novi organization. The building permit and site plan review process has many steps and participants which lends itself to a review. Recently, we recommended, and the City Council supported, using outside expertise to assist a City staff team to review current processes and make recommendations. We retained the Sikich Group for this work. The recommendations will be focused on saving time from unnecessary work so that businesses and the City can focus on items that are truly important and continue to deliver quality projects which mean standards and ordinances. The final Sikich report has been accepted and is being implemented.
 Site Plan Approval Process & Estimated Timeline

Top of PageSign Ordinance

A major initiative is updating our sign ordinance to modernize, clarify, and open, in certain circumstances, to better serve the community. For several months, City Council’s Ordinance Review Committee (ORC) deliberated over the sign regulations. The ORC spent considerable time reviewing the ordinance. The new ordinance represents a balance of meeting economic needs of business while maintaining high standards and safety. Responding to the needs of office uses, which represent a substantial amount of investment and are a major presence in Novi, the ordinance now allows both a wall sign and a ground sign in the OS zoning districts for buildings more than 40,000 square feet. Other uses, such as restaurant uses, are given additional signage as well.
 Sign Ordinance (June 2009 with January 2010 amendments appended)

Office Service Technology Zoning District
Increased Height Allowance in Appropriate Areas

Our OST Zoning District continues to attract high-value and desirable job creators. To keep this momentum, the Novi City Council requested, the Planning Commission recommended, a change to the OST Planned Office Service Technology District regarding building height requirements for land border freeways north of Grand River Avenue. The change does not alter our predominantly low-rise suburban character, but does give flexibility for the future. The contemplated change to a 115’ maximum building height under limited circumstances is modeled on the height maximum that Providence Hospital is now using.
Outdoor seatingZoning Map (Mapping Portal)

Streamlining Review of Outdoor Seating at Restaurants

Currently, the Zoning Ordinance expressly authorizes outdoor seating in only the TC and TC-1 zoning districts. Users in all other commercial districts must go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for approval. This is a fairly onerous process for businesses to go through in light of the fact that the request is often for two or three tables on the sidewalk. The new ordinance allows for outdoor seating for existing restaurants.
 Restaurant Outdoor Seating Ordinance Update
For more information, visit the City of Novi's website.

Recent Warm Weather Update:
On March 26, 2012 the Novi City Council approved a resolution to suspend the April 15 start date for Outdoor Seating to allow businesses to take advantage of the early spring weather beginning immediately. The resolution also streamlined the approval process for the balance of 2012 with reduced documentation for approval of Outdoor Seating Plans. Please contact the Andy Gerecke or Charles Boulard with the Community Development Department 248-347-0415 for additional information. For more information, visit the City of Novi's website.

Top of PageStreamlining Review of Temporary Uses

Temporary uses include items such as construction trailers, sales trailers, concrete batch plants, tent sales, sidewalk sales, etc. The notification process is being changed from a Public Hearing to an administrative review of temporary uses with an option for public advertising, under limited circumstances as warranted.
 Temporary Special Land Use Ordinance - Effective 5/27/08

Retail Parking Standards

A concern was raised that the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance does not effectively account for difference in demand generated by many types of retail activity, and the overall standards may be higher than the City would desire. The Planning Department has formulated a number of recommendations to bring shopping center parking standards more in line with current findings contained within respected research studies and in order to address perceived concerns about excessive parking for certain types of retail uses. By allowing minimum parking standards closer to the number of spaces needed for the majority of situations, the City would be promoting the redevelopment possibility of some of the established shopping centers and other retail uses in our city.
 Retail Parking Standards Update

Top of PageProperty Tax Abatement Policy

Property tax abatement is an incentive provided primarily to build new plants in Michigan or renovate and expand aging assembly and manufacturing, and research plants. The incentive comes in the form of abated property taxes. The value of the project added will produce 50% of the taxes for a set period of time and then resume to the full tax value at the end of the abatement period.  Read the City of Novi's Tax Abatement Policy by clicking on the link below.
 Property Tax Abatement Policy


For more information on any of these initiatives, please contact  Lauren Royston, Economic Development Director at 248-347-0583 or via email.