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OPEN A BUSINESS

YOUR GUIDE

The Economic and Community Development Commission welcomes you to Ridgefield. We appreciate and recognize that you have many options on where and how to open a business today, and even more options with the advent of remote work. The ECDC welcomes you to town and will work with you to make opening, maintaining, and growing your business as easy as possible from a town and regulatory perspective.

This page contains information to help you legally form and open your business in the United States, Connecticut, and Ridgefield. If you plan to have a physical business presence in town, we will help you navigate the town departments that might need to weigh in on the business (e.g. planning and zoning, the tax assessor, the historic district, etc.).
 

Establishing a legal business entity in the U.S. and CT is fairly simple and can be done online. This page will walk you through the broad steps on how.  It may be helpful to engage a local attorney to complete the entity formation.

CREATE AN INVESTMENT THESIS AND BUSINESS PLAN

If you have not done this already, we suggest you create a business plan to help you consider the risks, benefits, and rewards of starting and running your own business. While the ECDC does not get involved in our town businesses at this level, we are happy (on an individual basis) to discuss your plan with you and direct you to local resources that may be of help. They include:

 

Form your business entity

  • All business entities must have a tax ID at the federal and state level. There are many types of legal entities you can form for your business, from S-Corps to C-Corps, depending on whether you will have partners or outside investors, or be a sole owner of a business.

  • The IRS Business Structures page shows the common business entities typically formed in the US. The most common business forms are sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and S corporations. The SBA Business Structure page gives more detailed descriptions of each entity. You must choose your U.S. business structure and register with the federal government before registering with the state. You may need to get a Employer Identification Number or EIN. You can apply for an EIN from the IRS on a regular or expedited basis.

  • Once you have chosen your business structure, registered with the federal government, and received an EIN if needed, you can register with the State of Connecticut. The state now offers a convenient new business checklist to help you start your business.

  • Retail and space renting businesses (hotels, motels, lodging houses, or bed and breakfast establishments) are required to register with the State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.

  • When you have formed your entity at the federal and state level, the town encourages registration at the town hall. If you plan to work from home and have formed your business entity, congratulations and welcome. 

WORK FROM HOME

If you plan to work from home and have formed your business entity, you will need to register with the town any equipment you use in your business (e.g. office equipment, work vehicles, outdoor equipment used in the business, etc.) for the purpose of the town assessing personal property tax on those items. Here are the forms you need to complete with the town.

 

Home-based businesses, also known as “Home Occupations,” need to meet certain provisions to operate out of a residence. If the area of your home-based business (a “Home Office”) does not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the total square footage of the home, and you have no employees at the home (with some additional requirements noted in the link above), you do not need a zoning permit.

 

If your home-based business is between 20-25% of the total square footage of the home (a “Minor Home Occupation”) and you have no more than one nonresident employee on the premises (with some additional requirements noted in the link above), you will need a zoning permit from the Planning and Zoning Department.


If your home-based business is greater than 25% of the total square footage of the home (a “Major Home Occupation”) and you have two or more employees on the premises (with some additional requirements noted in the link above), you will need a special permit from the Planning and Zoning Department.

 

WORK IN TOWN

If you plan to operate a retail, manufacturing, distribution or service business in town where you need to lease, modify or build a physical space, Ridgefield has several areas you may consider, depending on the type of business (e.g. retail, commercial, industrial, etc.). You may think about hiring a realtor to help you locate the right property to lease or on which to build. Another idea is to talk with the Planning and Zoning Department to discuss the project concept and approval process.

 

We have a few types of business zones and retail areas. This link will show you the locations and types of residential and business zones from the Town’s 2018 map.

 

Business zones

 

The CDD district is in the north part of town and along U.S. Route 7. The B-1, B-2 and B-3 zones are along U.S. Route 7 and sprinkled throughout town North and East of the CBD.
 

If you plan to open commercial office space, light industry business, retail, etc., and build or modify the space, you will need town permits as described below, many of which are online.

 

Open For Business

OPEN YOUR BUSINESS

A good place to start is to talk with the Director of Planning and Zoning or the Zoning Enforcement Officer to discuss the requirements to open your business in town.

 

Permitting

 

BUSINESS CONTACTS AND RESOURCES

RIDGEFIELD


Economic & Community Development Commission 400 Main Street
(203) 431 - 2700 


Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce

383 Main Street, 2B
(203) 438-5992 


Town Departments
 (66 Prospect Street)

CONNECTICUT


CT Department of Consumer Protection

Liquor Control Board

(860) 713-6200

Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)

 

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