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city departments

City Clerk

The City Clerk’s Office provides information regarding the City of Salem in general, is responsible for elections, and is also where you may obtain a Business Certificate.

Health Department

Salem Health Department delivers public health services to residents, businesses, and visitors to benefit the culturally diverse population of the City of Salem. Public health includes preventing and monitoring disease, providing health education and enforcing public health codes and regulations. Review the list of permit applications to determine what approvals your business may need.

Inspectional Services

Inspectional Services provides answers to questions regarding building and zoning issues, conducts inspections and enforcement actions so as to protect and safeguard all residents and visitors to our city, and evaluates, maintains, and repairs public properties.  Inspectional Services is also home to Zoning Enforcement.  The Zoning Officer is tasked with interpreting the Zoning Code and determining allowable uses for a property based on the Zoning Ordinance and Building Code.

Licensing Department

The Licensing Department manages the Licensing Board, which is tasked with processing, overseeing and renewing the licenses of over 400 establishments of different categories. Among the types of licenses are: Common Victualler (alcohol and non-alcohol), package/convenient stores (alcohol), Auto Dealers, Lodging Houses, Inn Holders, Bed and Breakfasts, Week-day and Sunday Entertainment, Automatic Amusements, Special One Day Alcohol, Street Performers, Seasonal and Halloween Vendors.

Department of Planning & Community Development

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) is responsible for a wide range of activities and duties, including economic development, land use planning, housing policy, transportation projects, historic preservation, open space conservation programs, and neighborhood improvement efforts. DPCD oversees the operation of the Planning BoardConservation CommissionHistorical CommissionZoning Board of Appeals, Harbor Plan Implementation Committee, Artist’s Row and the Salem Redevelopment Authority.

Purchasing Department

The Purchasing Department acquires and disposes of, supplies, services and real property at the best value to the City, while ensuring compliance with all state laws, regulations and City ordinances.

To review current opportunities, please go to


Sign Ordinance

Confused as to what you are allowed for signage for your business?  The City has created a worksheet to help you determine your sign allowances:

Business Licenses & Fees

For additional information regarding Licensing in Salem, please visit the Licensing Department’s website at:


Business Certificates

Any person conducting a business in the City of Salem, under any title other than the complete real name of the owner, whether individually or as a partnership, or any corporation doing business in a name other than the corporate name, must file a business certificate with the Salem City Clerk’s Office.

Online Permitting

The City of Salem conducts all of its permitting online through ViewPoint Cloud.


Where can I learn about Salem properties?

The City of Salem maintains an interactive map where you can search for a property and learn basic information. Please note that this is not a map of properties for lease or sale, but a map of all properties in Salem.

Where can I locate my business?

The Salem Zoning Ordinance dictates where you can locate various types of commercial uses.  Review the Use Regulations in Section 3.0 of the Ordinance. If you have a question as to whether you are allowed to locate your business in a particular area of the City, please contact the Zoning Administrator at 978-619-5641.

Are there parking requirements for my business?

 If you are locating your commercial business in the downtown/B5 zoning district you do not need to provide onsite parking.  However, if you are located outside of the downtown, you may need to provide some parking.  Please see the Parking Requirements in Section 5.0 of the Ordinance. If you have questions regarding parking requirements, please contact the Zoning Administrator at 978-619-5641.

My business needs a drive-thru, am I allowed to have one?

If your space does not have an existing drive-thru, you may apply to the Planning Board for permission to install one. Please see the regulations for drive-thru’s in Section 6.7 of the Ordinance.