In Commercial Space

Allowed & Permitted Uses

Confirm with landlord and/or Planning Department that your business is a permitted use. Note: "like for like" uses (e.g. a new retail business replacing existing retail) in commercial space less than 1,500 square feet typically does not require planning approval. New use of space may require a conditional use permit and is based on the Mill Valley Municipal Code requirements for a Zoning District and parking ratios associated with types of use. See Municipal Code Title 20 for permitted uses by Zoning District and Section 20.60.090 for parking ratios. Go to Marin Map to view the City's Zoning Districts.


Confirm with the City Planning Department to see if your physical alternations to the interior or exterior will require planning review or a building permit.

  • Exterior paint color may require the city's review.
  • Accessibility improvements may apply.
  • Many commercial properties are also within the FEMA floodplain, and require property owners to document the amount of improvements made to a property. View more information about construction in a floodplain or floodway. To confirm if your commercial property is in the floodplain, go to Marin Map services.


Most new exterior signage requires a permit through the City Planning Department.

Please note: Internally illuminated signs are not allowed in the Lytton Square/Town Center area and the portion of the East Blithedale/Alto Center area east of Lomita Drive. Neon signs and A-frame or "sandwich board" signs are also prohibited. Temporary signs are allowed for a period of 4 weeks per calendar year and shall not exceed a total of 12 square feet in size nor obscure more than 15% of an individual window, whichever is less.

Licenses to Operate

A business license is required for all businesses in Mill Valley. Learn more about Business Licenses.

Outdoor Display & Dining

Requires a permit processed through the Planning Department.

Mandatory Recycling and Composting Laws

Mandatory Commercial Recycling (LINK)

AB 341 was adopted into California Law in 2012 to enhance systems that capture recyclable materials from the commercial sector. It requires businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week, including schools, to arrange for recycling services or self- haul to a recycling center. It also requires that multifamily complexes with five units or more arrange for recycling services or self- haul to a recycling center.