Business Resources

Starting Your Business In La Jolla

Thinking of starting a business in La Jolla? Here’s some helpful information. If you don’t know already,  La Jolla is a small village on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. We are technically located in the City of San Diego. You may find a reference to our addresses with a San Diego or La Jolla city listing. We typically use La Jolla and have our own zip code of 92037.

Because La Jolla is in the City of San Diego your business must meet all of San Diego’s zoning and permitting requirements, as well as obtain a San Diego Business Tax Certificate which may include special assessments and benefits.

Request a Ribbon Cutting

Have you recently opened a business in La Jolla Village?  Are you planning a grand opening celebration or reception?  La Jolla Village Merchants Association is here to help promote and publicize your event.  Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies are a time-honored tradition and represent a new beginning in our community. If you would like to request a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, please complete this Ribbon Cutting Request Form. We will assist with press coverage, social media, event listings, photography and — of course — provide the ribbon and scissors for the big day!

La Jolla Community Groups

The La Jolla Village Merchant’s Association is one of 14 community groups made up of dedicated volunteers committed to serving La Jolla’s needs. These range from Traffic and Transportation to Parks and Beaches. Thanks to the La Jolla Light, you can see the most updated list of these organizations here.

As a business you will want to familiarize yourself with the purpose and process of these various groups,  For example, if your plans involve building a new building or renovate an existing one; changing the front of an existing business (color of paint, type of material, etc) or putting signage on the exterior of a building; you’re required to seek local approvals prior to permitting with the City of San Diego Development Services.

Listed below are the groups most relevant to business owners:

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA)

There has been long-standing citizen involvement in planning in the City of San Diego. The City Council adopted policies in the 1960s and 1970s that established and recognized community planning groups as formal mechanisms for community input in the land use decision-making processes. Community planning groups (CPG) provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City Council, the Planning Commission, and other decision-makers on development projects, general or community plan amendments, rezoning, and public facilities. The recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process and are highly regarded by the City Council and by staff.

Learn More

La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board

The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking board works directly with the City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission to make sure all visitors and residents can easily and equally access the beautiful natural resources found along La Jolla’s coastline.  La Jolla Village Merchants Association assists the La Jolla Coastal and Parking Board in administrative matters including the public posting of agendas, meeting minutes, and other documents.
More information about LJCAP can be found here. Current agendas and minutes are below.  The next meeting takes place on September 24 via ZOOM at 4:00 PM.  All are welcome.  Register in advance for this meeting HERE.

La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (LJPDO)

For all new projects in the Village, including building façade, exterior signage approval, as well as new and renovated buildings in La Jolla you must go through a presentation of your project concept to the PDO. The committee will review and decide if the project falls in line with the City of San Diego – La Jolla Community Plan. If approved the project will be recommended to LJCPA to proceed to the City of San Diego Development Services for permitting. Learn More

Enhance La Jolla (Maintenance Assessment District/MAD)

Enhance La Jolla is an organization dedicated to the maintenance and physical improvement of the Village of La Jolla. Currently being established as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, Enhance La Jolla is managed by La Jolla property owners and other community stakeholders. The primary goal of the organization is to help ensure that the Village remains the jewel of San Diego and create inviting and appealing public spaces that will bring people together and improve the quality of life.  Learn More

La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA)

We bring business to La Jolla! is contracted by the City of San Diego to manage the La Jolla Business Improvement District (BID). When you start your new business in La Jolla you will apply for a City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate – you have 15 days to obtain this from the date you open your business. After that date significant fees and penalties will be added to your tax statement, so don’t delay this task on your checklist! I can get quite costly.

You will receive an additional invoice from the City of San Diego if they determine that your address and business fall within the La Jolla Business Improvement District (LJVMA). Those fees range from $45 – $350 annually depending on your business type and location. After the 1st year, the annual business tax and Business Improvement District (BID) assessment will be invoiced together. The number on your City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate is your membership number for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.  Learn More

Benefits of a BID (Business Improvement District)

  • A BID unifies all businesses to work toward a common goal, which often economically revitalizes a Business District.
  • A BID mitigates retail sales leakage by allowing the area to compete more effectively for regional market share through the generation of greater local marketing resources and strengths.
  • A BID supports businesses in the area through commercial recruitment, retention, and promotion as well as through the sponsorship of “shop at home” and downtown image-building campaigns.
  • A BID creates a strong unified voice to represent business interests to local government agencies.
  • A BID funds other projects such as clean-up programs, decorations, parks, and special events.
  • A BID assists in leveraging public and private resources for program activities, development projects, and other commercial revitalization efforts.

City of San Diego

La Jolla is part of the City of San Diego which is made up of nine districts. La Jolla is part of District One and which includes Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, La Jolla, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines and University City.

District 1 (La Jolla) City Council Member Barbara Bry:
City Administration Building, 202 C St., MS #10A, San Diego, CA 92101. (619) 236-6611. [email protected],

Get it Done! – Your Direct Connection to City Services

Do you have a question, concern, or need to report an issue related to city services (or lack thereof)?  Use the Get it Done app!  Check it out here.  Plus, it can be downloaded to most smartphones (via the Apple Store and Google Play) so when you see something you can report it immediately with location information, photos, etc.  Get it Done also allows you to see previous reports and track progress.  By far, the Get it Done app is the best way to – well – GET IT DONE!

Get it Done Categories:

  • Traffic, Parking & Vehicle Related Issues
    Trash Collection, Recycling & Graffiti
  • Streets, Sidewalks & Lights
  • Trees & Vegetation
  • Storm Water & Drains
  • Passport Services
  • Encampment

Small Business Development – City of San Diego

Some people know exactly what they want to do but don’t know exactly how to carry it out while others aren’t immediately sure what kind of business they should start. Consider your interests and skills in developing your business idea. Research business potential by gathering information from industry associations, Web searches, periodicals, federal and state agencies, and other resources. Develop your idea by putting it in writing; outline the tools and strategies for your business success. This written Business Plan is your roadmap for starting and growing your business.

To access resources to assist you in this process contact the Economic Development Office at (619) 236-6505. Knowledgeable staff will provide referrals to agencies and resources to help you explore business ideas, research opportunities, write your business plan, and kick-start your business.

Once you know what kind of business you want to start, learn about the key regulatory steps of starting and operating a business within the City of San Diego. If you have additional questions or concerns you may contact the City’s Small Business Ambassador at (619) 533-6474. If you are interested in local policies which affect small business, attend a Small Business Advisory Board meeting.

Once you have decided on a business and know the next steps, then you may start thinking about opening a business storefront. The City offers design and financial assistance with personalizing an existing storefront to fit your business needs. Learn more about the Storefront Improvement Program.

City of San Diego Economic Development Department

The Economic Development Department manages a variety of programs to directly assist small businesses, ranging from providing detailed information on City and regional services to help with startup questions and providing assistance with permitting issues. OSB also provides matching grants to businesses in targeted areas for storefront renovation projects. The staff serves as advocates for small business concerns and coordinates several programs to ensure that small businesses have a voice in many issues that affect their ability to succeed.

Contact: 619-236-6700 | [email protected] | Learn More

Small Business Financing

There are many financial resources for small businesses in San Diego that work in conjunction with the City of San Diego. Activities include small business loans and the issuance of industrial development bonds. Most loan programs require that businesses demonstrate one year of business history.

For more information: 619-236-6700 or email [email protected]Learn More

Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Program

The City of San Diego encourages greater availability, capacity development and contract participation by Small Local Business Enterprises (SLBEs) in City contracts. This policy is intended to further the City’s compelling interest to stimulate economic development through the support and empowerment of the local community. It also strives to ensure that it is neither an active nor passive participant in marketplace discrimination as well as to promote equal opportunity for all segments of the contracting community. Learn More

Ten Key Steps

There are several key steps to starting a business in the City of San Diego. The steps may vary according to the type of business you intend to start, but the following guide for 10 Key Steps to Starting a Business will give you a general idea.

Note: Many of the following steps can be researched and accomplished by first visiting the respective websites listed, rather than calling or visiting agency offices.

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Other Business Resources

Acción San Diego

ACCION San Diego provides credit and training for low-to-moderate-income micro-entrepreneurs throughout San Diego County. With micro-loans ranging from $300-$75,000, clients can increase their inventory, buy equipment and raw materials and stabilize and grow their businesses. ACCION also helps clients build favorable credit histories and improve their business skills with one-on-one training in bookkeeping, preparation of financial statements, and credit repair.

T: 619.795.7250 Ext. 410

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