Many types of businesses need to be licensed by the Cambridge License Commission before they are able to conduct business within the City of Cambridge. Find out whether you need a license/permit from us:
Whenever you apply for a license/permit, the Board of License Commissioners may hold a hearing to decide whether the license will be granted. The Board holds meetings, which are open to the public, every month, check the hearing schedule to find out when the next hearing is. Learn more about our hearings below.
Depending on the matter, type of license/permit and/or action taken by the Board of License Commissioners, its decisions are appealable to other agencies or Massachusetts Superior Court. You should ask about your appeal rights and should note that the timeline in which to file an appeal depends on the matter at hand.
Violation hearings can be based on a complaint received, a CAD or police incident report, or an inspection conducted by the Cambridge Police or a License Commission Investigator or designee. Hearings are open to the public, and any person testifying as to the matter must do so under oath. Any person cited for a violation hearing may present evidence through witness testimony, photographs, videos, documents, etc. The Board decides cases based on the evidence presented to it at the hearing and may take into account any previous complaints and/or disciplinary action.
License Commission file viewing hours* are as follows:
Monday: 9:00am - 7:30pm.
Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Public records fees are as follows**:
Copies - first 50 pages are free.
$.05/page for black and white 8.5" x 11"
$.20/page for black and white legal size
$.30/page for color 8.5" x 11"
$.40/page for color legal size
The time spent by the License Commission staff to find, segregation, file, archive, and redact will be billed if more than two (2) hours.
* Please note that many of our files contain information that is not public and that must be redacted by law. Therefore, even if you seek to view a file during our "viewing hours," depending on the size of the file, contents therein and whether the proper staff person to remove the non-public information is available, you may have to make an appointment for a later day or time to view the file.
** This is not a comprehensive list of all applicable fees. No fees will be charged until an estimate has been provided to the requester.
The Cambridge License Commission does not issue all types of licenses. The following are examples of licenses which are issued by other departments or state agencies. For a more comprehensive list, please see the state Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation website.
Department of Public Health