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Business permit idea to come before Council


January 14, 2010

When Planning and Development Committee members met Thursday, they realized that without knowing what and what type of businesses are within the city limits, it will be virtually impossible to revamp zoning codes. "We're talking about zoning, and we don't know what's out there," Mayor Tim Solomon said. Monday, the committee will present a recommendation for a business permit ordinance to the full City Council. All businesses would have to obtain a business permit from the city for a $25 fee. A business is defined as an entity providing products or services for a profit, including home-based businesses. An annual renewal will be required. The fee will cover the administrative costs, but will not be a revenue maker for the city, Solomon said, and committee members agreed. Committee Chairperson Janet Trethewey suggested adding an incentive to get businesses to register, but the committee and people in attendance said that the permit is a base necessity. "You can't put lipstick on this pig," committee member Pam Hillery said, adding that there will be no direct or measurable benefit for businesses to obtain the permits. "The city has to do this." The process of gathering business information through the permits will be a parallel process to revamping the zoning codes. As the city has grown, what were once the outskirts have become residential areas and commercial areas have been pushed further from the center. Also, medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries are not addressed in the zoning codes, and they need to be fit in the overall zoning, Trethewey said. The city also must incorporate the 100 or so recently annexed properties From the county into the codes. The properties' current zoning is grandfathered under the annexation ordinance, but if the use ever changes, the city needs to be have its own zoning in place. Some of the properties are zoned as industrial, but the c i ty has no such c ode. Commercial general is the most broad code the city has, and it includes businesses of an industrial nature. C ommi t t e e memb e r s agreed that medical marijuana operations would logically fit in the commercial general designation, as well, saying that pharmaceutical- and plant-growing-oriented operations are listed under the same designation. The committee also will look at other cities' zoning code definitions with the intent of simplifying some of the extensive lists of what can and cannot be within one zone.


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