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No Havre business licenses after all


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After taking months to draft a business license, Planning and Development Committee members agreed to ditch a formal license in favor of asking businesses to voluntarily register.

Mayor Tim Solomon made the suggestion during the committee's Tuesday night meeting. Voluntarily registering would give the city the information they need to address areas of zoning that no longer are best for the type of use in the area. It would also be beneficial for businesses — Solomon said that if a business doesn't register and the zoning of its location changes, it could be grandfathered in, but that the re-sale value would be diminished.

"I like it, too," committee member Allen "Woody" Woodwick said. "But I don't think we should have it replace t h e l i c e n s e entirely."

"Regardless of what we do, it still relies on the goodwill of our business people," Pam Hillery, a committee member said.

S o l o m o n said that making it voluntary would eliminate some of the push back from local busin e s s own e r s unsure of how a business license wo u l d a f f e c t them.

A section also will be on the registration form, to include basic information for contacts and type of business, that will allow owners to submit comments about specific requests like the need for additional handicap parking and accessible sidewalks.

The recommendation will go before full council Monday for discussion and a vote, and business owners will be asked to register by Aug. 31.

Committee members left open the option of later instituting a license, which was explored after the city placed a six-month moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses.

The deadline to have addressed where and if to allow medical marijuaNa businesses in the city is the first October meeting of full city council, and some discussion took place about placing medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries in either commercial general or commercial intermediate.

"I'm thinking it's going to have to be a commercial area," Woodwick said about locations of the medical marijuana businesses.

Based on information from medical marijuana business owners who previously registered with the city, most of the businesses are in commercial intermediate zones. Most of the downtown area is zoned that way, and commi t tee members discussed changing some of that to residential in areas traditionally used as such.

Numerous times, committee members commented that definitions were daunting to tackle because of their confusing nature.

Neither the attorney nor public works director were present at the meeting as had previously been discussed.

The committee next meets Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 5:15 p.m. in City Hall.


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