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Text of Document: Dear Maven,
A citizen wants to open a small industrial operation in an area zoned for retail. This isn’t a good fit. How do we nip it in the bud?
Dear Talking Shop,
Obtaining a driver’s license is much like acquiring a business license. The Department of Safety issues a driver’s license if you meet the basic requirements. But speeding, failing to yield, and other driving-related offenses fall under a separate state law. Similarly, a business license must be issued to a person entitled to operate a business. Opening an establishment in an incorrect zone, however, should be handled as a zoning violation.
My recommendation is to prepare an outline of the procedures necessary to operate a business in the city. It should tell the party to:
· check with the city’s codes enforcement officer to make sure that the proposed business is located in the proper zone,
· obtain a business license, and
· contact the appropriate utility provider to ensure the availability of water, sewer, gas, electric, telephone, and other required utilities.
Next, have the applicant read and sign a form stating:
I understand that obtaining a business license does not entitle me to operate a business in an area that is not zoned for such a business, and that the city may take legal action if necessary to enforce its zoning regulations.
The form does not restrict in any way the citizen’s right to a business license, and it notifies the applicant that he or she is required to comply with the city’s zoning laws.
Don J. Darden
Municipal Management Consultant