The District of Lantzville could require businesses within the community to obtain a business license in the near future.
Lantzville councillors voted in favour of requesting staff to create a business license bylaw, which would be voted on at a later date, during a council meeting on Monday, July 9.
The concept of a business license bylaw stems from recommendations made by the district’s economic development and branding committee. According to committee meeting minutes, potential benefits include creation of a business directory and improved bylaw enforcement.
During Monday’s meeting, Frank Limshue, the district’s community planner, told councillors tthe bylaw would mean home-based businesses would be subjected to inspections, as would commercially zoned properties with functioning businesses on them.
Coun. Will Geselbracht, who made the motion and is a member of the economic development committee, said it will benefit the community and businesses.
“There was unanimous agreement among the committee that a business bylaw is a good idea for Lantzville,” he said.
Geselbracht said the fire department would have a better idea of what businesses are operating and what supplies or materials are on site. He said there are 165 home-based businesses in Lantzville. The bylaw will allow the district to keep track of them, particularly when issues arise.
“We are starting to see certain businesses that may be considered as harassment or nuisance in certain neighbourhoods. I know the district is dealing with one such business on Dickenson Road … and without the business bylaw and in conjunction with our zoning bylaws, it is more difficult to identify problems ahead of time, especially home-based businesses,” he said.
Coun. Denise Haime said she couldn’t support such an idea, calling Lantzville a rural community that is different from everybody else.
“I like a rural community, I won’t deny that. I always have. That has been the uniqueness of Lantzville, is we are not like every other municipality,” she said. “I think that is what makes it attractive for people who want to move here and operate a business here and that there isn’t all this excess regulation.”
However, a business license program wouldn’t change the rural nature of Lantzville according to Coun. Bob Colcough, who told councillors he’s support of the idea and doesn’t think it will be expensive.
“It doesn’t have to be expensive, depending on how far you go with it,” he said, adding that the best thing to do is to wait for a staff report before making any concrete decisions.
Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime said the district’s fire department is already struggling to inspect the commercial properties within the community. It doesn’t need additional duties and cannot support a business license bylaw. He said he doubts there would be any benefit for businesses from a promotional perspective if such a bylaw were adopted.
It’s unclear when staff would bring forward a proposed bylaw, but all bylaws require three readings before final adoption.