New teeth proposed for business license bylaw

Staff agrees there are unlicensed businesses operating in town

Town council is looking for input into a new business licensing law that will set specific expectations for home-based businesses and charge back fire inspection fees for all commercial businesses.

At the request of the local RCMP the proposed bylaw includes strict regulations for pawn shops that will allow police to monitor their inventory.

Shirley McMahon, Princeton Director of Finance, said the proposed bylaw is more aggressive than the current legislation drafted in 1991 as it gives the municipal bylaw enforcement officer the ability to write tickets to enforce the rules.

Under the new law operating a business without a license would incur a $100 fine.

While the bylaw stops short of actually defining a business, she said it does address home businesses specifically.

When asked if there are home businesses operating in Princeton now without a license she said “yes…but we don’t know how many because of course they are not licensed.”

Under the new bylaw home-based businesses will pay an annual licensing fee of $70. Business operating in commercial properties will pay $70 plus $50 for a fire inspection certificate.  To date the municipality has paid fire inspection fees for all businesses.

The bylaw was given two readings at council Monday night, and staff was directed to seek input from community stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, on the proposed changes before a third reading.

Mayor Frank Armitage said he expects there will be considerable discussion surrounding the bylaw, but added “we really have to come of age” when it comes to licensing businesses.

The Spotlight contacted several home-based business owners, but few were willing to comment on the issue.

Bob Marsh, who operates Bob Marsh Photography, from his home, said he currently does not have a business license but will be happy to get one. “I don’t have a problem with it. If you are going to be professional and want to be seen as professional it’s the right thing to do.”