City council to consider paying for the newspaper ads
© Guardian photo
Residents in Charlottetown wanting to start their own business at home still have to purchase advertisements in The Guardian.
City council voted 6-4 at its July monthly public meeting Monday night against a resolution that would have rescinded a section of the zoning and development bylaw that makes it mandatory.
That bylaw stipulates that when a resident applies to start a home-based business the city calls it a home occupation residents within 100 metres have to receive notification by mail and the home owner applying for that business must fork out approximately $300 for the cost of two advertisements in the newspaper. The purpose of the advertisements is, of course, to notify area residents.
Coun. Rob Lantz, chair of planning, was one of the four councillors who don't think home owners should be forced to pay the cost of the ads.
"The issue was brought forward by planning staff and they obviously get comments from people who are applying for these licences that it's a bit of an unreasonable expense but, at this point, it's still a requirement,'' Lantz said.
Couns. Jason Coady, Melissa Hilton and Cecil Villard agree with Lantz.
"It's another barrier, it's another fee, it's more bureaucratic red tape. I think we've always done a good job of notifying people with the mailouts in the neighbourhoods and I think on P.E.I. word of mouth is probably the most efficient form of communication.
"When we find there is opposition to these applications it's spreads through the neighbourhoods very, very quickly and we hear about it from many, many people.''
In those cases, council tends to call a public meeting.
On average, the city gets four or five applications a year.
Once the vote was over, Lantz quickly introduced a motion from the floor calling on the city to foot the cost of the advertisements. Villard asked that the motion be deferred so council could discuss the cost to the city.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, one of the six councillors who supported leaving the bylaw as is, said he understands Lantz's motivation but feels the ads guarantee everyone, regardless of whether they are within 100 metres or not, knows what is happening.
"I believe we should be doing everything in our power to be transparent,'' Tweel said. "It's not perfect but the process and procedures, to my mind, works well.''
Tweel says letters sometimes don't get to people, who may be away from home, as quickly as they should so publishing ads covers all bases.
The city's Official Plan supports home occupations as a form of economic and community development. Over the last 12 years, the city has received about 60 applications.