Home-based businesses still have to advertise

Dave Stewart
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City council to consider paying for the newspaper ads

Charlottetown City Hall

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City council voted 6-4 at its July monthly public meeting Monday night against a resolution that would have rescinded a section of the zoning and development bylaw that makes it mandatory.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.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: The Guardian.City council

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Tweel must go...
    July 10, 2012 - 15:06

    Please spare us you concerns Tweel. Forcing people to buy ads in the guardian is ruthless and draconian. Get with the times and stop seeking headlines. When big stores come to town do we force them to buy advertising according to Tweel.

  • Interesting
    July 10, 2012 - 14:58

    I would have to say it would largely depend on the type of business been run from any given home. I have been running a home based consulting business for four plus years. I answer phone calls, emails etc. from my home office but the actual consulting process takes place on the client's turf and not my own. So, I would question why I would be required to spend $300 to inform my neighbors what I am doing (if they are not already aware-- they are neighbors) as it really has no affect on their lives--unless of course they'd like to hire me, in that case they would be doing the paying. I for one prefer to chose where I spend my advertising dollars and not dictated to, unless, of course, the dictator wishes to pay said advertising bill.

  • Nancy Mill
    July 10, 2012 - 13:34

    If it is only a small business starting up, a $300 cost can be a deterrent right off the mark. What about requiring the business owner to obtain signatures from neighbors - that would allow him/her to circulate the information in his/her own area, contacting the people that would be most directly affected by the business operations. If someone is not at home, a form could be left requesting their signature, as presumably they would be home at some point.

  • Really, tsk tsk
    July 10, 2012 - 13:21

    What is next? Yard sales? Or maybe they already are?

  • GladIDontLIveHere
    July 10, 2012 - 13:07

    well well, isnt this a cozy little partnership this newspaper and the so-called powers-that-be seem to have...hmmmm "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." because (and I have to giggle here Mr. Tweel) "letters sometimes don't get to people, who may be away from home, as quickly as they should so publishing ads covers all bases." what a CROCK!!! with most business choosing the Internet as a way to advertise then why MUST a start-up home business fork out $300 to this or any other paper and make an 'announcement'.....sounds like a money-grabbing scheme even though, as this story reports, the council only receives 4 to 5 applications per year....Island politics, sadly, are a JOKE!!!!!

  • Trevor Leclerc
    July 10, 2012 - 13:03

    With respect to Mitch Tweel, These ads only reach the people who purchase the print edition of Guardian anyway. This requirement is behind the times. I read the Guardian online only; I would only know my neighbour were to open a home based business if he or she told me with a letter. Since I live within 100 m, why make them spend $300 for an ad only a small minority will only see? Why make them mail me a letter? i could sign something so say they informed me and let them try to make their lives a LITTLE easier.

  • Michael
    July 10, 2012 - 11:52

    It's business. Get used to the imposition. I agree with Tweel; the information needs to be distributed further than 100 metres. Look at it this way; it's advertising the business as much as application for the business to operate in a non-business location, and that should be the responsibility of the business owner.