City Ponders Cutting Home Biz Red Tape

City Hall is contemplating rolling back red tape for home-based businesses by no longer requiring development permits for businesses with little neighbourhood impact.

People would still have to pay $200 for a business license, but could potentially save $50 on the development permit.  

According to a memo, which will be discussed at Monday’s Municipal Services Committee meeting, the City “receives and processes over a hundred development permit applications for a Home Based Business every year.

“A majority of the Home Based Business applications are exclusively for personal home office use (e.g. book-keeping and administrative tasks)… [which have] minimal impact to the neighbourhood as they do not draw any customers to the home or generate any traffic and are otherwise undetectable from the general public.”

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By halting the requirement for permits, the City would potentially be losing several thousand dollars in revenue; between 2012 and 2015, they raised an average of $7,500 each year from home-based business permits. But the thought is that by “removing the requirements for review of applications and documentation for a home office, staff can allocate more time on other development projects, land use policies and reduce waiting times for residents and applicants.”

Not all home-based business would be let off the permitting hook, only those which, among other things, are” staffed by no more than one resident of the home,” “generate no traffic or parking problems” and “have no customers or patrons in attendance at any given time.”

It’s currently estimated that 80 to 90 percent of home-based businesses in Yellowknife don’t have on-site customers, and would likely be able to pass on the permitting should council decide to vote this measure through.

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