Board seeks consistency in business names

Dec. 02, 2013 @ 07:45 PM

Henderson leaders love businesses, but they want their legal entity names to be the same on all their permits and certifications, according to Planning Director Erris Dunston.

The Henderson Planning Board on Monday recommended an ordinance to the City Council aimed at getting that done.

According to Dunston, the city’s job of enforcing city codes fairly and making sure all businesses are being treated the same suffers because of some businesses that are changing owners and company names often.

“There is no way to do any kind of tracking,” she said. “I think the way of resolving this is for all of it to be under one name.”

Members of the planning board asked how city permits, for instance zoning certificates, could be coordinated with state permits such as an Alcohol Beverage Control license.

“It is my understanding the city doesn’t issue that,” said board chairman Michael Rainey.

“The city is involved,” Dunston responded. “But our involvement is only with the zoning part of it.”

The documents do arrive at city offices for review. The problem is that businesses are changing hands to new owners and zoning permits are still valid under the old business entity name.

The new ordinance requires a certificate of zoning compliance whenever a change in ownership, primary occupant or business operator of any structure takes place.

Secondly, all certifications are to be in the same legal entity name as business privilege licenses, fire inspections and alcohol permits issued by the proper government authorities.

When privilege license taxes are issued under the ordinance, they also will bear the requirement that they be in the same legal entity name as the zoning certificate of compliance, fire inspection certificate and alcohol permits issued.

Dunston said that if a future alcohol permit were issued for that business location in a different business entity name, it would not be valid. The business shall be noted by the city as not in compliance with the zoning requirement to have a proper ABC license.

“This will get it to where we can enforce what we need to enforce,” Dunston said.

Dunston pointed out as an example some convenience stores in the city have changed ownership five or more times in the past several years.

The move to require uniformity of business entity names is a step to a comprehensively streamlined process in the issuing of local permits, Dunston said.

“We have started our work on a one-stop permitting process,” she said.

Dunston, in response to whether existing businesses will have to make changes immediately in order to be in compliance, said that the ordinance will apply only to new certificate and permit requests and issuances.

“We’re not going back to the ones we have done before,” she said.

The recommendation by the planning board means the proposal moves to a future meeting of the City Council for a decision.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.