City hopes to ease confusions among names

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 06:05 PM

The Henderson City Council on Monday will hear public input on a plan to require businesses to use the same legal entity name on all their permits and certifications handled by city departments.

The public hearing begins shortly after 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall on Rose Avenue.

At issue, according to Frank Frazier, the assistant city manager, is permits and certifications from different departments having various names. In one example, a special use permit from the zoning board in one business name may have a fire safety inspection in another for the same property.

Frazier said that the inspection or the use permit might not be valid. Following up uses city staff time and could also be an additional burden to businesses as the inquiry requires their response.

“We want to make sure we have the correct names on all the permits,” Frazier said. “If there is a change of ownership or the primary occupant of a building, we need to know that within the permitting process.”

The public hearing on Monday is slated to focus on initial citizen comments. A staff report to council members noted city privilege license and alcohol permits at issue in addition to fire inspections and zoning permits.

The confusion from the development of a hodge-podge of business names impacts the enforcement process, according to the report.

The ordinance sections are noted by number, with the report including the proposed changes in wording. The Henderson Planning Board recommended the ordinance changes last month.

Planning board members noted staff concerns that the job of enforcing city codes fairly and making sure all businesses are being treated consistently suffers because of some businesses that are changing owners and company names often.

The proposed ordinance changes 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.

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.

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

Frazier said the council will receive the annual auditing report on city budgeted finances.

“The city audit is the first item of new business after the public hearing,” Frazier said.

The council will also decide on a $34,760 bid by Highland Company of Eastern North Carolina LLC to repair damages to the police training center.

A recognition of new police chief Marcus Barrow is also planned.

Contact the writer at