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City Council Approves Temporary Home Occupation Permit Fee Holiday and Business Licensing Amnesty Program

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WEST LINN - The City of West Linn will waive home occupation permit fees and implement an amnesty program for unlicensed businesses for fiscal year 2013. The requirement to obtain a home occupation permit or renewal will remain in effect; however, the fee will be waived during the next fiscal year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013). The fee waiver will apply to both new home occupation uses and all renewals of existing permits. The amnesty program will permit any existing unlicensed business to apply to the City without penalty. Although some exceptions apply, a license is required of all businesses that operate within the City limits. Home occupations, which include any businesses activities that take place within a residence, require an additional permit from the City.

Chris Kerr, the City’s newly appointed Economic Development Director, proposed the two-tiered program as first step in creating a more “business-friendly” environment at City Hall and to build trust within the business community. He said, “one of the City Council’s priorities for this year was to enhance economic development opportunities in the City, and this represents a small but nevertheless important step in that direction.”

He added that he believes that the adoption of this program will have the immediate effect of increasing the number home occupation permits in the City and will encourage compliance for existing businesses that are currently non-compliant. It will be particularly beneficial to small home occupations and start-ups to whom the initial $100.00 registration fee is a burden. Over the next year, he will be completing an audit of all aspects of the City’s business licensing program in order to develop improved tools and incentives that focus on meeting the specific needs of those businesses.

This will include reviewing current procedures, regulations, fees, and determining the benefits that can be provided to City businesses. Mr. Kerr stated that, “home occupations are of particular significance in West Linn and I want to look at exactly what kind of targeted role the City can play in providing support to help them be successful”. Members of the public, particularly those operating a home occupation, are encouraged to contact Mr. Kerr with any suggestions or questions about the program at 503-723-2538, ckerr@westlinnoregon.gov.

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