Concerns have been expressed by customers regarding the complexity of the City’s Business Tax Receipt (“BTR”) process, and the impact it has had on the multitude of business operations in the City. After an evaluation by staff, it was determined that the combined processes, compared to the surrounding municipalities, created confusion in the timeline for review and issuance. This confusion has resulted in complaints and non-compliance. To remediate and provide clarity, the administration and the City Attorney’s office is recommending that BTR’s be assessed and collected solely as a tax for doing business in the city. Bifurcating it from the Certificate of Use (“CU”) allows a business’ “use” to be reviewed separate from the collection of BTR fees and establishes the CU as the mechanism for enforcement.
In order to provide customers with clear steps, expectations, and a thorough explanation of their requirements for properly operating within the City, the application process is being bifurcated to clearly delineate the distinctions between a BTR and a CU. To properly facilitate a streamlined process of obtaining a CU and a BTR, amendments to the City’s Land Development Regulations (“LDR”) are necessary to accomplish the above objectives. The following is a summary of the proposed amendments to the LDR’s in order to streamline and clarify the process of obtaining a certificate of use:
1. The term “certificate of use,” as defined in Section 114-1 of the City Code, has been modified to grant the city manager or designee the sole authority to issue a certificate of use.
2. Section 118-356(d) is amended to replace “code compliance director or his/her successor in interest with respect to the issuance of occupation licenses and certificates of use” with “the city manager or designee” to reflect the modification in Section 114-1.
3. Section 118-2, entitled “Certificated of occupancy and certificate of use” is amended to create subsection 118-2(2) to provide for types of buildings or premises or part thereof that require a certificate of use.
4. For consistency, Sections 102-371 and 102-372 of the City Code are proposed to be amended to replace an outdated section of the City Code referring to a certificate of use with the newly created Section 118-2(2) of the City Code.
5. Chapter 14 is amended to replace the special master with the city manager as the authority to revoke or suspend a certificate of use.
PLANNING BOARD REVIEW
On November 19, 2019, the Planning Board held a public hearing and transmitted the ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 7-0.
APPLICATION FEE WAIVER
The subject amendment was referred on a comprehensive, citywide basis, and not on behalf of a private applicant or third party. Pursuant to section 118-162(c) of the Land Development Regulations of the City Code, amendments to the City Code require the payment of the applicable fees in section 118-7 and Appendix A. These fees may be waived by a five-sevenths (5/7ths) vote of the City Commission, based upon one or more of the following circumstances:
1. The City Manager determines, in writing, that the proposed amendment is necessary due to a change in federal or state law, and/or to implement best practices in urban planning;
2. Upon written recommendation of the city manager acknowledging a documented financial hardship of a property owner(s) or developer(s); and/or
3. If requested, in writing, by a non-profit organization, neighborhood association, or homeowner's association for property owned by any such organization or association, so long as the request demonstrates that a public purpose is achieved by enacting the applicable amendment.
The City Manager has determined that the proposed amendment is necessary to implement best practices in urban planning.