The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will receive a presentation on March 5 regarding efforts to amend the County’s existing Business License Ordinance. After the presentation, the Supervisors are expected to give direction to staff on how to proceed.
Part of the amendment would include a requirement for nearly all businesses with a fixed-placed of business in the unincorporated areas of the County to obtain a $50 business license permit. No official action will take place during the March 5 meeting. County staff plans to conduct community meetings to gather feedback.
Tulare County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau said the purpose of the $50 business license permit is part of an ongoing effort to enhance public safety efforts.
“Over the past several years, the County has created an independent Fire Department, improved mutual aid delivery for ambulance providers, and increased fire inspections for business sites,” Rousseau said. “A countywide business license ordinance is the next step in continuing this improvement to public safety and enhancing delivery of services for the business community in the County.”
Rousseau said requiring unincorporated businesses to obtain a permit would assist with the establishment and maintenance of a database of businesses within the unincorporated areas and help guide business owners by providing an understanding of regulations affecting their businesses, including applicable building, planning and zoning requirements.
The purpose of establishing a database would be to have an accurate inventory of businesses within the unincorporated areas. An accurate inventory would assure appropriate and timely emergency response when an incident occurs. For example, if there is a fire at a business that stocks hazardous materials, the County will be able to dispatch appropriate resources and coordinate with other jurisdictions.
Business Owner Guidance
Having a countywide business license program in place creates a tool for the County to assist business owners to identify regulatory requirements. For example, if a business owner opens a new restaurant in an unincorporated area, they may not be aware of the existing local and state regulations that apply to them. By going through the business license process, County staff will have the opportunity to educate the owner and ensure that existing requirements are met, thus preserving public safety.
Rousseau said the concept of a business license permit is not uncommon in local government. For example, each of the County’s eight incorporated cities has business license permit programs. In addition, 31 of the California’s 58 Counties have business license permit programs.