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New license may face temporary businesses

Madison Mathews • Feb 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM

The future of temporary businesses in Jonesborough remains up in the air as town leaders continue to discuss the possibility of creating a new business permit intended for businesses that might differ from those using the other permits established by both the state and town.

Officials with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the Planning Commission and the Historic Zoning Commission have been discussing the possibility of how to address the issue of itinerant, or temporary, businesses in Jonesborough for several months. The issue was once again brought up last week during a joint meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Planning Commission.

Leaders discussed the possibility of creating a temporary business permit that would serve businesses using transient business licenses, which are obtained through the state.

To obtain the proposed temporary business permit through the town, business owners would be required to get a standard business license through the state. The temporary business permit would require site plan approval from the town. It would allow the business to operate for more than six months, which is the maximum amount of time a business is allowed to operate in one location under the transient business license.

Right now, there are only a handful of businesses that would be affected if the town approves the new permit, including the Smokin’ Pig BBQ stand that operates off U.S. Highway 11E near Headtown Road.

The popular barbecue hotspot has been in operation for nearly two years, according to owner Jerry Hipps. During his time in Jonesborough, Hipps said the town has been working to address the permit issue.

“They’ve been working on something for two years, but they haven’t come up with anything yet,” Hipps said.

Hipps operates the business under a transient business license, which requires him to pay $50 every 14 days. That license also calls for the operator to pack up and move each day — an aspect of the license that hasn’t been enforced by the town in regard to the barbecue stand.

With a transient business license, operators aren’t allowed to put up any kind of signage and the license can only be renewed for up to six months. After that point, the operator must pay business taxes if the business is making more than $3,000 per year.

Under the proposed temporary business permit, Hipps would have the added benefit of being able to use the permit for a year, as well as being able to put up a sign. The town, however, would be able to set restrictions and requirements on landscaping and other aesthetics.

One of the aspects that has yet to be determined is what kind of price tag the new permit would come with. Town officials are working to make the permit more beneficial for business owners who might want to operate for a longer period of time when using the transient business license.

Until the town determines the cost associated with the proposed license, Hipps said he’s unsure if he would be able to continue to operate under the new permit.

“At some point, I’ve got to leave. I’m not going to be here forever,” he said. “If I’m going to have to spend a bunch of money, I’m just going to take it elsewhere.”

Temporary businesses operating under the proposed permit would not be able to operate in downtown Jonesborough unless it’s during a special event or if the business is being operated by the owner of a permanent business.

Town officials are expected to address the proposed temporary business permit at a future meeting.

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