City will consider licenses revision

The Ashland City Council will take up a contentious proposal to add new business license regulations at its Tuesday meeting.

The council created a stir on Jan. 18 by directing Assistant City Attorney Megan Thornton to draft new ordinance language that would require booth vendors to buy business licenses.

Individual booth operators at the for-profit Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market and the Ashland Artisan Emporium would be required to buy licenses, and artists at the nonprofit Lithia Artisans Market and Ashland Art Center could potentially be affected if their intent is to make any money.

Applying for a license would cost a minimum of $75, with a minimum $50 annual renewal fee.

Ashland's current business license ordinance requires the main organization to get a business license, such as the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, but does not require individual vendors to buy a license. Nonprofit organizations do not have to get a license.

On Tuesday night, the City Council will consider options that include keeping the business license exemption for booth vendors, requiring them to buy licenses, or having the main organization pay a $5 to $10 fee per vendor.

Councilman Greg Lemhouse had proposed exempting all micro-businesses that make $10,000 or less from requirements to get a business license, but city staff said that could be hard to administer.

The council also will consider whether to adopt new provisions that a business could lose its business license if it disobeys land use laws or doesn't pay city meals sales taxes or city lodging sales taxes. Businesses would be given opportunities to comply.

Nonprofit groups could be required to obtain a license and report their employee numbers, but would not have to pay fees.

The council will take up the business license issue last on the agenda, unless members move it to an earlier slot. Council meetings have a mandatory 10:30 p.m. stop time. If the council does not finish with an issue, it is automatically carried over to the next regular meeting.

In other business on Tuesday, the council will:

  • Hear a report about supplemental services at the Ashland Public Library paid for through a voter-approved levy;
  • Consider whether to approve a $45,000 contract for soil and groundwater monitoring at the city-owned maintenance yard at 1097 B St.;
  • Hear that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality wants more testing for lead in soil at the Ashland Gun Club, which is on city-owned land;
  • Consider whether to have a May 17 special election to ask voters to approve a levy of up to $3 million to replace Fire Station No. 2 on Ashland Street, at a cost of $28.36 annually for an average homeowner;
  • Consider whether to approve a transfer of city-owned land on Clay Street to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department for creation of a future park, with the department paying the city $1.35 million for the property;
  • Decide whether to adopt council goals for 2011 and;
  • Consider how to allocate city hotel tax revenues among the city government, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and smaller economic and cultural development groups. The pool of money going to the smaller groups would be allocated at future budget meetings.

For a complete list of agenda items, and for details on each item, visit

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at or 541-479-8199.

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