Artisans to watch Ashland decision

    ASHLAND — The 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 staff 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 growers' 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.

    Councilor 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 license if it disobeys land-use laws or doesn't pay the city's meal or lodging 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.

    In other business on Tuesday, the council will:

    • 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.
    • 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

    Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at or 541-479-8199.

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