Council OKs biz license ordinance, grants exceptions to 2 bizes

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council approved an amended zoning ordinance at its May 23 meeting to allow business licenses for certain businesses only with the approval of the City Council.

At the same meeting, exceptions were granted by the council for two businesses that submitted requests for an exception to the business license moratorium, which expired May 31. The amended zoning ordinance that was approved took effect June 1.

The council approved requests from Revolution Ink and G’day Vape to move their businesses to new locations.

The ordinance restricts the issuance of business licenses for payday loan, car title loan, check cashing, gold and silver brokers, tattoo parlors, pawn shop, vape shop, tobacco shop, massage parlors and used automobile sales businesses. Businesses that fall into any of these categories must seek approval from the city for a business license.

The ordinance states that the moratorium does not apply to banking or lending institutions that are insured and regulated by agencies of the United States or the state of Alabama.

The ordinance includes a two-tiered structure that includes the Commercial Development Authority as an advisory body for certain businesses seeking a business license.

Businesses asking for an exception will be reviewed by the CDA board first and the CDA board will present their findings and make a recommendation to the council, which will make the final decision on whether to issue a business license.

The ordinance also includes a new 1-mile radius distance separation restriction. Automobile sales businesses are exempt from this restriction.

Existing businesses are grandfathered in at their current locations. The ordinance does not allow businesses to open second locations or move to a new location.

Glenn Wills, owner of G’day Vape, and Jeff Hubbard, owner of Revolution Ink, approached the council at the meeting to state their cases.

Wills said the lease at his current location on Pelham Parkway is set to expire at the end of June. Wills said the property owner notified him in February that his lease will not be renewed and the space his store occupies is going to be used to expand an existing business in the shopping center.

Hubbard said he agreed to terminate his lease at his current business location and was already in the process of renovating his new location when he realized there was a problem. Both Hubbard and Wills said they did not realize that they needed approval from the council to relocate their businesses.

“We considered the fact that they are both current businesses here in town and we looked at the overall goal of the moratorium, which is to try to attract diverse businesses – the types of higher-end businesses our residents so much desire,” City Council president Rick Hayes said.

Hayes said G’day Vape won’t be in an “in-your-face” spot on U.S. 31 and Revolution Ink, a tattoo shop, agreed to certain conditions regarding their move.

“This will keep two vape shops in Pelham and provide a balance for residents, and Revolution Ink agreed not to advertise as a tattoo shop and there won’t be any neon signs,” Hayes said. “A critical aspect in the city right now is diversity in business, but we have to do it in a balanced way.”