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Kanab City to require business licenses for open markets

The Kanab City Council meeting on April 11, 2023, was well attended by the public, and the Mayor offered a disclaimer at the top of the meeting in hopes of making things go smoothly, stating right away, “There’s a lot of us here tonight.” At meetings like this one, heavy public attendance usually means the people have something to say, and this meeting was no exception. After the standard opening procedures, the public comment period opened and things were underway.


The agenda items that drew in so many citizens became apparent during the public comment period. The first two comments were regarding an ordinance amendment that would affect how the city zones and permits businesses that sell alcohol - one such citizen stated, “I’d like to thank the city for acknowledging breweries, wineries, bars, taverns and adding them to the land use chart, and for recognizing and respecting the general land use survey which recognized many locals wanted to see such a gathering place in Kanab.” The following comments were regarding the discussion of licensure of individuals and businesses who participate in the Friday morning farmer’s market in Kanab - for example, one of the market’s earliest contributors said, “What began three years ago - in fact, three years ago this month - has grown to create such a wonderful group of people that truly defines what Kanab is. It’s kind, it’s caring, and it’s resourceful.” Each of the multiple comments from the public would be on one of these two topics - as the comment period stretched on, with many members of public stepping up to offer their view on the subject, Mayor Johnson set a definite time limit for further comment for the sake of the meeting proceeding in a timely manner to address the discussed issues.



With the public’s views heard, the meeting proceeded to the agenda items, the first of which was a multifaceted land-use ordinance. The first section of the ordinance would allow for a mix of commercial and residential zones along the highway, with requirements for a commercial zone for the first floor of a structure - per the city council, “Residential is profitable right now, but we may be regretting it in 50, 60 years when we’re running out of space along the highway … this would require commercial on the first level, and residential can go in above that.” The council agreed on those terms and proceeded to the next part of the ordinance.


The next section was the establishment of various kinds of businesses that deal with alcoholic beverages. The council came to a consensus that a facility whose primary purpose is to serve alcohol to the public is inconsistent with the general plan for the city, citing such a thing going “against the feel of the town.” Bars, taverns, pubs, breweries, distilleries and wineries were all given their own individual definition - most of which were restricted to manufacturing zones, forbidding their operation in common commercial zones. “Brewery restaurants” were allowed within commercial zones.


The final portion of the ordinance permitted outdoor markets within commercial zones - with some minor amendments of language, the ordinance passed unanimously.


The next agenda item regarded business license and regulation, and would be the one to address the question of allowing the outdoor market, no longer to be called a “farmer’s market,” for legal reasons within the state code. The first part of the amendment exempted individuals under the age of 18 from requiring licenses, referred colloquially as a “lemonade stand law.” According to the same proposal, individuals who make their own unprocessed produce and make less than one hundred dollars a week would be exempt from fees associated with a license. “Cottage food” producers as defined by state code, such as makers of jams or baked goods would be exempt from those fees if they make less than 100 dollars a week. One change suggested was $5200 annually - 100 dollars a week average, but allowing for denser operating seasons and off seasons. Council Member Colson reminded the public, “We have to think beyond this very limited situation - this is not just going to impact the farmer’s market here on Fridays, this is going to affect everyone.”


The final ordinance as moved for and passed unanimously by the council requires all participants in such an open market to obtain a business license, with means of waiving the associated fees, such as the earnings cap mentioned above for specific producers. Additionally, all licensees will be required to sign an indemnification agreement to hold the city harmless from liabilities - this will also waive the requirement for proof insurance, with City Attorney Kent Burggraaf stating, “We do not want to give the impression that because we aren’t requiring proof of insurance that businesses shouldn’t have it.” The ordinance also defines the appropriate times of operation for such a market - 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. - as well as conforming to a few more state and federal regulations.


Following that discussion, the remainder of the meeting’s time would be devoted to land use and development items - the final site plan and plat for the Kotori Canyon subdivision was discussed and approved. For specifics on that plan, illustrated with graphics and layout maps, readers can refer to the meeting’s agenda packet on Utah’s public notice website.


After a meeting of well over three hours’ length, the City Council moved to adjourn.

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