Council's 'outrageous' request of small business owner
A SMALL business owner says he is furious that council is demanding he pay thousands of dollars for roadworks before he can open his new shop.
Taco Love Bros proprietor Dylan Morris has lodged a development application with Lismore City Council for the shop in Conway St.
But he said the council had told him he must first do costly roadworks, including the alteration of some kerbing.
"This amount of money is not viable for a starting business," Mr Morris said.
"It will cost thousands (and) it's not even my land to begin with.
"They wanted us to put kerbing on the road and things like that - we can't afford it, so we have had to respond to them, which takes time from us opening up.
"I pay rent here, I lease not own the property and the landlord might want to have the driveway there when he leases it to another person in the future.
"So in the meantime we will have a couple of private pop-up stalls out the front."
On the side of their building is a spray-painted message which reads: "Pop-up tacos Friday from 12 - bring a friend."
Mr Morris said he had a registered market stall business with friend Jamie Wimbus, who is a food vendor.
"We will be there with Wholesome Tribal Foods and local dude James Wimbus and give it a whirl," he said.
"What council has done is not helpful.
"What they have called for is quite unreasonable and I have responded to them saying it is outrageous for a small business to do this."
"We hope to get a good crowd here on Friday."
But council's Acting Manager of Development Compliance Chris Watts denied they were being unreasonable.
"We want to see and very much encourage new businesses in Lismore and have been more than happy to work with the business owner," he said.
"And (we) would also be happy to engage with the landlord, to resolve these problems."
Mr Watts said an issue is that the property was previously approved as a tyre-fitting business which allowed clients and staff to drive vehicles onto the site for repair and maintenance.
"Under the restaurant development proposal, the driveway crossover is now not suitable for outdoor dining from a patron and public safety perspective," he said.
"We have advised the applicant that this would need to be addressed as part of the application to facilitate outdoor dining (and) this matter is something the applicant and the landlord should resolve.
"Having said that, we have continued to work closely with this business to investigate alternative measures to ensure the safety of diners, such as bollards or other equivalent material which ensures passing traffic and/or parking customers accessing this area, does not pose a danger to occupants within the outdoor dining areas."
Mr Watts said the reality is that Council must ensure the safety of customers.
"This is a difficult site, which has not been used as a restaurant to date," he said.,
"As with all new businesses, we provide a range of options to try and facilitate the best outcome, but as the local consent authority, we also have a serious responsibility to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of community members, pedestrians and patrons of any business."
Mr Watts said Council acknowledges often there are mitigating factors which appear to inhibit and/or are deemed an added cost to commencing a business.
"Which is why we very much encourage pre-lodgement and/or pre-lease discussions with all prospective business owners," he said.,
"To that end, in the very near future we are holding an internal organisational workshop with all relevant stakeholders in an endeavour to develop and explore innovative opportunities and improved methodology to assist businesses to open in Lismore."