The City of Saint Paul announces an improvement to its Class N Business License application process to make the process more timely and equitable for residents and businesses. This effort is to make licensing more user-friendly for staff and community members as well as highlight the city’s priority of “Open for Business.” This new process reflects business owners’ concerns about the length of time it takes to obtain certain business licenses, as well as the community’s interest in being involved earlier in business licensing conversations. A stakeholder workgroup reaffirmed these points and worked with the city to develop a better application process for Class N Business Licenses. Businesses requiring a Class N License include alcohol establishments, auto-related, entertainment venues, health clubs, gambling locations, parking ramps, and rental halls. The new process took effect December 19, 2022.
“The city’s renewed commitment to customer service guided our work with these business-friendly and neighbor-friendly revisions,” said Angie Wiese, director of the Department of Safety and Inspections. “These changes reduce the wait time for businesses and require notification to the District Council, helping streamline the process while including important checkpoints. These modifications also limit bias that exists in the current process. I thank the stakeholder workgroup for reviewing concerns with the status quo and issuing recommendations to the city.”
“We need to make it easier for entrepreneurs and local business owners to bring vitality to our neighborhoods,” said Saint Paul City Councilmember Rebecca Noecker, Ward 2. “I’m thrilled that these changes will do just that.”
“As Chair of the City of Saint Paul’s Business Review Council, I commend the city for fostering a more business-friendly environment with these much-needed Class N Licensing changes,” said Tonya Bauer, Director of Strategic Development for the Saint Paul Port Authority. “Formal process modifications such as this are a testament to the city’s dedication to cultivating positive economic development opportunities and truly being ‘Open for Business’.”
“We are very appreciative of Councilmember Noecker’s leadership on this initiative to make our city more business-friendly,” said B Kyle, President & CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Details of the new process are below (and a graphic of the process is attached):
- Petition requirements are eliminated for all Class N Business Licenses.
(Commercial Development Districts will still require a petition.)
- Prior to applying for a Class N license, business owner must notify (via mail or in-person delivery) their District Council (DC).
- Business owners will use the Class N License District Council Form to notify the DC.
- Applicants must self-certify on the license application that they provided the Form to the DC.
- The 45-day community notification period is being shortened to 15 days.
- By coordinating DSI 15 day application review with the District Council’s review allows for a shorter notification process and still provides the community a review period of 30 days.
- The 45-day waiver process goes away.
- Several license types will no longer be considered a Class N license.
- Pool Hall, Bowling Center, Game Room, Recycling Collection Center/Recycling Processing Center, and Second-Hand Dealer – Motor Vehicle Parts.
- Applications for these license types will receive a thorough Class R license review by DSI Licensing.
- The community notification process will take on a more positive tone.
(E.g. Residents will be asked for both their objections and support of the new business.)