Prospective business owners should meet with Doral Departments before making decisions.
The growth in the City of Doral brings along new business owners, looking forward to investing and prosper. However, sometimes they end up making wrong decisions regarding nature, design or location for their idea due to lack of knowledge of the rules and regulations of the City, the County, and the State.
It is there where the Department of Code Compliance at the City of Doral plays an important role in the process of helping businesses getting established in the area, working closely with the Building and Planning and Zoning Departments on educating business owners on how to make the right decisions. As their motto says they are “the Stewards of Doral” to enforce the rules and help maintain the City within the plans and vision.
Home-based businesses and Car Sales dealers are among the ventures that have recently received several code violation warnings for operating without being in compliance with the regulations established for Doral.
Code Compliance Department has prepared a New Businesses Welcome Package that details all information and requirements that would allow investors to open and operate their businesses uneventfully and save a lot of money in non-compliance fines. Also, they work together with the departments of Building and planning to offer the possibility of holding a planning meeting that would help business to “obtain all the pertinent information needed to make an informed decision and ensure that they can successfully open with minimal complications”, as explained Adam Temple, Code Compliance Director.
Common recent violations that could have been prevented
Currently, Section 74-152 of the City of Doral Code of Ordinances details the exact locations within the boundaries where car dealers can be located, establishing that no more than 35 % of the building should be for service bays and that public hearings are needed to approve this use on sites ten acres or more.
Temple commented that in the past year several new car dealerships opened in Doral with wholesale licenses; however, “later expanded into becoming retail car dealerships without going through the approval process”. In consequence, they ended up needing to relocate, as there were several conditions they needed to comply to be allowed to operate and also they lacked enough area in their property to store the vehicles and had to get approved at a public hearing. If they had visited the city before making a decision on a location they would have avoided all the inconveniences.
“Another common violation that we are finding is regarding home-based businesses,” says Temple. Entrepreneurs should know that Section 74-180 of the Code establishes that a license is required if you “have a business registered to your home”. Also, homeowner associations have their own regulations for home-based businesses and people should take that into consideration before embarking on the task of starting operation.
“There are several important requirements that shall be met to conduct a home-based business, including not storing or selling goods or merchandise from the home; not having deliveries sent or received; any employee must reside in the home; and the business cannot have signage or cause any noise, odor or other hazards. Essentially, the home-based business shall only be an office within someone’s primary residence and not cause an adverse impact to neighbors” explained Temple.
Getting informed beforehand about licenses saves time, money and hassle
More than 150 businesses have received non-compliance warnings since January for operating without City licenses. From those, 108 have fully complied, and only one had to go all the way to a Special Magistrate Hearing to pay for fines.
The majority of those violations could have been avoided if the business owners had consulted with the City before making decisions and pursued the licenses and permit timely. The requirements depend on the location they choose and the type of business they want to pursue.
“In most instances, the business will be required to obtain approval from Miami-Dade County’s Regulatory Economic Resources office and Miami-Dade County Fire Prevention. Upon obtaining those approvals, the business will be required to submit a fully completed application to the Planning and Zoning Department. If all the required documentation is complete, the business will then be issued their Local Business Tax Receipt and Certificate of Use. For state-regulated businesses and professionals, which includes healthcare and massage therapists to name a few, then each licensed professional will also be required to obtain their Business Tax Receipt from the City of Doral.”
When a business owner is found on a violation and receives a warning, unless there is a life safety concern, Code Compliance gives them thirty days to solve the situation. If the deadline passes then fines are charged according to what is established in the Code of Ordinances.
The Code Compliance Department has developed countless educational material posted on the City’s website for business owners to research on their own. They also host informational workshops and distribute their New Business Welcome Package individually and through larch commercial property managers.
The goal of the Department is continuously educating the public to avoid pitfalls that may end up in violations. Business owners, on the other hand, have to work diligently on being informed before making decisions, to avoid having to literally pay for the consequences of not doing it.