Commentary on the recent denial of Kevin Urbanc’s business

When The Spotlight on Business is turned off…What next?

By T. Myers

During the past few months a local entrepreneur has been working to establish a new home based business for himself. When he started, he had the blessing of then City Manager, Steven Hasson, who seemed very excited about the idea of this little cottage industry opening in La Pine. As the calendar progressed and the prospective businessman sought to have the proper county inspections on said business, he ran up against the Permit Wall and shortly thereafter, the City Wall and what had been an exciting prospect, now was a serious problem.

Kevin Urbanc was working through the last months of culinary school for his certification. He volunteered to cook two days a week at the Community Kitchen and used his skill to provide exciting menus to the clients. He planned and put up a big event to raise money for the Kitchen with the help of the COCC Culinary staff and volunteers and he joined the Chamber to stay in the mix. He applied for permits to finish the work on the Sportsman’s Smokehouse home business and started to work through the list of changes he needed to make after the inspection from the County. When the City told him he could appeal the decision from the county when he did not pass, he was given a long list of things he had to comply with and then he was scheduled to appear at the City Council Meeting for a decision.

Urbanc did all of these things he could do to the best of his understanding. He also knew that the City can decide for themselves who can operate a business inside the City limits and he trusted that his good faith efforts to bring his building and his business up to snuff would be taken into consideration. When he appeared, he presented a reasonable case and did a good job with the information. The City Council did not ask him questions. They did not discuss the case at the meeting. Instead they immediately voted to follow the County’s recommendation of denial. Business over. End of story.

Or is it? La Pine is set to embark on a new phase of economic development. It is in the early stages. Yes the City still has to define who they are and what they want to represent about La Pine when looking for potential businesses, but they are at the gate, ready to begin the journey.

Urbanc’s business is really a hobby business that he works at. It is designed to help a few people process their game and it gives him a pleasurable outlet to create as a certified chef. Impact of a smoker is no different than the neighbors who are burning wood stoves and using the fireplaces in his neighborhood. Traffic is not impacted any more than the people who run back and forth on the road in front of his house to go to the corner store to buy…whatever!

When the City stops a business from opening for any reason, the reasons should be set in stone.

If the county still decides what is denied, then why is the City in the business of doing a hearing to consider what they are not willing to decide on in public?

Just saying… If La Pine is open for business, what are we prepared to do to help La Pine’s small business owners improve and expand their existing businesses or help new ones get started?

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