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City forms panel of business advisers

Next time the Hendersonville City Council takes up a new water fee, regulation and large zoning amendment, the council could bounce it to a business advisory board for comment and review.

Making good on a pledge that several candidates had made during last fall's campaign, the council created a Business Advisory Committee to review the city's regulations or make recommendations on how the city can improve the business climate.
"This came up a good bit during the campaign," Mayor Pro Tem Ron Stephens said. "It has a lot of pluses to involve the business people to get advice so we don't pass regulations that have unintended consequences."
The council agreed that the advisory panel would have seven to nine members, from applications the city receives for the board.
"These are going to be very busy people," Stephens said, suggesting that the panel meet once a quarter or in called meetings if needed. "The second benefit is that these people can bring us ideas, things we haven't thought of, things that they have observed."

The idea of giving business owners a say in city regulations gained traction after the council enacted a schedule of commercial water connection impact fees that business leaders and several candidates described as exorbitant and anti-business.
"I'd like to see us try it for a year," said Mayor Barbara Volk, "see what comes of it, how it works, and if it does prove to be worthwhile set up a more formal committee."

Members must own or operate a business in the city. One key difference between the Business Advisory Committee and the city's other advisory boards is that the business advisers do not have to be city residents.