The City classifies more than 30 types of business activities requiring neighborhood notification. Under Chapter 310, the licensing hearing is automatically triggered by letters of objection. The hearing is an informal process for a Class N license application. Some examples of Class N licenses are entertainment, second-hand dealerships, auto repair and liquor/drinking establishments. The Hearing Officer conducts the hearing and makes a recommendation to the City Council. The hearing process provides an opportunity for an applicant to state his or her reasons for the application and allows the impacted neighborhood to voice concerns (i.e., noise, parking, trash, etc.). During the hearing, when appropriate, license conditions addressing concerns are discussed and worked into the development of recommendations for City Council consideration. The City Council is the final authority on whether a license application is approved or denied. All responsible parties and interested parties (which include affected residents who have made objections to or voiced support for an application) are notified about when and where the hearing will take place. Please refer to the License Hearing Calendar for the latest agenda.
What to Expect at the Hearing
At the hearing, City Staff will give a report and the applicant and interested parties will be given an opportunity to testify and present information, photos or other documents. The Hearing Officer will take all of this into account to develop a recommendation for Council consideration. Occasionally, a recommendation cannot be made at the hearing and the matter will be laid over or continued to allow the applicant and/or staff time to gather more information. The hearings are informal in nature; however, it is still expected that all electronic devices, i.e., cell phones, be turned off, and City staff, applicants and interested parties will address one another respectfully.
Questions related to the hearing process, details of a license hearing and/or objections/support for the license application can be emailed to LH-Licensing@ci.stpaul.mn.us. An agenda of the license hearing is posted on the License Hearing Calendar page. To apply for a permit or license or for questions regarding licensing requirements, please visit www.stpaul.gov/dsi.
- Language Interpretation Request
Language interpreters for languages other than English are available upon request at least 72 hours prior in order to participate in a License Hearing. To request such an accommodation, please email LH-Licensing@ci.stpaul.mn.us or call 651-266-8512 and specify the specific need.
- Americans With Disabilities Act Request
Special assistance is available for disabled persons addressing License Hearing matters. Efforts will be made to provide adaptations or accommodations based on individual needs of qualified individuals with disabilities, provided that notification of at least 72 hours prior to the date of the meeting has been received by the License Hearing staff. Please make your request by emailing LH-Licensing@ci.stpaul.mn.us or calling 651-266-8512 and specify the specific need.
Written Comments - If you are unable to attend a meeting after making your request, you may provide comment on the license application by submitting your written comments to the License Hearing staff by mail or e-mail. You may also leave us a voice mail and your comment will be transcribed and attached to the public record.
DSI Announces Improved Business License Application Process (effective 2023)
City creates an expedited and equitable process that starts with the community
The City of Saint Paul announces an improvement to its Class N Business License application process to make the process timelier and more 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, auto-related, entertainment, health club, massage center, gambling location, parking ramp, tobacco, and rental hall. Process takes 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.
Key changes to the Class N License process include:
Elimination of petition requirements for Class N Licenses.
Requires Class N License applicants to provide District Councils with their business proposal prior to submitting their application to the city.
Reduces the overall Class N License application review process by approximately 30 days.
Provides more user-friendly ordinance language.