June 4, 2023

The City Planning and Development Office said businesses within residential zones must comply with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance so they can legally operate.

The discussion was prompted by a complaint of a resident of Pinget barangay who was issued a notice of violation for operating a milk tea and pizza store without a business permit.

Based on the inspection of the CPDO, the milk tea and pizza store is located in a low density residential zone or R-1.

According to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the City of Baguio (Ordinance 51-2001), home occupation for the practice of one’s profession or for engaging in an in-house business is allowed in areas classified as R-1 but with conditions.

One of the conditions for a micro, small, and medium enterprise is that it should not occupy more than 30 percent of the floor area of a dwelling unit and there should be no change or alteration in the outside appearance of the dwelling unit.

The store, however, is not within a dwelling unit but is located on the second floor of the property owner’s parking space.

The CPDO’s findings also indicated that the store is within the area that is a subject of a petition for segregation from the Buyog Watershed.

The store owner was ordered to suspend his business operation and was given five days to process his business permit.

CPDO representative James Cosep said the store owner had been advised to relocate his business.

Cosep also recalled that one condition for the proposed segregation of the area from the Buyog Watershed as agreed upon by the city government, the Baguio Water District, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the United Pinget Homeowners’ Association in 2016 is for the residents to maintain their structures only for residential purposes.

Geraldine Angulo, Permits and Licensing Division representative, said the issuance of business permits depends on the approval of all concerned offices.

Aside from the locational zoning clearance issued by the CPDO, the applicant must also obtain a clearance from the concerned barangay, health clearance from the City Health Services Office, building clearance from the City Buildings and Architecture Office, sewerage and parks clearance from the City Environment and Parks Management Office, and fire safety clearance from the Baguio Fire Station for a fire safety clearance.

Angulo said 132 businesses in Pinget were issued business permits while 59 were given notices of violation.

Councilor Benny Bomogao urged the CPDO to be less restrictive and to suggest amendment of the local laws if possible in favor of the businesses in the city.

“We should be looking forward to making our city business-friendly. Let us relax our rules. Help us amend our ordinances so that our city will thrive,” Bomogao said. – Jordan G. Habbiling