Do I need a "license to assemble?"
I own a business in East Baton Rouge, LA. It is a tattoo parlor/coffee shop/art gallary/live music venue. No alcohol is served and all ages are welcome. I have a retail business license. Do I need any others permits? The fire marshal shut down one of our shows because I didn't have a "license to assemble." As far as I can find, such a thing does not exist. Do you know of such a thing?Zoning ordinances and permits are very prickly things. Running a retail business that has some foot traffic is very different from running an event space where you can expect larger groups to congregate. And where more people congregate, there's more risk of people getting hurt, starting a fire, or causing mayhem on the surrounding sidewalks, etc.
Each locality has its own rules and regulations concerning the license to assemble/right to assembly (which has to do with people gathering, not putting parts of a machine together). If you don't have a food establishment permit, or you're in the wrong zoning area for your art gallery/live music, that could be the reason for the fire marshal's reaction.
To get to the heart of the matter most quickly, speak to an attorney in your area who deals with small businesses like yours -- they'll likely know exactly which permits you need and how to file them expeditiously.
Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.