The City Council approved a “major overhaul” of its residential zoning codes this week to better regulate businesses based in homes.
“I think it’s a piece of legislation that we needed on the books,” Mayor Sal Sapien said. “We’re tightening the home occupation codes, and it’s going to give us a little more control over home occupations.”
The revisions include requirements for more information on the business license application and collection of a new license fee.
The council approved the ordinance, 4 to 1, with Councilman David John Shawver dissenting.
“A guy that has a small in-home business could pay $120" in business-related fees, Shawver said. “I think we’re gouging the people.”
Planning Manager Mark Lloyd said the revisions are a “major overhaul” intended to “maintain our residential neighborhoods.”
Businesses operated out of homes will not be permitted under the ordinance to cause an increase of traffic in the neighborhood or employ a non-resident, he said. The use of special equipment and making changes to the appearance of a building, including installation of advertising signs, will also be forbidden.
Businesses that may be run out of a home include mail-order operations, tutoring, bookkeeping, typing, carpet cleaning, plumbing and house painting services. However, no more than 10%, or 100 square feet of the structure, whichever is less, may be used for business-related storage, under the ordinance.
Businesses that cannot be run out of a home include auto repair, dressmaking, carpentry and dance instruction, according to the ordinance.
Many uses, such as using the home for an office, will be “rubber-stamped” under the ordinance, but other businesses may require a public hearing.
The ordinance will take effect Feb. 22.