Home businesses affected by new law

The Planning Board this week approved changes that may require home businesses to adopt a new parking plan.

The final piece of the Home Occupation Ordinance passed unanimously on Monday and limits the size of commercial vehicles — such as construction trucks or limousines — to no more than 22 feet long and 8 feet high.

Those running businesses from home were previously restricted to a single vehicle with a 1-ton suspension weight, a restriction that was both difficult to discern and easily changed after inspection, said Terre Hirsch, assistant community development director.

Now, inspectors need only a tape measure, not a scale.


“We’ve made the restriction more liberal because often the length of a 22-foot vehicle is greater than the suspension weight would have allowed,” Hirsch said. “But now we get can get out with a yardstick and measure instead of weighing it.”

With the new system based more on measurements instead of weight, Planning Board member Kenneth San Miguel questioned whether a limousine business could continue to operate out of a home on a residential street, especially those with stretch or Hummer vehicles.

“So if you have a limousine business, you have to think twice about if you can park it there or not,” San Miguel said. “If it is longer than 22 feet, then we have a real problem.”

The city had issues in the past with an entire fleet of vehicles using all available parking on the street, but Hirsch said those problems have subsided.


There will also be no “grandfathering” under the old rules if a business previously kept longer vehicles on its property, he added, and no special permits will be issued.

Calls to limousine businesses with residential addresses were not returned.

The amended restriction relates specifically to vehicles parked on a home’s property and is in addition to the city’s 6,500-pound weight restriction on vehicles that use city streets.

Any trailers or cement mixers that might be attached to the back of the vehicles will also be counted toward the 22-foot restriction.

“They can have many vehicles for their business,” said Hirsch, who cited the example of a contractor who might use more than one vehicle for his work. “But none of them can be kept on the premises.”