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Zoning Information and Resources

Business Start Up Guides

Zoning suggesstions.
By Beverley Williams, President, AAHBB

Over the last several years, we have been told that the US economy was in a recession. Major corporations were \"downsizing\" or \"rightsizing\" which meant a lot of people were out of work and despairing of finding another job. Many of these people began exploring the option of a home-based business only to find out that antiquated zoning ordinances prohibited them from operating a business from their home.

In order for more people to have the opportunity to legally operate a business from their homes, it is necessary for lawmakers at various levels to move their zoning ordinances out of the industrial revolution age and into the technology age. Knowledge about who and what home-based businesses are along with some sensible guidelines for new zoning ordinances is helpful. This page is designed to do just that for the lawmakers struggling to rewrite zoning laws, the media who write about such things, and home-based business owners and \"wannabees\" trying to fight city hall.

7 Reasons to Allow Home-Based Businesses to Operate

1. Makes neighborhoods safer for latchkey kids.

2. The comings and goings of strangers can be observed and suspicious activities reported to the authorities.

3. Less traffic on our highways during the \"normal\" rush hour.

4. Money earned is spent in the local neighborhood helping to boost local economies.

5. Keeps jobs in the local community.

6. Decreases unemployment.

7. Provides a wider volunteer base for our communities.

10 Zoning Ordinance Suggestions

The following information is meant to be a guideline for today’s zoning ordinances. If you need more information, email me at

1. The home-based business is secondary to the use of the dwelling as a residence and does not change the residential character of the dwelling or lot in any visible manner. It is the primary residence of the business owner(s).

2. No noise, odor, or vibration transmits beyond the property lines (or walls in the case of multi-family dwellings).

3. The home office has no visible signs from the street that are inconsistent with signs allowed elsewhere by zoning ordinance. (A small plaque or sign by the door used by the public to enter the office is unobtrusive and often helpful to clients and delivery personnel).

4. The home-based business has sufficient off-street parking for both residential and business use.

5. The number of businesses operated in the same dwelling shall not exceed 45% of the dwelling space but more than one business may operate if the principles of the business are residents of the dwelling.

6. In areas of high density housing areas, one non-resident employee may be allowed. In low density housing areas, it is not usually necessary to regulate employees.

7. In areas of high density housing, the number of vehicles coming to a residence for business purposes may be limited. In low density housing areas, it is not usually necessary to regulate traffic.

8. Storage of merchandise for sale can be limited to temporary storage as in the case of direct sales companies. Craft sales could be allowed with appropriate parking accommodations.

9. Businesses such as Day Care Centers, Health Professionals, Repair Shops, etc. should be regulated by separate ordinances.

10. Requiring registration of a home-based business can be both beneficial and harmful. Registration will give the local jurisdiction some indication of the number of home-based businesses in the area and awareness of their activities. On the other hand, many home-based business owners will simply ignore the requirement for numerous reasons. If you require home-based business owners to register, commit to securing the information so that they will not be inundated with unsolicited mail.

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