A home occupation is a way for a property owner to conduct a small-scale, non-residential activity in his/her home or workshop, provided it meets the County's definition and limitations. Home occupations are defined in the Zoning Regulations as follows:
"An activity carried on by the occupant of a dwelling as a secondary use, including personal and professional services, subject to the following limitations:
- The home occupation may occupy an area no greater than ¼ of the floor area of the residence whether occurring within the residence or in a detached structure.
- No more than one person other than the residents of the dwelling shall be employed in the conduct of the home occupation.
- Any outdoor display or storage of materials, goods, supplies or equipment shall be prohibited, other than the signs noted below.
- The generation of noise, vibrations, noxious odors, dust, heat, or glare detectable beyond any property line is prohibited.
- No traffic shall be generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood, and any need for parking generated by the conduct of such home occupation shall be met off the street.
- There shall be no change to the residential appearance of the premises and the primary function of the occupation shall not be the sales or rentals of goods from site.
- There shall be allowed one on-site non-illuminated identification sign not to exceed 4 square feet and vehicular signs.
How Do I Apply?
The Planning Department has a one-page questionnaire for property owners to fill out. Once reviewed, a letter is then sent to the applicant informing them that their proposed activity is either approved or not acceptable as a home occupation. If approved, then no other permits are necessary. No fees are required for a Home Occupation approval. The space used in the workshop for a home occupation cannot be larger than 1/4 of the square footage of their house. For example - if your house is 1200 square feet, then the area for a home occupation, whether in the house or in a workshop, cannot exceed 300 square feet.
All home occupations are subject to inspection and revocation of approval if there is reason to believe that the occupation has expanded or gone beyond what was approved.
If a property owner plans on building a new workshop to accommodate his/her home occupation, the property owner is responsible for obtaining a residential building permit, paying all fees and meeting all site development standards (see related brochure: How to Obtain a Residential Permit).
What Kinds of Activities May Qualify?
Examples of home occupations that have been approved are:
- Internet consulting and sales
- Handicrafts for craft shows
- Mail order business
- Accounting and bookkeeping services
- Minor repair services
Is a Home Occupation Approval the Same as a Business License?
No. Approval for a Home Occupation from the County only gives permission to conduct a proposed activity on a specific property. It does not confirm or acknowledge that someone is conducting a business. Any local, state or federal taxes and reporting are the sole responsibility of the property owner.
- Home Occupation Questionnaire