Can I run a small business out of my home?

There is no simple answer to this question.  The Zoning Regulations allow home occupations with the following conditions:

  • the business must be operated by the owner or resident of the home with no outside employees;
  • any equipment used should be typically found in the home (e.g., a computer or sewing machine) and incidental to residential occupancy;
  • products or signs cannot be visible from the street; and
  • the business cannot alter the residential character of the neighborhood (i.e. generate car or truck traffic other than typical mail and parcel delivery services), noise, odors or other impacts not typical of a residential neighborhood.

More intensive home occupations than those described above may be allowed by Special Use Permit from the Town Planning and Zoning Commission.  In addition to the applicable conditions stated above, they must also comply with the following conditions:

  • the hours of operation shall be Monday through Saturday between 8am and 6pm;
  • a site plan shall be provided with the initial application;
  • no more than four parking spaces are permitted;
  • no dumpsters are permitted;
  • any special equipment or construction associated with the home occupation must be removed if the business ceases operation;
  • a maximum of three square feet of total sign area is permitted; and
  • the Commission must conclude that the operation will not generate noise, odor, glare, and/or other nuisances that are incompatible with a residential neighborhood.

Typical home businesses include professional offices, small contractor’s offices, word processing services, dressmaking, music lessons, candy and soap making, and artisans.  Examples of inappropriate home businesses are retail stores, florists, art galleries, machine shops, and contractor’s offices that use the property as a base of operations for many employees.

Please consult with the Planning Department (285-1980) prior to investing in a home-based business.