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Carrollton’s planning and zoning commission will be charged with reviewing the city’s regulations on home occupation businesses.
At the Monday, July 27 city council meeting, Mayor Dwight Louden raised the issue based on concerns he has heard about the 12 home occupations that are operating in the city.
Five of these businesses are service oriented, while seven are garages, Louden told council, explaining that questions have come from the public and council members about the legality of a business in a detached garage.
Assistant City Clerk Susie McGee said that all 12 businesses have home occupations permits and business licenses. Retail establishments are not allowed in home occupations.
“I just wanted to clarify what the council wanted to do about home based businesses,” Louden said in an interview following the meeting. People have questions about these businesses concerning the traffic created and the amount of items left outside of the business, he noted.
“The board of adjustments has taken some leeway saying if you build a breezeway connecting a detached garage to your home then that garage is now attached to the residence,” Louden explained to the council.
“Businesses in a detached garage lend themselves to be bigger businesses in what is a residential zone,” Louden said.
The ordinance states that a home occupation must be in an attached garage, and a breezeway connecting a detached garage and the home goes against the spirit of the law, Louden added.
Council member Adam Raker said he believes an attached garage means a garage that shares a common wall with the residence. Council member Mike Gordon agreed.
City attorney Nick Marsh said it is not one that has a two-by-four connecting the two and then saying now it is attached to the house.
“Let me make just one statement,” councilman Dean Miller said. “I understand things need to be done and things need to be enforced, but right now we’re sitting in a terrible terrible economy. Nobody’s hiring and a lot of people are being laid off but right now if it’s something that pays the bills, it might be something we have to overlook at this point. I don’t see any reason to change it right now. Maybe in the future, but right now I don’t see making it worse.”
Louden repeatedly asked the council “do you even want home occupation businesses?” He pointed out that there are so many empty businesses in Carrollton they have been encouraging people to rent and what is the motivation if someone can just put a business in their garage.
Council agreed to have planning and zoning take a look at the wording of the home occupation ordinance and clearly define that a garage must share a common wall with the residence, making it easier for the BOA to stay within the spirit of the law.