Council, P&Z to discuss home occupation ordinance

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By Kristin Beck

“We’ve got to make our mind up and move.” These words from Carrollton City Councilman Mike Gordon at the Oct. 12 city council meeting sum up the feelings of both the city council and planning and zoning commission about the home occupation ordinance.

In the August 5, 2009 article, The News-Democrat reported that Mayor Dwight Louden had brought up the issue in the Carrollton City Council meeting on July 27 because he had been receiving concerns about the 12 home occupations operating in the city. Louden wanted Council to address what should be done about home-based businesses.

At the end of the meeting, Council agreed to have planning and zoning address the wording of the ordinance and clearly define that a garage must share a common wall with the residence. However, significant progress has not been made since the July meeting.

“I’ve seen nothing in writing or officially saying what they want changed,” Sam Burgess, a member of the Board of Adjustments, said at the Oct. 12 meeting.

To speed up the process, city council extended an invitation to the planning and zoning committee to attend the upcoming city council work session on Oct. 26.

Councilman Dean Miller Jr. expressed his desire for a joint meeting to hash out a decision on what should be done about the ordinance and acknowledged that a proposal is “less likely to be rejected by Council if we are all on the same page.”

Home occupation ordinance 156.004 refers to residents using their homes for secondary uses, primarily running a business. The chief dispute in the ordinance is the definitions of a “principle residential structure” and an “accessory building” and whether or not the law should be re-written, clarified or left alone.