Recently, I noted an intriguing article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel entitled “New law brings worries of home businesses opening right new door.” The article discusses a recently enacted Florida law designed to encourage home-based businesses, stating, “A Florida law that encourages people to run businesses from home is drawing fear of what could open right next door in neighborhoods — maybe an ammo supply shop, a strip club or more.” Specifically, the article described the concerns created by Jameson Labby of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, who planned to expand his business, Popping Smoke Ammunition, by operating an ammunition-supply company from his home.

Earlier this year Seattle also relaxed its rules governing home-based businesses with the temporary “Bringing Business Home” law which is scheduled to expire on April 21, 2022. This bill was passed, in part, due to complaints registered against Yonder Bar, a cider establishment operating out of a resident’s garage in the Greenwood neighborhood, which was forced to close due to a neighbor’s complaints. The bill temporarily suspended six key requirements that normally apply to Seattle home-based businesses:

  • Customer visits are by appointment only;
  • No evidence of the home-based business is visible from the exterior of the structure;
  • No more than two persons living offsite may work inside of the residence as part of the home-based business;
  • The home occupation shall not cause a substantial increase in on-street parking, congestion or a substantial increase in traffic within the immediate vicinity;
  • The business can operate in a required parking space if no changes are made preventing the space from being used for parking in the future; and
  • The business can install a nonilluminated sign up to 720 square inches.

In general, SMC 23.42.050, the Seattle Municipal Code provision governing home occupations seeks to strike a balance between allowing home-based businesses to exist while preventing such businesses to be burdensome on the neighborhood. Code provisions include:

  • Ensuring the business is incidental to the residential use of the home;
  • Limiting commercial deliveries and pickups to one per weekday;
  • Prohibiting outdoor storage related to the business; and
  • Requiring the business to be conducted so that noise, odor, smoke, dust, light, glare, and electrical interference are not noticeable to the neighbors.

Do you have questions about whether your home-based business meets Seattle’s requirements? Please let us know. We’d be happy to help.

This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.

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