Zoning Laws for Home Businesses

24 Sep

Zoning Laws for Home Businesses

Technological advances have made it easier for budding entrepreneurs to start a business right from your home. Access to high-speed net and virtual offices means many businesses no longer need to pay the large overhead associated with a fulltime office space or shop front. Prior to launching that new organization, though, you need to comprehend the local zoning laws you must comply with.


Local authorities enact zoning and land-use legislation to safeguard the health, safety and general welfare of the community and the public. If you live in an incorporated town or city, then you will have to comply with the city or city’s land-use code and the encompassing county’s land use code. If, on the other hand, you live in unincorporated county land then you will only need to comply with the county’s land use code.


The local zoning and land use code will almost certainly require you to receive a business license or permit before you begin operation. The town, city or county each have a company licensing or permits department that can explain the licensing requirements where you live.

Zone District

The local zoning code divides each part of the city, city or county into particular zoning districts. Some zoning districts allow only one type of land usage over the zone. For example, most cities have a residential zoning district where businesses are never allowed.

Conditional Use

Most cities make it possible for residents to earn a unique application, often called a variance or conditional-use application, to get a home business within a residential zoning district. You will have to submit a conditional-use application, and the legislative body of the town will review the application. As long as the effect on your neighbors is not unreasonable then the town will probably give you the conditional-use permit.

Expert Insight

Most local authorities now provide a copy of their own land-use and zoning code on their sites. This makes it effortless to review the zoning classification of your home, and to review what uses are allowed within that zone. If your regional government does not own a website or does not publicly list the zoning and land-use code then you will need to visit the town offices to get the same information.

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