Zoning Laws for Home Businesses
More than half of businesses in the United States are run from home, and companies like Apple, Dell and Mattel all began in a residential space. Home businesses have special zoning laws to protect neighborhoods and preserve the area they operate in as residential. Before you begin, ensure that your business will comply with federal, state, county, city and even neighborhood regulations. A good start would be to visit the government website for the city where you live.
If your business is done primarily over the computer or phone, and you don’t employ anyone outside your home, the neighborhood will most likely be unaffected by your home-based business. If you sell products, like handmade quilts, make sure not to display them in your front yard and keep in mind that some cities, for example, Tucson and Mesa, do not allow goods to be sold on the premises at all. Homes that provide child daycare should ensure outdoor recreation facilities for children are behind a fence four feet or taller. If you are a builder, but do office work out of your home, you may not store large equipment or materials in the driveway.
Some city regulations state that you can employ only one person who lives outside the home. The City of Phoenix, for example, does not allow anyone who is not living in the home to work in a home-based business. Mesa allows up to two people from outside the home, but only after obtaining a special use permit. Check for parking regulations as most cities require customers to park directly in front of the home and only one at a time. A single company vehicle may also be stored on the property with some restrictions regarding signage. For example, business vehicles with your company logo must be parked behind landscaping or in a garage. If you will be running a daycare, you may need to give written notification to all adjoining neighbors.
Home occupation standards for most cities in Arizona prevent any form of business that would produce noise, fumes, odor or dust like auto-repair shops or woodworking. Noxious or hazardous materials will not be allowed and include products used by hair salons, medical and veterinary offices. Any electrical or mechanical equipment that could affect the fire rating in your home, interfere with radio or television receivers or cause fluctuation in line voltage will also be restricted. Your city may have a list of restricted mechanical equipment on their website.
Hair salons, barber shops and massage parlors are not acceptable home occupations. They usually have clients coming and going throughout the day that would violate traffic restrictions and they use chemicals for sanitation and hair treatments that are in excess of a normal household. Auto-repair or woodworking businesses produce unwanted noise, odors and dust. Veterinary offices, commercial kennels, stables or pet grooming also produce noise and chemical disposals that would be restricted in most neighborhoods.