Payson Considers New Rules To Regulate Home Businesses

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Payson on Thursday will consider an overhaul of its rules controlling home businesses.

The rules are intended to make it easier to operate a home business, especially those that take place mostly inside the home and don’t generate a lot of traffic.

The new ordinance would continue to ban a long list of home businesses in a residential area, including car repair, kennels, restaurants, bars, adult theaters and clubs, funeral parlors, firewood storage, taxi services and stables or pet-grooming services.

The ordinance would require anyone operating a home business to get a conditional use permit and allow health and fire inspections at any time.

The permit system would establish three different levels of use, with ever greater restrictions based on the likely impact on the neighborhood.

Council discussions have underscored a desire to loosen the restrictions on home-based businesses, without upsetting neighbors. The combination of the spread of high-speed Internet and the recession has resulted in a boom in the number of home-based businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, Payson also has a strong, residential and retirement community, with neighbors likely to pack council meetings even for relatively minor changes in the neighborhood.

Payson hopes that the requirement of conditional use permits and the establishment of looser restrictions for home-based businesses in commercial zones or on major arterials will help them thread the needle between encouraging more businesses and upsetting the neighborhood.

Level One: Minor — any zone.

At this level, the owner would conduct business entirely inside the home, with no employees besides family members, no outside storage and no merchandise visible from outside the residence.

Such minor uses could not generate more than two vehicle trips daily or require more than two parking spaces for customers — with no parking required beyond normal, residential use.

Such a “minor” business cannot have delivery trucks, making noises audible off the property or require unusual equipment that would create vibrations, heat, glare, dust, odors or smoke.

Level two: Intermediate: Any detached residence in an R2 or R3 residential zone.

Only homes on a busy street or with a one-acre lot could harbor this level of activity, but cannot take place in town houses, condos, guest houses or accessory dwelling units.

Businesses operating at this level could have three employees, generate 20 vehicles trips daily, and offer parking for guests and clients and workers.

The category still bans outdoor storage or displays of merchandise.

The business can generate 60 decibels of noise during business hours, but still couldn’t operate unusual equipment that generates vibrations, heat, glare, smoke, dust or smells.

Level three: Major: Applies to homes built in commercial zones.

A conditional use permit could allow a business with five employees to operate in a detached single family house, but not in a condo, town house, guest house or accessory dwelling unit.

The business could still not store merchandise outside, but could have up to 1,500 square feet of storage in accessory space and generate up to 30 vehicle trips per day.

The business could have paved staff and client parking. The business could generate 60 decibels of noise during business hours, but not operate equipment that creates dust, smoke, smells, heat or glare.

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