St. Louis Park Council Reworks Rules for Home Businesses | Saint-Louis Park

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With home work becoming a common occurrence, St. Louis Park is planning to relax some of its home tenure rules.

St. Louis Park City Council voted 6-0 on Aug. 2 in favor of an ordinance that increases the percentage of a home that can be used for a business from 10% to 25%. The ordinance, which the board is expected to finalize on Monday, August 16, would also authorize barbers and hairdressers at home, authorize an employee who does not reside on the property, and authorize home occupations in secondary suites, which are small residences. on properties. who already have a bigger house.

The proposed ordinance would also “allow equipment that is not generally present in a residential household, provided it does not negatively impact adjacent residential properties, is small enough so as not to encroach on the residential character of the house, and that the equipment does not have an undue impact on public infrastructure, ”according to a staff report describing the changes. The city code currently limits equipment “to that which is normally found in a house,” according to the report.

The rules would still prohibit noise nuisance, odors, smoke, heat, glare, vibrations or electrical interference that affects neighboring properties.

The order would continue to ban home businesses related to bodywork or painting, motor vehicle sales, maintenance and repair, small engine repairs, massages, medical offices. and dental, animal handling, restaurants, gun sales, currency exchange, payday loan companies and sexually. oriented businesses.

The new ordinance would require home occupations with an employee who does not live on the property to register with the city. The current rule requires people with home activities to register only if clients or students are visiting the property.

The existing rule caught a board member off guard. City councilor Tim Brausen, who operates his home-based law firm, admitted he was unaware he had to register his business with the city if he met clients at his home.

“I would suggest that we need additional consumer education or resident education, then, as to the need for this land use registration because personally I was not aware, and I make sure my application is in tomorrow, ”Brausen says. “I don’t want to be misused in my own neighborhood. “

Councilor Nadia Mohamed also stressed the need to communicate the requirements of the city.

“If the council members didn’t know about this room, imagine what the ordinary person knows or doesn’t know,” Mohamed said.

Upon receiving the request, Morrison said city officials would conduct a review for code compliance, but would not require business owners to seek permission from neighbors or notify them directly.

Earlier this year, some council members expressed concern about businesses in accessory buildings, noting that they had received nuisance complaints about the practice. City Councilor Rachel Harris said she was concerned about the increased use of home occupancies and the impacts on neighborhoods.

The new rules would continue to ban businesses from garages and sheds, Deputy Zoning Administrator Gary Morrison said in response to questions.

Council member Margaret Rog had a different opinion than Harris. Seeing the problem with what she called her own version of an equity lens, Rog said the proposed rules could still exclude people from the possibility of starting a small business.

“I’m not suggesting that you make changes that make things worse or more complicated,” Rog said. “I just feel like we could go further.”

She asked why the city still banned home affairs involving handling animals or massaging, for example. The council recently authorized more handling of animals in commercial areas.

Highlighting noise and animal safety concerns, Morrison said: “Neighbors have expressed concerns about the strange dogs in the backyards of people next door.”

Regarding massage companies, Morrison said, “Due to the bad intention that sometimes lurks behind the facade of massage, it has traditionally been kept away from residential areas.”

Rog replied, “I think there are a lot of honest massage therapists who maybe get punished.”

Morrison replied, “There are, and unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you have to write the rules of the lowest common denominator.”

Rog also asked why the city would limit home-based businesses to a single outside employee.

“We can start with one and see how it goes,” said Morrison, who said it’s easier to increase the limit than it is to reduce it after companies with more employees exist.

When Rog questioned the 25% limit on the amount of space in a home that can be used for a business, Morrison said: a time.

Rog also asked about the ban on commercial work on construction sites. Morrison said such work could be noisy, such as repair work on lawn mowers and snowblowers.

“So, are we going to get rid of the leaf blowers next?” Rog asked.

Morrison said, “A leaf blower is fine, but it usually runs for an hour once a week or something like that. It’s not 10 hours a day every day.

While Morrison’s responses did not cause Rog to change his mind about the proposed restrictions, she said: “I support these changes that are being proposed tonight so that we do not delay expanding access to short-term entrepreneurship. “

Councilor Lynette Dumalag also questioned whether the ban on foreign exchange and home-based business payday loans was maintained. Planning and zoning supervisor Sean Walther said another part of the city code banned them in commercial areas near residential areas.

As a result, he said, “It didn’t make sense for us to add it as an occupation to the house.”

Mayor Jake Spano, who did not attend the meeting, said in comments he provided that he would have voted against the order. He said the city should focus more on establishing rules based on impacts than on specific business uses. For example, he said having a daily party at his house would have a more negative impact on neighbors than occupying a home with two employees.

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