A Houston small business operator has been unsuccessful in applying for a temporary use permit and accompanying business licence to work at his residence.
Turned down once by District of Houston staffers in asking to run an auto detailing business from his Nadina Way residence, Chris Meints appealed that decision last month. It was subsequently reaffirmed by council at its Sept. 1 meeting.
Meints opened his business at his parents’ place last November, moving to his own property in the spring when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At the time, he said he’d only be at his property until he could find a suitable location elsewhere.
He said he understood that only one small business could be operated from a residence at any one time but that when his wife closed a salon at the residence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he’d be free and clear to detail automobiles and other forms of transportation.
But in a detailed four-page memo to council, outlining various regulatory provisions, it was noted that while one home industry was allowed at a residence, it could not be one of “the repair, maintenance and painting of vehicles, trailers, boats, commercial equipment [or] industrial equipment ….”
Further, a home occupation “must be wholly contained within a dwelling unit or accessory building” according to a District bylaw and a temporary use permit, under District bylaws, could not be granted for a property zoned for single family residential.
“Council would be unable to adopt a resolution to issue a temporary use permit for the property, as doing so would be in contravention of the Local Government Act and the Development Bylaw,” wrote chief administrative office Gerald Pinchbeck in the memo.
“This course of action, while unfortunate, is the only course of action which allows council to act within the existing legislative framework,” he added.
Allowable home occupation limits were established to “address concerns raised by property owners that the home industry regulations were insufficient to prevent industrial activities and from occurring on rural properties which can disrupt the free use and enjoyment of their properties,” Pinchbeck noted.