Archive for Thursday, June 22, 2006

Zoning of home businesses questioned

June 22, 2006

De Soto City Council members acknowledge the city has a problem with home-based businesses locating in residentially zoned neighborhoods, but agree the city had to go slow in addressing the concern.

City planner Kim Gordanier called the council's attention to the problem last Thursday with a report that included many businesses operating out of homes. Pictures in the report showed parked dump trucks, equipment storage, inventory stockpiles and other indications homes were being used for commercial purposes in apparent violation to zoning regulations and city code.

The home businesses could be found in all parts of the city but seemed to be found in larger numbers in rural areas to the south and east of the city's core and tended to be construction contractors, Gordanier said. The city has had a number of complaints about such businesses, she said.

The concern was brought to her attention by complaints and city code inspectors, who were asking for direction in how to handle the apparent violations, she said.

Gordanier said some of the businesses had been around longer than the city's zoning and thus grandfathered. She said she was working the Johnson County officials to review aerial photographs to make a determination when the businesses were started.

Some of the problems could be treated as code violations, Gordanier said, citing the examples stockpiled materials and the of parking trucks that exceed the allowable weight limits on residential streets.

Noting the city's past problems in enforcing the removal of inoperable cars and the parking of recreational vehicles, Mayor Dave Anderson said the city would have to take a measured approach to dealing with the issue.

"This didn't happen overnight, and we're not going go get it solved overnight," he said.

Gordanier said she would start the process by sending letters to those apparent home businesses documented.

A separate consideration would be possible tax considerations if the property was taxed at residential rate when part of the property had a commercial usage, Gordanier said. She didn't know how the county would assess such properties or how they were currently taxed, but that the county would be informed.

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