Well Technically You Can't, But.......

Business By veronica720 Updated 30 Jul 2009 , 5:42pm by Uniqueask

veronica720 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:02pm
post #1 of 22

I am wanting to convert our garage to bake cakes legally, but when I called the city zoning office they said quote "technically you can't have a business out of your home in your location" then I told her it would be just where the baking was to be done and the cakes would be delivered and no one would ever come to my home I would just meet them somewhere. Then she said "but if you only have a website and phone number then technically how would we know".

So I don't know what to do. Would the health inspector actually know I was not supposed to have business here? I really want to sell cakes but I will never be able to afford a shop, so I am stuck......... icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

21 replies
muddpuppy Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:08pm
post #2 of 22

Seems like a zoning issue, not a health department issue... aren't the zoning people the ones you should worry about? I'm not sure about where you're from, but one of the first things I had to do when "getting legal" was to get a letter from city zoning giving me permission to have my biz in that location, BEFORE I even got the health lics. and junk... hmm.... so if the health department says they're not going to look, the zoning ppl might...

muddpuppy Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:09pm
post #3 of 22

Seems like a zoning issue, not a health department issue... aren't the zoning people the ones you should worry about? I'm not sure about where you're from, but one of the first things I had to do when "getting legal" was to get a letter from city zoning giving me permission to have my biz in that location, BEFORE I even got the health lics. and junk... hmm.... so if the health department says they're not going to look, the zoning ppl might...

Doug Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:11pm
post #4 of 22

explore getting a zoning variance.

this will require it going before the zoning board w/ neighbors having the option to comment (so lots of free get them on your side cakes!)

then it will have to go the city council for final approval.

if you are in an area with a homeowners association -- that is your first stop. There may be covenants governing you property that will either have to be amended or again you will have to get a variance from them. Either way the association will have to vote on it.

and yes the HD will find out

veronica720 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:25pm
post #5 of 22

Thank you Doug I will look into that.

Mike1394 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:33pm
post #6 of 22

You need city approval first. Like Doug said look for a zoning varience.

Mike

veronica720 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:46pm
post #7 of 22

Ok I found the zoning varience section on the city website and some of the questions seem a little confusing.

So if there is anyone that has been through this or knows anything about it and wouldn't mind guiding me along, that would be greatly appreciated. I just want to make sure I do this correctly. PM or reply

Thank you,
Veronica

ziggytarheel Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:50pm
post #8 of 22

I want to caution you not to just look for the answer you want, but instead look for the official, by-the-rules answer.

A while back, a local homeowner built a large detached garage. He got all of the necessary permitting before doing so. Was inspected every step along the way.

However, this building was actually not allowed because of the amount of space it took on the lot. Despite lots of local news coverage, the man was required to tear the building down!

I don't have any real knowledge to share with you, but I bet the man in my story wished he had known the laws and consequences of not following them before he assumed having his plans approved by a government official was enough.

Doug Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 8:57pm
post #9 of 22

the best advice on zoning variances.

Go to the Zoning Office. They've got all the stuff needed, including the all important maps.

When I looked into locally, I found that if I was just ONE more lot further west, I would be in a "commercial" zone, instead of a "residential" zone.

but....

there are different types of zones

and the very helpful woman at the zoning office was able to show me how I could do a home based business because of the type of residential zone I was in and the type of business I wanted to do if I stayed within certain restrictions about the number of cars that could be at the house, the square feet of the house dedicated to the business (and on an on for about 2 full pages of details!).

---

so... field trip time. In most cases you won't need an appointment, can just walk in.

then once the zoning is all cleared up --- then comes the health department (or in my case the state dept. of agriculture)

BUT!!!!

remember --- if you are in a Homeowners Association area -- THAT is your first stop as they trump the city zoning. Those covenants take first precedence.

Mike1394 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 9:04pm
post #10 of 22

Talk to the building inspector. I had to go through him to get a varience. There were no hearings just a one yr probation period. Tell him your not going to have any industrial kitchen equip, and your just making cakes.

Mike

veronica720 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 9:05pm
post #11 of 22

Well no HOA for me, so I can skip that part. I hope my zoning office is as helpful as yours Doug. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

Thank you for the advice
Veronica

leah_s Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 9:14pm
post #12 of 22

Zoning can be pretty technical stuff. I'd be happy to explain zoning language, but for specific questions about your locality you really will need to talk with your local zoning or planning office.

PS I'm the Chair of the Board of Zoning Adjustment for Louisville, KY.

veronica720 Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 10:22pm
post #13 of 22

Awesome leahs, I'm sure I will need some help with all the technical stuff, it seems so confusing and I would hate to mess up something simple and hurt my chances of being approved. According to the zoning guide I would have to go in front of a board and request the change. I would not even know what to say.

thank you, I'm sure I will be in touch (I promise not to bug you to much...LOL)
Veronica

anasasi Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 3:53am
post #14 of 22

Veronica720, I would start by going to your city hall zoning office and explain your plans to them. My house is not zoned for business, however, in less than 15 minutes I was able to get licensed for my home business (selling merchandise over the net and at local shows). The zoning officer approved it because I would not have customers walking through the door. They did say, however, if any of my neighbors complained about too many UPS deliveries and such that the city could choose to revoke my business license. I've had my home business for four years and no problem to date. Didn't have to request a zoning change either. Give it a shot, if the zoning officer is in a good mood it may be as simple as just asking icon_biggrin.gif

veronica720 Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 4:02am
post #15 of 22

I was going down there anyway so I will first try that

Thanks anasasi,

Veronica

anasasi Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 5:20am
post #16 of 22

And if they give it a go don't forget to ask them if you could bring them a thank you sample for the staff. Those offices can be a good way to drum up some business!

CakeForte Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 6:00am
post #17 of 22

This is what I think is so frustrating about the entire process of opening a business. Dealing with the different laws regarding ABC and trying to find the middle ground of what you are allowed to do.

The packet I received on opening a food biz said nothing about minimum requirements for a grease trap, having a manhole for the grease trap.

I don't understand why the info cant be in one place in regards to a food biz....since so many people open them.

veronica720 Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 9:05pm
post #18 of 22

Well I went to the zoning office today to find out about the zoning variance and.......

yeah I am approved, I can have the garage converted for my kitchen, without having to do any of that. They classified it as some kind of neighborhood home occupation thing or something.

The zoning office and the health inspector are in the same building (just down the hall) so I even got my list of requirements. I am so excited!!!

Let the planning begin......

YouCaterer Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 9:23pm
post #19 of 22

That's awesome! Congratulations and I wish you the best of success!!

cathyfowler662 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 3:11am
post #20 of 22

Congratulations! Seems like it was pretty easy!

Good luck on your new venture!!!

veronica720 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 3:53am
post #21 of 22

It was pretty easy

We had to sit and wait for about an hour so we could talk to the big boss (as they put it) since he would know for sure and have final say.
The whole time we were waiting I kept telling myself they are going to say no and that would it, I was completely surprised. I just knew that was the end of the dream.

Uniqueask Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 5:42pm
post #22 of 22

Congratulations and Good luck

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