Ann Arbor gives final approval to relaxed rules for home-based businesses
ANN ARBOR, MI – With more people than ever working from home, Ann Arbor has updated their city code to set new rules for home businesses.
City council voted unanimously on Tuesday evening, Sept. 7, to give final approval to a new ordinance that no longer prohibits certain types of home-based businesses.
Instead, the rules set standards that all home-based businesses must follow, with relaxed limits on customer visits.
Linh Song board member D-2nd Ward, who co-sponsored the ordinance, said the changes affected the trombone teacher she met during her campaign last year.
A resident of Ward 2 who teaches trombone lessons couldn’t teach as many students as he would like given the city limits on car trips for home businesses, Song said.
“I am really excited to be able to share this update with him and let him know that he will be able to broaden his expertise with students in the area and that he will not be fined if students are dropped off for these. lessons, ”she said.
The final ordinance as amended removes references to noise, as the city has a separate noise ordinance. But it prohibits the generation of dust, odor, vibration, or electrical interference that is noticeable beyond the property line.
It allows up to 24 customer visits per day and up to six at a time. Customer visits must take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The city previously allowed 10 business vehicle trips per day for home businesses and did not clearly distinguish between deliveries and customer visits.
The new rules open the door to licensing a wide variety of home businesses, including home dental or medical offices and vehicle repair / painting, which were among the types prohibited under the old city ordinance.
A home business owner is allowed to have a non-resident employee working in the home with him, and up to 25% of a home can be used for a business.
The new regulation states that no truck or van over 10,000 pounds can be regularly parked in front of a home-based business, and any mechanized equipment can only be used in a closed building. Any storage of goods, materials and equipment should also be entirely in a building.
If a home business is operated in an accessory building such as a garage, the space cannot exceed the square footage of the house or 2,000 square feet.
As working from home became the norm for many people during the pandemic and residents have had questions, city officials have been working for months to update city rules to clarify what is authorized.
From musicians to makers and machinists and other professions, there are many successful home businesses and a lot of good that comes from it, said Jeff Hayner, board member, D-1st Ward, co-sponsor of the ordinance.
Hayner said he was satisfied with the way the order was conveyed to the Planning Commission and the consideration given to public comments. Home-based businesses are important, help reduce commuting, and align with the city’s transportation and sustainability goals, he said.
“I’m really happy to see this being dealt with here,” he said. “I just saw an old friend, an old neighbor, who recorded a hit in his basement studio here in Ann Arbor. He played Sonic Lunch a few weeks ago and it was great to see him and see his success. And I was just thrilled that he could have this home business here and really make it work for him. So I just think it’s a great thing we’re doing here, and the more we can do… the better.
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