Home computer business wins round 'Dial-A-Nerds' get OK to continue despite neighbors' objections

July 17, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

Ring one up for the "Dial-A-Nerds."

The Howard County Board of Appeals indicated last night that it would allow the father and son computer consulting business to continue operating in Riverside Estates, just south of Columbia, despite objections from residents who did not want a business in their neighborhood.

After nearly three hours of testimony late last night, the Board of Appeals was considering restricting the way Peter and Jeremy Moulton do business, but not prohibiting them from working at home.

The Dial-A-Nerds, as they call themselves, may be better known for weekly radio spots done locally and in Providence, R.I. They also are heard on WBAL-AM in Baltimore.

The cyberspace equivalent of radio's "Click and Clack" auto mechanics, the Dial-A-Nerds talk about computers, take calls and answer questions on the air.

As the Moulton Co., the family also has made news lately because of a zoning spat with neighbors, the kind of squabble that is likely to increase as computers allow more Americans to do business out of their homes, experts on home-based businesses say.

Counties such as Howard have limits of how many employees can work in businesses in residential neighborhoods.

In Riverside Estates, residents are upset that as many as five cars are parked diagonally in Pete Moulton's expanded driveway, essentially turning it into a mini-parking lot in the middle of an affluent residential neighborhood.

The restrictions being considered by the appeals panel include a five-vehicle limit in the driveway and garage and a limit of two or three full-time employees at the business at any given time.

Susan Sloboda, one of the nine neighbors who showed up at the Board of Appeals hearing last night, testified, "It does destroy the character of the neighborhood."

The board indicated it would ask Moulton to appear before it a year from now and warned him that he had better not have too many people working in his basement or parking in his driveway.

The Moulton Co. -- which provides computer and telecommunications training seminars nationwide -- now has as many as five people working in the basement.

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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