Rules for home businesses in county to be aired at public hearing tonight

September 04, 1997|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Seeking to balance the needs of residential communities with realities of work in the 1990s, the Baltimore County Planning Board will hold a public hearing today on proposed regulations governing home-based businesses.

At a time when an estimated 40,000 Marylanders work at home, planners say changes are needed in the county's laws -- rules so archaic that they make it illegal for residents working at home to operate fax machines and computers.

County planners are proposing laws regulating two categories of home-based business: those with no neighborhood impact and those with minor impact.

A business with no impact -- one conducted only by a resident, with no client or customer visits -- would be permitted in all residential areas.

A business with minor impact -- up to three employees who do not live in the home -- would be allowed only in residential and rural areas where zoning permits no more than two houses per acre.

The proposed rules come from a group of community representatives and county planners, and are substantially more strict than rules suggested earlier this year.

The latest proposals are stricter in some ways than the current law, which was adopted in 1955 and amended in 1982. The committee suggests, among other things, tighter limits on businesses with nonresident employees.

But the proposed regulations -- if approved by the Planning Board and adopted by the County Council -- no longer would prohibit home-based business owners from having fax machines and computers.

The public hearing will be at 5: 30 p.m. today in Room 407 of the County Courts Building, 401 Bosley Ave., Towson.

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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