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Ordinance change will make starting home business easier in Decatur

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

This week, the Decatur City Council approved an ordinance change that allows the Building Department to approve home offices and issue temporary business licenses. Previously, the business owner was required to have a public hearing with the city Board of Zoning Adjustment to appeal for a variance.

The change will make the process of starting a home business easier and reduce the workload for the Board of Zoning Adjustment. According to City Planner Lee Terry, around 15 to 20 people a month seek permission to operate a business out of their homes. Last year, the board approved 117 cases of home occupations, which is an increase over previous years. The new ordinance change reduces the time required to get a permit from at least 30 days to as little as three to five days.

An inspector with the Building Department will still review the homeowner’s application to make sure the business doesn’t violate zoning ordinances. To qualify for a home business license, applicants now need to sign a questionnaire that ensures they know the rules and regulations for home occupations that include not allowing customers to come to their homes and not having employees based in their homes. The public can still file a complaint with the Building Department if they think a resident is violating zoning ordinances.

Once applicants have approval from the Building Department, they can get their Business Privilege License from the Revenue Department. 

Click here to view the updated temporary business and home occupation sections of the Zoning Ordiance.

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