CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM
Meeting Date: September 28, 2004
Subject/Title: Text Amendment 04-02 to amend the Brentwood Municipal Code
(Section 17.840 of the Zoning Ordinance) Relating to Home Occupation Use
Prepared by: Tim Nielsen, Planning Technician
Submitted by: Howard Sword, Economic Development Director
The Planning Commission and Staff recommend approval of Zoning Text
Amendment 04-02 which amends Brentwood Municipal Code Section 17.840 as
On June 1, 2004, staff presented an informational report to the Planning
Commission concerning the expansion of allowable Home Occupation Use
Permits. Staff was directed to return with a proposed amendment to the Home
Occupation Use Permit section of the Zoning Ordinance. On August 17, 2004,
Staff returned to the Planning Commission with a proposal to amend the Home
Occupation Permit ordinance and the Planning Commission recommended for City
Council approval with several changes.
In following through with the Planning Commission’s direction to amend the
Home Occupation Use Permit provisions, and upon reviewing the existing
Zoning Code provisions, several items should be considered. The Zoning
Ordinance currently stipulates, without exception, no visitors to come to
the home of an operator of a home-based business. We have begun to see a
number of Home Occupation Permit inquiries for home-based businesses that
require clients to visit the home business site. Most of these proposed uses
are instructional in nature and include tutoring, counseling, as well as
language and music instruction. Under the current ordinance, these uses are
not eligible as home occupations. Included in this proposed revision are a
few minor changes that clearly define the intent of the ordinance.
The key areas of focus are Section 17.840.007 and 17.840.008, which clarify
prohibited uses and activities as well as the addition of a new Section
17.840.009 that defines uses that may be allowed to have clients come to the
home in order to conduct business. The suggested changes include:
- Allowing only instructional uses as home occupations with clients coming
to the home to conduct business.
- Defining the conditions that will be placed upon these businesses.
- Expanding and clarifying which uses and activities are prohibited under
the Home Occupation Ordinance.
In researching the possibilities related to allowing visitors to the home
for home occupations, Staff conducted a survey of other municipalities
within California to determine whether they allow visitors in some capacity
and, if they do, how they limit these uses. Of thirty cities surveyed,
twenty-six allow visitors to come to the home in order to conduct business
in some capacity. Of the twenty-six cities that allow visitors, three
require some sort of use permit in addition to a Home Occupation Permit
approval. Three cities also require a public hearing to approve the use and
an additional two cities require a public hearing if there are any
objections to an administrative approval allowing visitation.
The numbers of daily visitors and the restrictions placed upon the hours of
operation vary greatly. Several cities limit the number of visitors per day,
others limit the number of clients per visit, and others place few or no
limitations upon the number of clients that may visit the home in any given
period of time.
The major change is the addition of one section to the ordinance that would
allow certain types of in-home businesses to have a limited number of
visitors come to the home in order to conduct business. These businesses
must be instructional in nature such as tutoring, counseling, language,
music instruction, or similar home occupation undertaken entirely within the
home and deemed appropriate by the Community Development Director.
The Planning Commission made several changes to the ordinance while
discussing the proposal. The changes are as follows:
Numbers of students allowed:
Originally, Staff suggested that up to eight students be allowed to attend
per day, with no more than two students and one vehicle at a time. Staff
felt that a maximum of eight trips to the home per day, spread out over the
course of the business day, would not constitute a significant impact on the
flow of traffic to the neighborhood.
The Planning Commission felt that eight students per day was too restrictive
and increased the number of students per day to a maximum of twelve
students, while still allowing no more than two students and one vehicle at
Hours of operation:
Staff suggested that operating hours be limited to seven a.m. to seven p.m.
Monday, through Friday. This would restrict home-based businesses from
operating on the weekend when most residents are home and would require that
weekday evening lessons end as many people are returning from work or
The Planning Commission lengthened these hours to seven a.m. to eight p.m.,
Monday through Friday and 12 noon to eight p.m. on Saturdays. The primary
concern was for those who were only able to attend weekend classes due to
time associated with commuting outside the community.
The Brentwood Noise Ordinance must, without exception, be fully complied
Prior to staff approving an instructional use as a home occupation,
applicants must provide stamped envelopes to the Community Development
Department to be sent to all property owners immediately adjacent the
subject property. If there are any objections or concerns raised by those
neighbors, conditions may be placed on the permit prior to approval. If
neighbors are not satisfied, applications may be referred to the Planning
Commission for review and approval. Any administrative decision may be
appealed to the Planning Commission.
There are a number of existing home businesses of an instructional nature
that allow clients to come to the home in order to conduct business. These
businesses are operating outside the current restrictions of the Home
Occupation ordinance. By allowing and reviewing these uses under the home
occupation ordinance, they may be properly regulated, an arrangement that
both the City and business operator will benefit from. If any uses under the
amended ordinance are in violation of the regulations, these will be handled
on a complaint basis only. The ordinance before the City Council tonight
reflects the changes made by the Planning Commission.
Revising the home occupation uses allowed to have clients visiting the home;
and clearly defining prohibited activities and uses, promotes a more
public-friendly ordinance while fostering greater economic development
opportunities through expanding the uses allowed under the home occupation
ordinance. These changes will benefit the City while allowing uses that have
previously been forced to operate outside of the City of Brentwood or that
have chosen to operate illegally to exist within the community. This will
lead to more business licenses being obtained and more fee revenue being
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING SECTION
17.840 OF THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE WHICH ESTABLISHES REGULATIONS FOR
HOME OCCUPATION PERMITS.
WHEREAS, the Municipal Code in Section 17.840 contains provisions for the
regulation of home occupation uses; and
WHEREAS, it is the City's goal to encourage and facilitate economic
WHEREAS, home occupation permit provisions of the Municipal Code provide
parameters to conduct certain limited businesses; and
WHEREAS, there are several minor changes that need to be made to the
ordinance, in order to improve the clarity and ease future interpretation of
the ordinance; and
WHEREAS, on June 1, 2004, the Planning Commission directed staff to process
an amendment of the Municipal Code provisions for home occupation permits;
WHEREAS, on August 17, 2004, the Planning Commission held a public hearing
on the proposed amendment to Section 17.840 of the Municipal Code and
adopted a resolution recommending to the City Council that Section 17.840 of
the Brentwood Municipal Code be amended; and
WHEREAS, this action has been reviewed per the California Environmental
Quality Act (CEQA). Pursuant to Section 15061(a)(3) of CEQA this activity is
covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects that have the
potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can
be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in
question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is
not subject to CEQA; and
WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Brentwood
News according to City policies and Government Code Section 65091; and
WHEREAS, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed amendment on
September 28, 2004, for the purpose of reviewing this code amendment and the
staff recommendations; and
WHEREAS, after close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all
public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the
presentation by City staff, the staff report, the recommendations, and all
other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the proposed
ordinance amendment; and
WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood makes the following
finding per the Brentwood Municipal Code associated with this amendment:
This amendment is consistent with the General Plan and other applicable City
plans, and is appropriate to the public interest in helping to support
economic development and civic and cultural events.
NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Brentwood hereby amends
Section 17.840 of the Brentwood Municipal Code as follows:
(Deleted text stricken added text underlined)
HOME OCCUPATION USE PERMIT
17.840.001 Title and purpose of provisions.
A. Title. The provisions of this chapter shall be known as the "home
occupation use permit procedure" of this title.
B. Purpose. The purpose of these provisions is to prescribe a procedure to
permit and control the conduct of certain small home-based businesses and
other activities as accessory uses in the homes.
17.840.002 Applicability of provisions.
This procedure shall be required whenever a business license is required
using a home as the "location of business in Brentwood" or in the absence of
a location, using a home as a "mailing address" and in any case where a
commercial or commercial-like activity or an activity not customarily
conducted in the home, is being conducted in a home.
17.840.003 Home occupation defined.
A home occupation is a commercial or other activity conducted in a home by
the resident thereof which activity is clearly incidental and secondary to
the use of the home as a residence and which exhibits no external evidence
of the activity and will not change the residential character of the
A. A home occupation use permit application shall be prepared and submitted
pursuant to Chapter 17.800.
B. The supporting information specified in Section 17.800.007 shall be
limited to a description of the business or other commercial activity
including the method by which the activity will be conducted, that portion
of the home in which the activity will be conducted, and a description of
any equipment or materials to be utilized in the home.
A. Application for a home occupation use permit shall be processed pursuant
to Section 17.800.010.
B. Following a determination that an application is complete the zoning
administrator Community Development Director shall deny, approve or
conditionally approve the application.
17.840.006 Conditions of approval.
A. The home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the dwelling unit
or an a legal accessory structure building located on the property and
comprise no more than 20% of the living space on the property at the time of
application submittal. If conducted within a garage or other accessory
building, the doors shall be closed at all times.
B. Home occupations shall be provided with a single station smoke detector
and a minimum five-pound fire extinguisher type 2-A: 10-B: C.
C. Such other conditions of approval which pertain to the proposed use as
may be deemed by the zoning administrator Community Development Director to
be necessary to assure the use can be conducted as a home occupation in a
manner which does not adversely impact public health and safety.
D. In the event of a failure to comply with these regulations, the planning
director Community Development Director may, after notice and an
administrative hearing, revoke the home occupation use permit.
E. A business license shall be required for a home occupation if applicable
and a time limit which for the initial approval shall not exceed one year
and for subsequent renewals shall not exceed three years.
F. A time limit which for the first year shall not exceed one year and for
subsequent renewals shall not exceed three years.
17.840.007 Uses prohibited.
The following uses shall be expressly prohibited as home occupations:
A. Medical, dental, chiropractic, massage or similar offices or clinics;
B. Barber or beauty shops;
C. Pet grooming or boarding;
D. Real estate or similar Business offices or retail uses where a client
typically goes to the office or retail establishment to conduct business;
E. T.V., radio or appliance repair at the location of the home occupation,
other than repair of small hand-held tools or appliances;
F. Cabinet shop, furniture manufacture, upholstery repair or similar uses
requiring the use of electric saws, joiners, air compressors and similar
G. Automotive repair, maintenance or other automotive services (except for
the home occupant’s personal vehicle);
H. Any use involving storage of hazardous chemicals or supplies not normally
found at a private residence.
H I. Bicycle, lawn mower or small engine repair or maintenance;
I J. Welding, use of paint sprayers, compressors, etc;
J K. Other uses which the planning director Community Development Director
determines to be inappropriate or incompatible within a residential
17.840.008 Activities prohibited.
The following activities shall be prohibited in conjunction with any home
A. The employment within the home of any person, other than an inhabitant of
B. The use of more than one room or the equivalent of 20% of the floor area
of the dwelling unit, whichever is greater. If the home occupation is
conducted within a garage or accessory building, the doors shall be closed
at all times;
C. The use of equipment powered by motors of more than a total of one
horsepower capacity or the equivalent thereof;
D. The display of any stock in trade in stock;
E. The generation of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in excess of that
associated with the residential use, except as provided in Section
F. Creation of any radio or television interference or creation of any noise
greater than the noise performance standards established in Section
G. The emission of odor or gaseous, liquid or solid waste;
H. The display of signs or advertising devices identifying the home
occupation or any outside display or window display of materials or
I. Any commercial retail sales on the premises;
J. The storage or use of commercial vehicles for delivery to or from the
premises, other than a one vehicle not to exceed one-ton capacity, owned by
the occupant of the home;
K. Any external alteration of the appearance of the dwelling unit in which
the home occupation is conducted;
L. The use of yard space or any activity outside the main or accessory
building which is not normally associated with a residents use.
17.840.009 Exception for teaching, counseling, or instructional activities.
For the purposes of this section, tutoring, counseling, language, music
instruction, or similar home occupation undertaken entirely within the home
and deemed appropriate by the Community Development Director shall not
constitute a significant and sustained traffic increase affecting the
residential character of the neighborhood.
A. Only one vehicle and two students are allowed at a time with a maximum of
twelve students per day.
B. Hours of operation are limited to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through
Friday, and 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, unless limited further
by conditions placed upon the hours of operation.
C. A notice must be sent to adjoining property owners prior to approval of
the business. If there are any concerns, the approval may be conditioned to
mitigate them, or the application could be referred to the Planning
Commission for review and approval.
D. The Brentwood Noise Ordinance (Section 9. 32) must, without exception, be
fully complied with.
E. Any non-prohibited activity or use proposed under this exception that
cannot meet all of the requirements listed above will be referred to the
Planning Commission for review and approval.
17.840.009 010 Appeal.
Action of the zoning administrator Community Development Director may be
appealed pursuant to Chapter 17.880.
THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a
regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 28th day of September
2004, by the following vote: