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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 17

Meeting Date: October 12, 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 Permits.

Prepared by: Tim Nielsen, Planning Technician

Submitted by: Howard Sword, Economic Development Director

RECOMMENDATION
The Planning Commission and Staff recommend approval of Zoning Text Amendment 04-02 which amends Brentwood Municipal Code Section 17.840 as described below.

PREVIOUS ACTION
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.

BACKGROUND
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 a time.

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 evening activities.

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 with.

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.

FISCAL IMPACT
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 collected.

ORDINANCE NO.

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 development; and

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; and

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, at the meeting of September 28, 2004 this item was continued to the meeting of October 12, 2004; 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 October 12, 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)

Chapter 17.840

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 dwelling.

17.840.004 Application.

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.

17.840.005 Procedure.

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 tools;
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 neighborhood.

17.840.008 Activities prohibited.

The following activities shall be prohibited in conjunction with any home occupation:
A. The employment within the home of any person, other than an inhabitant of the home;
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 17.840.009;
F. Creation of any radio or television interference or creation of any noise greater than the noise performance standards established in Section 17.200.004;
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 products;
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 12th day of October 2004, by the following vote:
 

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