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What is Home Occupation

A home occupation is a business or commercial activity which is conducted from a single family attached or detached dwelling, duplex, apartment, or mobile home and is clearly incidental to the residents use of the dwelling.  A Planning Permit is not required for Home Occupations.  However, all home occupations must conform to criteria set forth in the Municipal Code

What Criteria Apply to Home Occupations?

In order to ensure that residential neighborhoods are not adversely affected by home occupations, every home occupation must meet the following criteria:

Clients:  Only 2 clients are permitted in the dwelling at one time.

Employees:  Only occupants of the dwelling may be employees or unpaid volunteers of the home occupation.

Environment:  Obnoxious odors, vibrations, glare, fumes, dust, electrical interference or noise shall not be detected outside the dwelling or through the vertical or horizontal common walls of an attached dwelling.

Hours:  Clients are permitted at the residence only between the hour's of 9 o'clock a.m. and 9 o'clock p.m.

Vehicles:  A maximum of one business vehicle with a manufacturers gross weight of less than 10,000 pounds is permitted to be kept, garaged, or parked on the lot or parcel associated with the home occupation.

Signage:  Signage must conform to the residential signage requirements set forth in the Municipal code.

Location:  Home occupations, including storage, are permitted in the dwelling unit.  They are also permitted in an attached garage provided that the required number of covered parking spaces is not displaced.  In a detached garage or accessory building, only 100 square feet floor area may be devoted to a home occupation, and the required number of covered parking spaces may not be displaced.  Home occupations, including storage, are not permitted in carports or yard areas.

Manufacture: No manufacture or assembly, other than hand crafted products, is permitted.

Sales: Unless otherwise prohibited, an order may be filled on the premises if it is placed earlier by a customer using telephone, mail order, or through attendance at a sales party. Although not part of a home occupation, twice-yearly special sales may be held at the residence for the purpose of selling hand-produced goods to invited guests.  Such sales are allowed provided that (i) no more than two such sales are allowed in any calendar year; (ii) no such sale is conducted from more than four consecutive days; (iii) such sales are conducted between the hours of  9 o'clock a.m. and 9 o'clock p.m.


Are There Any Other Restrictions?

Certain home businesses are not compatible with a residential neighborhood because of the nature of the business or its potential for either hazard or nuisance.   The following activities are prohibited as home occupations by the Municipal Code.

  • Animal Breeding
  • Appliance repair, other than the repair of small household appliances.
  • Firearms sales and service
  • Motorized garden tool repair, such as, but not limited to, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and leaf blowers.
  • Massage parlors and the business of arranging massages at an off site location.
  • Pest Control.
  • Upholstery and furniture repair.
  • Food Catering
  • Vehicle related uses such as, but not limited to, storing of vehicle, cleaning, dismantling, embellishing, installing, manufacturing, repairing or servicing, selling, leasing or renting and towing, driving schools, and dispatching of vehicles.
  • Welding
  • Any use which requires a Hazardous Materials Permit from the fire department.
  • Any off-sale of alcoholic beverages.

Is Payment of the Business License Tax required for a home occupation?

Yes, a signed and completed business tax registration form and tax payment are required by the Revenue Management Division of the Finance Department. 408-535-7055

Finance Department Revenue Management is located at 200 E. Santa Clara St First floor Customer Service Center & the 13th floor of City Hall




Last Modified Date: 8/24/2010


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