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Council approves home-based business amendment

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“We’ve seen an absolute increase in business licenses in the City, and a lot of that has been attributed to start up businesses; home-based businesses.”

Mayor Gerald Aalbers adds that city officials are very supportive of this development, but at the same token as a  business expands, people cannot run a full-fledged business in a residential area.

“That’s one of the areas that was defined in the new bylaw today just to help give some clarity. So as people apply for a home-based business license, they’ll be going to the planning department and go through the process with our planning team to ensure that they can meet the requirements as well as they understand the requirements.”

He says one of the largest issues was the growth of a home-based business and how much parking will be required or how many customers will be coming to the neighbourhood.

His comments come with the passage of the home-based business amendment Bylaw no. 26-2021.

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This deals with reducing concerns that may arise in a neighbourhood, where a home-based business exists including:

  • a 15 per cent limit on the flooring area in the dwelling occupied by the business
  • ensure there is no nuisance or infringement on the privacy of neighbours
  • vehicular or pedestrian traffic is not in excess of that which is characteristic of the area
  • client visits are capped at five per day or twenty-five in a week.

The bylaw also addresses parking and hours of operation to minimize impact on the neighbourhood.

Aalbers says they wish to encourage the growth of business recognizing that provision must be made for a home operation as it expands beyond a residential space.

“Anyone in business always likes to have more business. But what’s the strategic plan to move out of that home-based business to a retail business once you realize what level of business you cannot exceed. There’s times and things like that are specified in the bylaw which are very important. Because you have to remember, a residential area is often where a home-based business is, so having traffic come very early in the morning or late at night is not conducive to great family life for some homes.”

The city has seen an increase in active business license applications over the last three years:

  • 2019 – 1,789 applications
  • 2020 – 1,749
  • 2021 – 1,885 (YTD Dec. 14)

Officials say with the advent of the home-based business bylaw, they will be adjusting the reporting structure to better indicate the type of license issued.

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