Wake County to allow home-based businesses in outbuildings

mquillin@newsobserver.comApril 21, 2014 

— Wake County residents who want to run a small business from their homes will be able to move the operation from a cramped spare bedroom to a more breathable workshop under an ordinance change the board of commissioners approved Monday.

County rules have long allowed people in unincorporated areas to use their homes as the base for a range of small businesses that don’t disrupt the surrounding neighborhood. Those include enterprises such as tailoring, sculpting, home crafts, computer programming, internet sales, tutoring, accounting and others. Under the rules, the businesses can’t employ more than one person who doesn’t live in the home, and they can’t take up more than half of the floor area of the home or 750 square feet, whichever is less.

People who live in municipalities are subject to their city or town rules, which limit such uses.

Tim Maloney, director of the county’s Planning, Development and Inspections department, told commissioners that he gets two or three requests a month from people in unincorporated areas who want to place businesses in detached garages, workshops or sheds, and he has to tell them no.

Board members said they wanted to help small-business owners, and voted to allow the change once they were assured it would not cause new problems for neighbors. All the other rules governing home-based businesses, including the amount of space they can occupy, will remain the same.

The board also approved changes to the county’s rules on dog and cat kennels, including removing the distinction between commercial and private kennels, and allowing kennels within residential watershed districts with special approval from the Board of Adjustment. The definition of a kennel — any building or structure used for the boarding, breeding or raising of more than five dogs or cats — will not change.

The board welcomed its newest member on Monday as Rich Gianni was sworn in and seated, replacing Tony Gurley, who resigned from the board in February. Longtime board member Joe Bryan was chosen as vice chair. Bryan, a Republican, won the designation on a party-line vote, with Democrats voting for Betty Lou Ward.

Commissioners gave final and unanimous approval to two major spending requests from the county Board of Education. The first was authorization to spend nearly $3 million to buy 22.1 acres of land in West Raleigh for an elementary school to serve the fast-growing Brier Creek area. The second involved a total of $23.8 million to do site work at several planned schools, renovations and improvements at some existing schools, and technology and infrastructure improvements at several planned schools.

How to vote absentee

The deadline is 5 p.m. Friday to request an absentee ballot request from the Wake County Board of Elections for voting in the May 6 primary. You must be a registered Wake County voter to request an absentee ballot, or submit a voter registration application along with the request for the absentee ballot. The form is available at bit.ly/1rgnImm and can be faxed, mailed, emailed or delivered in person.

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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