Cape council considers home-based businesses limits

Friday, October 15, 2004

Business Today

The Cape Girardeau City Council may impose new regulations on home-based businesses in an effort to preserve residential neighborhoods while also providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs.

"The main purpose is to make legal [those] activities that are happening already," city attorney Eric Cunningham said.

The council recently voted to hold a public hearing Oct. 18 to allow residents to voice their views on the measure drafted by a Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce committee.

John Mehner, chamber president, told the council that the committee's goal was primarily to protect residential neighborhoods. "Your house has to look like a house," he said.

At the same time, it would allow residents to operate home-based businesses without special-use permits provided that those businesses meet nine conditions:

# Besides family members, the business could have only one other employee.

# No more than a dozen trips a day to the home by customers, clients and vendors would be allowed.

# Direct-sale parties would be limited to one a month and only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.

# The outside appearance of the home must be maintained. No business signs, added parking or added lights would be allowed.

# No more than two truck deliveries would be allowed per day on a weekly average, excluding regular postal service.

# The business must be conducted wholly within a main building or accessory building.

# The business would be prohibited from creating noise, vibration, fumes, smoke, dust, odors or electrical interference of radio and television receptions.

# The enterprise would be barred from generating any solid waste or sewer discharge not normally associated with residential use.

# Only businesses involved in legal activities would be allowed.

Councilwoman Evelyn Boardman questioned allowing a home-based business to employ a non-family member.

But Mehner said the city needs to accommodate home-based businesses in today's Internet age. "We have to make it attractive for people to work out of their homes," he said.

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