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Campbell County makes it easier for home-based businesses to set up shop

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Posted at 7:00 AM, Aug 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-21 07:35:40-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- As the internet has developed over the years, one effect it's had is the ability for businesses to operate in cyberspace as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar structures. Oftentimes that means the office is also one's home.

One local county has taken a look at how it regulates such home businesses and hopes by changing the rules, it can stimulate small-business growth there.

Campbell County Fiscal Court last week adopted amendments to its zoning ordinance governing how home businesses operate.

“We’re not in the business of shutting businesses down,” Cindy Minter, director of the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission, said. “We want to help you move to the right place at the right time. It’s about compatibility.”

Minter presented the recommendation to the fiscal court, and said the previous ordinance was originally adopted in 1982. The commission has jurisdiction over unincorporated Campbell County as well as the cities of Crestview, Melbourne, Silver Grove, Southgate, and Woodlawn. Other cities in the county have their own Planning and Zoning commissions.

Cindy Minter, director of the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission, presents the recommendation to the court. Andy Foltz | WCPO contributor

“This is a good time for this update,” said Justin Verst, the Planning Commission chairman. “It hasn’t been updated in a long time, and our staff deals with it a lot.” He added that the changes were a good fix, and could be tweaked if necessary. 

Some of the changes to the ordinance governing home-based businesses are:

  • Allowing up to one employee other than those residing on the premises to work there at any point in time, which matches what Alexandria did with its zoning ordinance.
  • Allowing up to one accessory structure per lot.
  • Eliminating the restriction on selling commodities from the premises. 
  • Changing the traffic restrictions from generating no traffic to not creating unreasonable traffic or parking in residential neighborhoods. Light home-based businesses, such as office-type work, custom sewing, phone or computer sales or surveys, instruction or tutoring (limited to two students at a time), or off-site sales work where the premises are used for storage will not require a zoning permit. Other business which would require a zoning permit are childcare, catering, beauty/cosmetology, electronic repair, small engine repair, taxidermy, upholstery, and pet grooming, among others. 

“Zoning isn’t static, it’s meant to be dynamic. Land is not black and white, land is very colorful,” Minter said. 

The home-based business license is $100, Minter said. 

The dissenting vote on court was Commissioner Charlie Coleman, who believes the changes to the ordinance were being done to accommodate one or two people, although no names were mentioned. 

“I don’t see the need to fix something that ain’t broke,” Coleman said. “We need to apply the laws we have.”

Commissioner Brian Painter, himself a small business owner, is very supportive of the changes. 

“I think it’s a liberty issue,” Painter said. “You have the opportunity to make a living with your land. I think the ordinance that was in place was stifling.”

“Small businesses don’t evolve to take on empty storefronts unless they see their idea is going to work,” he added. “Planning and Zoning has done a great job of identifying how to prosper small business. This is the most satisfying project I’ve been involved with since I’ve been on Fiscal Court.”

Commissioner Tom Lampe agrees. 

“I think it’s a big step forward. The new ordinance is more user- and residential-friendly,” he said.