Farmington, Minnesota

Photo by Jason Jensen

Home Occupation Permit

About Home Occupation Businesses

The city of Farmington Zoning Ordinance permits the conduct of businesses in residential districts.  A home occupation is a business or commercial activity that is conducted from a single-family attached or detached dwelling, duplex, apartment, or mobile home and is clearly incidental to the residential use of the dwelling. Home occupations are divided into two categories; Permitted Home Occupation and Special Home Occupation. A Permitted Home Occupation does not require a permit. Operating a Special Home Occupation requires approval of an Interim Use Permit by the Farmington Planning Commission. All home occupations must conform to the Farmington City Code.

Examples of Permitted Home Occupations (permit not required) include, and are limited to the following:

  • Art studio   
  • Consulting services
  • Professional offices  
  • Secretarial services  
  • Tailoring
  • Teaching with musical, dancing and other instructions of no more than one pupil at a time
  • Similar uses

Examples of Special Home Occupations (permit required) include:

  • Barber and beauty services
  • Chiropractic office
  • Group lessons
  • Marketing of non-over the counter brand name products
  • Massage therapy
  • Photography studio
  • Small appliances repair
  • Similar uses

Special Home Occupations may involve any of the following:

  • Repair service or manufacturing which requires equipment other than customarily found in a home
  • Stock-in-trade incidental to the performance of the service
  • Teaching with musical, dancing and other instruction of more than one pupil at a time

The permit costs $200 for the city application and $46 paid to Dakota County for recording fees.

The purpose of this code (Section 10-6-2) is to maintain the character and integrity of residential areas and to provide a means through the establishment of specific standards and procedures by which home occupations can be conducted in residential neighborhoods, without jeopardizing the health, safety and general welfare of the surrounding neighborhood.  In addition, this section is intended to provide a mechanism enabling the distinction between Permitted Home Occupations and Special or non-conforming Home Occupations.

(A) Permitted Home Occupation

  1. Any permitted home occupation as defined in this ordinance, and subject to the performance standards of this section, may be conducted solely within a residential principal or accessory structure without a permit or special approval of the city.
  2. Permitted home occupations shall not create a parking demand in excess of that which can be accommodated in an existing driveway or guest parking area for multiple family dwellings, where no vehicle is parked closer than ten (10') feet from the curb line or edge of paved surface. 

(B) Special Home Occupation

  1. Permit Required.  Any home occupation which does not meet the specific requirements for a Permitted Home Occupation as defined in this section shall require a Special Home Occupation permit which shall be applied for, reviewed and disposed of in accordance with the procedural provisions of an interim use permit pursuant to section 10-3-7 of this ordinance.
  2. Declaration of Conditions. The Planning Commission may impose such conditions on the granting of an interim use permit as may be necessary to carry out the purpose and provisions of this section.
  3. Transferability.  Permits shall not run with the land and shall not be transferable.
  4. Inspections.  The city of Farmington hereby reserves the right upon issuing any interim use permit for a home occupation to inspect the premises in which the occupation is being conducted to insure compliance with the provisions of this section or any conditions additionally imposed.

(C) General Provisions and Performance Standards

  1. No home occupation shall produce light glare, noise, odor or vibration that will in any way have an objectionable effect upon adjacent or nearby property.
  2. No equipment shall be used in the home occupation which will create electrical interference to surrounding properties.
  3. Any home occupation shall be clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use of the premises, should not change the residential character thereof, and shall result in no incompatibility or disturbance to the surrounding residential uses.
  4. No home occupation shall require internal or external alterations or involve construction features not customarily found in residential dwellings except where required to comply with the local and state fire and police recommendations.
  5. There shall be no exterior storage of equipment or materials used in the home occupation, except personal automobiles used in the home occupation may be parked on site.
  6. All vehicle parking required for conduct of the home occupation shall be off-street.  Parking/storage of all commercial or non-passenger vehicles used in the home occupation shall be in accordance with Section 10-6-4(N) of the city code.
  7. The home occupation shall meet all applicable fire and building codes.
  8. No home occupation activity of a non-residential character shall be discernible from the private street with the exception of a two-sided, two (2) square foot, non-illuminated sign may be displayed.  Said sign shall be set back a minimum of ten (10') feet from all property lines.
  9. Shipments and delivery of products, merchandise or supplies shall be limited to the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and shall regularly occur only in single rear axle straight trucks or smaller vehicles used to serve residential areas.
  10. All home occupations shall comply with the provisions of the city Nuisance Ordinance.
  11. No home occupation shall be conducted between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. unless said occupation is contained entirely within the principal building and/or accessory structure space and will not include any on-street parking facilities.
  12. No retail sales and delivery of products or merchandise to the public shall occur on the premises except when incidental to the services provided.
  13. Home occupations shall not utilize more than forty-five (45) percent of the gross floor area of any dwelling unit, inclusive of any detached accessory structure used for the home occupation.
  14. Product sales associated with private social events (i.e. "Tupperware" parties) shall be exempt from this section provided they occur no more than four (4) times per year at any given residence.
  15. Home occupations must be owned and operated by the owner/lessee of the residential property.

(D) Requirements for Permitted Home Occupations

  1. Only persons who reside full time in the residence shall be employed by the home occupation.
  2. Customers and/or clients from the general retail public shall not come to the premises in question for purposes pertaining to the conduct of the home occupation.
  3. All permitted home occupations shall be conducted entirely within the principal or accessory structures.

(E) Requirements for Special Home Occupations

  1. One (1) employee, who does not reside on the premises may be employed. Additional non-resident employees above the one may be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Planning Commission if it is found by the Planning Commission that circumstances exist that won't compromise the residential integrity of the surrounding neighborhood.  In no case may there be more than four (4) additional non-resident employees and all parking for these employees must be accommodated on the subject property.
  2. A special home occupation permit may be issued for a period of one year, after which the permit may be reissued for periods of up to three (3) years each. Each application for permit renewal shall, however, be processed in accordance with the provisions regarding interim use permits, except that no public hearing is required on the permit renewal, unless deemed necessary by the Planning Commission.  However, notice of the permit renewal application must be provided to all property owners of land within three hundred fifty (350') feet of the boundary of the property in question. The notice must provide the date of consideration before the Planning Commission and indicate that parties may be heard to consider the application. Failure of a property owner to receive said notice shall not invalidate any such proceedings as set forth within the Zoning Ordinance.

(F) Prohibited Home Occupations

  1. Service, repair or painting of any motorized vehicle, including but not limited to motor vehicles, trailers, boats, personal watercraft, recreational vehicles and snowmobiles
  2. Dispatch centers where persons come to a site and are dispatched to other locations
  3. Medical or dental clinic
  4. Rental businesses
  5. Contracting, excavating, welding or machine shops
  6. Commercial kennels and veterinary clinics
  7. Tow truck services
  8. Sale or use of hazardous materials in excess of consumer quantities which are packaged for consumption by individual households for personal care or household use.
  9. Any other use of residential property deemed to be detrimental or inconsistent with the residential character of the neighborhood.

An application is linked for your convenience. The application requires a brief written statement describing the proposed home occupation. The description should include information such as the type of business, equipment used, operating hours, and the average number of people per day to come to the home for products or services.

Also, explain any problems or conflicts the business may have with the home occupation requirements or criteria.

Upon submittal of the application, the Planning Department staff will put together a list of individuals who live within 350 feet of the proposed business to notify them of a public hearing at the Planning Commission (meets second Tuesday of the month). An application submittal is due three weeks before the Planning Commission meeting.

Questions?

<p'> Contact the Planning Manager, Tony Wippler at 651-280-6822. Staff is available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Monday through Friday except on holidays.

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