Written by: Sarah Hunt, Zone Planning Group
With a shift in business mindset following COVID-19, and a number of small scale business owners looking for ways to establish their up and coming businesses with minimal overheads, we are seeing an increase in the number of people working from home or running a home based business.
This a great way to get started, it provides flexibility for workers around family commitments, reduces commute time/vehicle dependency, and increases opportunity for casual surveillance of our residential neighbourhoods during normal working hours for improved public safety. However, due to being located within residential neighbourhoods, there are a number of Council regulations in place to manage the Home Based Business structure to ensure that they do not impact on the peace and quiet of other residents. As a result, it is essential that potential business owners are aware of these limitations before proceeding with a corporate change, or initial startup, to ensure they avoid regulatory pitfalls.
The most essential limitation is that the main use of the House is retained for ‘living’ purposes. On this basis, a business cannot operate from a House unless the business owner (or primary employee) lives there as their permanent place of residence. In addition to this limitation, a home based business can avoid the requirement for further planning approval all together, so long as all of the following requirements are met, at all times:
- The business is wholly contained within the main house on the site;
- Has a maximum area for the business use (gross floor area) of 100m2;
- The business is conducted by a resident or residents of the dwelling and has no more than two (2) non-resident employees on site at any one time;
- No goods, materials or equipment are visible from the street or neighbouring properties;
- Unless a bed and breakfast, the business is closed Sunday and public holidays with operating hours between 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays;
- Limited customers – no more than 10 vehicular trips to and from the site per day and no more than 2 vehicles parked on the site at any one time associated with the business;
- Limited deliveries of no more than 1 delivery per week from a delivery vehicle exceeding 2.5 tonnes in weight); and
- Activities do not involve the repairing, servicing, cleaning, or loading of motor vehicles.
If you have a home based business idea that doesn’t quite fit within these requirements, but it is still something you are passionate about proceeding with, a planning approval would be required so that Council can assess any possible impacts on surrounding neighbours.
At the end of the day it is all about retaining a small scale and preserving the residential amenity of your surrounding area. If you’ve been looking for options outside of the commercial space and believe your business operations fall within the above parameters, then the Home Based Business structure may be just what you’re looking for!