121.01    Short title

121.02    Purpose

121.03    Definition

121.04    General conditions

121.05    Permitted and prohibited uses

121.06    Administration

121.07    Enforcement

121.08    Nonconforming home occupations

121.99    Penalty


This chapter shall be known as the “Home Occupation Ordinance of the City of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.”

(Ord. 01-005)

121.02 PURPOSE.

(A) The purpose of this chapter is to allow home occupations which are compatible with the neighborhood in which they are located.

(B) The specific intent of this chapter is to:

(1) Protect the residential areas from any negative impacts associated with home occupations;

(2) Allow residents a choice in the use of their homes as a place for income and livelihood;

(3) Establish standards for conducting home occupations.

(Ord. 01-005)


A HOME OCCUPATION is defined as any business, occupation or activity conducted for gain, on residential property, within a residential building, or an accessory building thereto, which is incidental or secondary to the use of such building for dwelling purposes and which does not change the essential character of the building.

(Ord. 01-005)


Home occupations are permitted accessory uses in residential zones provided that the following conditions are observed:

(A) Resident occupants of the residence may conduct such occupation. A maximum of one full-time equivalent employee not to exceed two persons, may report to the residence to engage in the home occupation.

(B) The home occupation use of a dwelling shall be clearly incidental and subordinate to its residential use. Not more than 25% of the dwelling’s gross floor area or, up to a maximum of 500 square feet, shall be used for conducting the home occupation. The use of accessory structures is permitted under the same criteria.

(C) Storage in connection with any home occupation shall be totally enclosed and shall be limited to items which are necessary to conduct the home occupation or, limited to items that have been ordered by a customer but have not been delivered to the customer.

(D) There shall be no direct sale of products off display shelves or racks. Retail sales shall only be conducted if product orders are placed earlier by telephone. Sales to customers shall be arranged by appointment so that not more than one customer vehicle is at the dwelling at any one time.

(E) There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the building or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of a home occupation, and there shall be no open storage of business related equipment or supplies. One company-owned vehicle which is one-ton or smaller which may be also used for personal transportation purposes shall be exempt from this condition.

(F) Customer hours shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. The number of clients/patrons shall be no more than ten per day.

(G) No use shall create noise, dust, vibration, smell, smoke, glare, electrical interference, fire hazard, or any other hazard or nuisance to any greater or more frequent extent than that usually experienced in an average residential occupancy under normal circumstances wherein no home occupation exists.

(H) There shall be no explosive, highly flammable, combustible, corrosive, etiologic, radioactive or other materials restricted by city adopted ordinances, used or stored on the premises of a home occupation beyond the amount kept at a normal residential dwelling or on hand to operate or maintain equipment and permitted by the fire code as adopted by the city.

(I) Parking. A home occupation shall not cause the elimination of any required off-street parking for the main dwelling.

(J) Signs. No signs advertising the business or its products are allowed on the premises with the exception of permitted signage on vehicles as noted in division (E).

(K) Number of home occupations. In no case shall more than two home occupations be conducted on a single site, and where there are two permitted, the limitations of this chapter shall apply to the combined uses.

(L) All home occupations shall require a business registration from the City Clerk’s office.

(Ord. 01-005)


(A) Permitted home occupations shall be classified into categories of similar uses. For the purposes of this section, the use categories shall be professional office, general service, instructional service, home artisan businesses and small item repair service home occupations. Permitted home occupations under these categories include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

(1) Professional office. A professional office shall be considered an office for accountant, appraisers, attorneys, insurance agents, consulting services, and similar office uses.

(2) General service. A general service shall be considered computer programming, beautician, barbershop, direct distribution, maid service, mail order, massage/physical therapy, ironing, pet grooming, telephone/fax answering and word processing. Beauticians, barbershops, and massage/physical therapists shall be state licensed and shall be limited to one customer station.

(3) Instructional service. An instructional service shall be considered educational tutoring, music lessons and similar instructional services. A maximum of one student may be at the dwelling at any one time. No musical instruments may be amplified.

(4) Home artisan business. A home artisan business shall be considered artist studios, cabinetmaking, dressmaking, engraving, furniture making, hobby crafts, jewelry making, sewing, tailoring, and writing studios.

(5) Small item repair service. A small item repair service shall be considered locksmith repair, watch repair, tool repair and similar repair services.

(B) The following uses by the nature of the investment in operation, have a pronounced tendency, once started to rapidly increase beyond the limits permitted for home occupations and thereby impair the use and value of a residentially zoned area. Therefore, the following prohibited uses shall include but not necessarily be limited to the following:

(1) Motor vehicle and accessory sales or rental, repair and/or painting thereof, including trailer rental or sales;

(2) Large appliance repair;

(3) Large and small engine repair;

(4) Medical, dental offices, nursing homes;

(5) Restaurants;

(6) Kennels;

(7) Funeral home;

(8) Massage parlors;

(9) Antique shops;

(10) Private schools;

(11) Construction trades (which require outdoor storage of equipment and vehicles);

(12) Photo developing labs;

(13) Health and exercise facilities;

(14) Tattoo parlors.

(Ord. 01-005)


Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the City Development Director or his representative shall administer and enforce these regulations, including the inspection of premises and the issuance of permits authorized in this chapter.

(Ord. 01-005)


(A) The City Development Department Director or his representative has the authority to enter all buildings and premises for the purpose of inspection as necessary to perform assigned duties. If the owner objects to an inspection either announced or unannounced, a warrant for the inspection may be obtained before the inspection from a court of adequate jurisdiction. Objection to an inspection may result in the forfeiture of license, pursuant to § 121.99.

(B) The City Development Department may institute any appropriate action or proceeding whenever there is probable cause to believe there is a violation of this chapter.

(C) Approval process.

(1) Home occupations shall be approved through the approval process as administered by the Department of City Development.

(2) City Development Department staff and Fire Inspection Division staff shall review all applications for compliance with applicable codes. The location may be inspected if either department deems it necessary.

(3) Applications that do not meet the requirements of this chapter shall be denied. Applicants whose application has been denied may appeal the Department of City Development’s decision via the appeal process as per §§ 150.01 et seq. Applications for home occupations that are approved shall be issued a business registration from the Office of the City Clerk.

(4) A home occupation shall be automatically renewed each year, provided that no section of this chapter has been violated and all applicable fees have been paid in full.

(Ord. 01-005)


All previously permitted home occupations which are now deemed prohibited home occupations by this chapter, shall be allowed to continue operating under that home occupation permit provided that the permit holder adheres to the requirements set forth in this chapter or until the use is abandoned by the permit holder.

(Ord. 01-005)

121.99 PENALTY.

(A) A violation of this chapter shall mean that acts or failures to act in accordance with the requirements of this chapter have been committed which may result in the revocation of permit or citation into Municipal Court for failure to obtain applicable permits.

(B) Revocation. A home occupation permit may be revoked for nonconformance with this chapter. If revoked, all business shall cease within five days of issuance of revocation notice or immediately if the violation presents a risk of danger to public health and safety. A permit may be revoked for the following reasons:

(1) A change in home occupation use;

(2) Failure to renew business registration;

(3) Failure to permit city staff to inspect the premises of a home occupation;

(4) Providing false information on home occupation permit application;

(5) Failure to meet requirements of this chapter.

(C) Process for revocation of permit shall be as follows:

(1) The city notifies the proprietor of the home occupation of the violation of this chapter by certified mail. The notice shall include specifics as to the violation and include alternatives available, if any, to make the home occupation conform. A maximum of 30 days shall be given to abate the violation, however, violations impacting health, safety, or welfare may be given a time period of less than 30 days. Further action the city will take if the violation is not abated shall also be included in the notice.

(2) The proprietor of a home occupation shall be notified of the revocation of a home occupation permit by certified mail if the violation is not abated within the time period stated in the original notice.

(D) Violations. If appropriate, the proprietor of a home occupation may be issued a citation into Municipal Court for conducting the home occupation in violation of this chapter. Failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall upon conviction, be punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment in jail for a period of not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that a violation continues to exist after conviction shall be considered a separate offense.

(Ord. 01-005)