Chapter 17.120


17.120.010    Purpose.

17.120.020    Applicability and exemptions.

17.120.040    Approval criteria and standards.

17.120.050    Prohibited home occupations and residential business ventures.

17.120.060    Permit procedures for home occupations.

17.120.070    Submission requirements for home occupation applications.

17.120.080    Conditions applicable to home occupation approvals.

17.120.090    Revocation and expiration of home occupation permits.

17.120.100    Action regarding complaints and violation of standards.

17.120.110    Notice of decision and appeals.

17.120.120    Penalties.

17.120.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to:

(1) Permit residents an opportunity to use their homes to engage in small-scale business ventures which could not be sustained if it were necessary to lease commercial quarters, or because the nature of the activity would make it impractical to expand to a full-scale enterprise; and

(2) Establish approval criteria and standards to ensure that home occupations are conducted as lawful uses which are subordinate to the residential use of the property and are conducted in a manner that is not detrimental or disruptive in terms of appearance or operation to neighboring properties and residents. (Ord. 2875 § 1.154.010, 2003)

17.120.020 Applicability and exemptions.

(1) No person shall carry on a home occupation, or permit such use to occur, on property which that person owns or is in lawful control of, contrary to the provisions of this chapter.

(2) Exemptions from the provisions of this chapter are:

(a) Garage sales;

(b) For-profit production of produce or other food products grown on the premises. This may include temporary or seasonal sale of produce or other food products grown on the premises. Farming activities shall be consistent with the definition of farming contained in Chapter 17.16 SHMC (definitions);

(c) Hobbies which do not result in payment to those engaged in such activity;

(d) Business ventures that exhibit no evidence that a business is being conducted from the premises and comply with the following:

(i) There are no outside volunteers or employees to be engaged in the business activity other than the persons principally residing on the premises;

(ii) There is no exterior signage which identifies the property as a business location, except for vehicle signs as defined by Chapter 17.88 SHMC;

(iii) There are no clients or customers to visit the premises for any reason;

(iv) There is no exterior storage of materials; and

(v) The business venture does not exceed the provisions of SHMC 17.120.040(4); and

(e) Proven nonconforming home occupations as per SHMC 17.104.040(4)(e).

(3) A home occupation permit and associated fee are required for each property on which a home occupation is undertaken. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.020, 2003)

17.120.040 Approval criteria and standards.

All home occupations except those that have proven nonconforming status shall comply with the following:

(1) Home occupations may be undertaken only by the principal occupant(s) of a residential property;

(2) There shall be no more than three deliveries per week to the residence by suppliers;

(3) There shall be no offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat or glare noticeable at or beyond the property line resulting from the operation. Home occupations shall observe the provisions of Chapter 17.52 SHMC, Environmental Performance Standards;

(4) The home occupation shall be operated entirely within the dwelling unit and any conforming accessory structure. The total area which may be used in the accessory building for either material product storage and/or the business activity shall not exceed 600 square feet. Otherwise, the home occupation and associated storage of materials and products shall not occupy more than 25 percent of the combined residence and accessory structure gross floor area. The indoor storage of materials or products shall not exceed the limitations imposed by the provisions of the building, fire, health, and housing codes;

(5) A home occupation shall not make necessary a change in the applicable building code (as administered by the building official) use classification of a dwelling unit. Any accessory building that is used must meet the applicable building code requirements and be in conformance with Chapter 17.124 SHMC;

(6) More than one business activity constituting two or more home occupations shall be allowed on one property only if the combined floor space of the business activities does not exceed 25 percent of the combined gross floor area of the residence and accessory structure. Each home occupation shall apply for a separate home occupation permit, if required as per this chapter, and each shall also have separate business licenses;

(7) There shall be no storage and/or distribution of toxic or flammable materials, nor spray-painting or spray-finishing operations that involve toxic or flammable materials which in the judgment of the fire marshal pose a dangerous risk to the residence, its occupants, and/or surrounding properties. Those individuals which are engaged in home occupations shall make available to the fire marshal for review the Material Safety Data Sheets which pertain to all potentially toxic and/or flammable materials associated with the use;

(8) No home occupation shall require any on- or off-street parking other than that normally required for a residence;

(9) There shall be no exterior storage of vehicles of any kind used for the business except that one commercially licensed vehicle of not longer than 25 feet or taller than 12 feet may be parked outside of a structure or screened area;

(10) No more than one nonilluminated sign, not exceeding one and one-half square feet, which shall be attached to the residence or accessory structure or placed in a window shall be allowed;

(11) No more than one outside volunteer or employee who is not a principal resident of the premises shall be allowed;

(12) No more than six daily customers or clients. Customers and clients shall not visit the business between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. and shall not generate excessive traffic or monopolize on-street parking;

(13) Any exterior storage of materials, goods, and equipment shall be screened entirely from view by a solid fence. Storage shall not exceed five percent of the total lot area and shall not occur within the front yard or the required side yard setback. If not proposed, exterior storage shall not be allowed. A new home occupation permit would be required; and

(14) Home occupation shall be listed as a permitted use in the applicable zoning district and the dwelling unit shall be legally established. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 3164 § 3 (Att. B), 2012; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.040, 2003)

17.120.050 Prohibited home occupations and residential business ventures.

The following uses are not allowed as home occupations or business ventures in or associated with dwelling units:

(1) Auto body repair and painting;

(2) Ongoing mechanical repair conducted outside of an entirely enclosed building;

(3) Junk and salvage operations; and

(4) Storage and/or sale of fireworks. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.050, 2003)

17.120.060 Permit procedures for home occupations.

(1) A person wishing to engage in a home occupation must be a principal occupant of the property, pay a one-time review fee to the city, agree to abide by the provisions of this chapter, and acquire an annual business license.

(2) A person wishing to engage in a home occupation is required to have a preapplication conference with city staff in accordance with SHMC 17.24.040 and is also required to submit an application and a fee.

(a) The decision to approve, approve with conditions, or deny an application for a home occupation permit shall be made by the director upon findings of whether or not the proposed use:

(i) Is in conformance with the standards contained in this chapter;

(ii) Will be subordinate to the residential use of the property; and

(iii) Is undertaken in a manner that is not detrimental nor disruptive in terms of appearance or operation to neighboring properties and residents;

(b) The director’s decision to deny an application or approve it with conditions may be appealed to the planning commission; and

(c) Upon approval of a home occupation application, the director shall issue a preliminary notice of approval and provide notice of the same to the applicant and to property owners within 300 feet of the property line of the proposed use. The decision shall be final within 20 days following the day of mailing of notice unless appealed to the planning commission.

(3) Appeals shall be made in accordance with SHMC 17.24.310(1) at a cost equal to 60 percent of the city’s standard appeal fee. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.060, 2003)

17.120.070 Submission requirements for home occupation applications.

An application for a home occupation shall be made on forms provided by the director and shall be accompanied by:

(1) One copy of the applicant’s statement or narrative which explains how the proposal conforms to the approval criteria in SHMC 17.120.040;

(2) The required fee;

(3) A site plan of the property drawn to scale with a north arrow indicated. The site plan shall show all major features of the property including buildings, major vegetation, access for public streets, sidewalks, any proposed exterior storage related to the home occupation per SHMC 17.120.040(13), etc.;

(4) One floor plan of all structures on the property which are to be used for the home occupation(s);

(5) One title transfer instrument; and

(6) Property owner’s signature(s) or written authorization. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.070, 2003)

17.120.080 Conditions applicable to home occupation approvals.

The director may impose conditions upon the approval of a home occupation permit to ensure the requirements of this chapter are complied with. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Further limiting the hours, days, place, and manner of operation;

(2) Requiring site and building design features which minimize environmental impacts such as noise, vibration, air pollution, glare, odor, and dust;

(3) Requiring additional building setbacks, and increased lot area, depth or width;

(4) Further limiting the building area and outdoor storage used by the home occupation and restricting the location of the use on the site in relationship to adjoining uses;

(5) Designating the size, number, location, and design of vehicle access points;

(6) Requiring street right-of-way to be free at all times of vehicles associated with the home occupation;

(7) Requiring landscaping, buffering and/or screening of the home occupation from adjoining uses and establishing standards for the continued maintenance of these improvements;

(8) Requiring storm drainage improvements and surfacing of parking and loading areas;

(9) Limiting the extent and type of interior or exterior building remodeling necessary to accommodate the home occupation;

(10) Limiting or setting standards for the location and intensity of outdoor lighting;

(11) Requiring and designating the size, height and location of fences and materials used for their construction;

(12) Requiring the protection and preservation of existing trees, and other vegetation, watercourses, slopes, wildlife habitat areas, and drainage areas;

(13) Limiting the type and number of vehicles or equipment to be parked or stored on the site;

(14) Requirements to minimize public health and safety impacts of any hazardous materials used; and

(15) Any other limitations which the director considers to be necessary or desirable to make the use comply with the purposes stated in this chapter. (Ord. 3232 § 2 (Att. A), 2018; Ord. 2875 § 1.154.080, 2003)

17.120.090 Revocation and expiration of home occupation permits.

(1) The director may revoke a home occupation approval if the conditions of approval have not been or are not being complied with and the home occupation is otherwise being conducted in a manner contrary to this chapter. The process for revocation shall be as provided for in SHMC 17.120.100.

(2) A home occupation permit shall become invalid if the applicant moves his or her residence. (Ord. 2875 § 1.154.090, 2003)

17.120.100 Action regarding complaints and violation of standards.

(1) All home occupations are subject to review by the director.

(2) Complaints. Complaints may be originated by the city of St. Helens or the public. Complaints shall clearly state the objection to the home occupation, such as:

(a) Generation of excessive traffic;

(b) Exclusive use of on-street parking spaces; or

(c) Other offensive activities not compatible with a residential neighborhood.

(3) Review of Complaints. Complaints shall be reviewed by the director. The director shall either approve the continuation of the home occupation use as it exists, revoke the home occupation permit, or compel measures to be taken to ensure compatibility with the neighborhood and conformance with this chapter. The operator of the home occupation may appeal the director’s decision in accordance with SHMC 17.24.310(1).

(4) Cessation of Home Occupation Pending Review. If it is determined by the director, in exercise of reasonable discretion, that the home occupation in question (being appealed) will affect public health and/or safety, the use may be ordered to cease pending exhaustion of all appeals. Violation of such an order shall be deemed a violation of this code and subject to penalties as described in SHMC 17.120.120.

(5) Notice of Appeal Hearing. Written notice of a hearing on an appeal of the director’s decision to either revoke or not revoke a home occupation permit shall include its date, time and place and shall be given to the property owner(s) and the person(s) undertaking the use if other than the owner(s). Written notice shall also be given to property owners as per original process or at least abutting, whichever is greater.

(6) Higher Authority Decision on Appeal. It shall either approve the use as it exists, revoke the permit, or compel suitable restrictions and conditions to ensure compatibility with the neighborhood. (Ord. 2875 § 1.154.100, 2003)

17.120.110 Notice of decision and appeals.

(1) Written notice of the planning commission or director’s decision and associated findings shall be sent to the person(s) undertaking the activity, the property (if different than above), and persons participating in the above proceedings.

(2) The determination of the director or planning commission shall become final unless appealed. (Ord. 2875 § 1.154.110, 2003)

17.120.120 Penalties.

Noncompliance with the orders of the director or planning commission, as referred above, is an infraction per Chapter 17.12 SHMC. (Ord. 2875 § 1.154.120, 2003)