Halifax Town Council and the Halifax Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Halifax Town Hall to receive public comment on proposed amendments to the town’s zoning ordinance.
Council is looking to amend the definition of home occupation within its ordinance to read “An occupation, profession, enterprise or similar activity conducted within a dwelling unit which is the residence of the practitioner. In order to qualify as a home occupation, an activity as described herein must be clearly secondary to the principal dwelling use of the premises and must meet all of the standards set forth in the town of Halifax Zoning Ordinance Article 17, which are intended to distinguish such activity from other business uses and to ensure compatibility with nearby residential uses.”
The standards referred to in the proposed amendments include 12 standards that a home-based business must follow.
In addition to the business being secondary to the use of the home, there cannot be any outside storage of foods, products or other materials associated with the business, and indoor storage is permitted as long as it does not change the character of the neighborhood or increase traffic in a manner not consistent with a residential area.
Another standard in the draft says the business must not be open to the ultimate public but instead potential clients or customers could be invited to the home by appointment only.
It also states the homeowner can hold up to four open house events annually for his or her business.
The draft ordinance also states commercial vehicles relating to construction will be parked behind the house and not within view of the roadway.
It also states that not more than one non-resident employee may work on the premises at any given time and must be under the supervision of a resident.
Following the public hearing, the planning commission is expected to make a recommendation on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance.
Council is then slated to take action on the proposed amendments.
The business development committee comprised of Mike Trent and Gail Bosiger were tasked with reviewing the ordinance and constructing a draft at their September joint meeting with the Halifax Planning Commission.
Council began considering amending the zoning ordinance after LuLaRoe retailer Erin Shaughnessy’s special use permit was denied in June.
At that time, council requested the Halifax Planning Commission study the current home occupation definition and compare it to other localities.
In addition to Front Royal and South Boston’s ordinance, members of council and the commission also reviewed ordinances from Campbell County, Chesterfield County, Fredericksburg, Leesburg, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Roanoke and Smithfield.
When the commission met on Aug. 28, the planning commission unanimously recommended to council no amendments or modifications be made to the current definition of home occupation in R-1 residential zone.
During council’s Sept. 10 meeting, several members of the public, including neighbors, family members, friends and clients of Shaughnessy, spoke on her behalf asking council to reconsider her special use permit.
Shaughnessy also asked council to reconsider the permit, so she could provide and contribute to her family.
At the conclusion of that meeting, Dunavant requested council once again review the current ordinance, samples of others and develop any modifications to the current ordinance.