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Spring Creek's revised home occupation rules up for hearing Monday evening

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Spring Creek Association

SPRING CREEK – A revised home-occupation rule is scheduled for a first reading Monday when the Spring Creek Association’s Committee of Architecture meets at 5:30 p.m. at the Fairway Community Center.

The new draft dated May 5 has been posted on the SCA website. It follows an earlier version that drew questions and complaints from several property owners, including some who feared it would put them out of business.

Revisions were made following a two-hour community meeting hosted by the SCA and the Committee of Architecture on April 26. Several property owners brought up concerns with rules from the first draft, including noise and dust, permit fees, signage and appearance.

In response, the SCA agreed to consider the changes and review them with its legal counsel, attorney Katie McConnell.

The new rule specifies that residents working from home for a third-party employer do not need a home occupation permit. Neither do residents who are self-employed and their business does not have “foot traffic from customers/clients.”

The number of nonresident employees allowed at a home occupation at any given time is raised to three in the new draft. The previous proposal set a limit of one.

Absent from the new draft is a list of home occupations that will expressly be banned. Instead, the draft says a home occupation generally “Is not a use that is permissible in a Commercial Zoning Designation or as a Conditional Use for the zoning district for which the premises is located as defined by the Spring Creek Association Declaration of Reservations.”

Property owners must pay an unspecified one-time fee to obtain a home occupation permit. Permittees must file for an annual renewal to maintain the permit at no cost, otherwise it may lapse. While The SCA has the authority to revoke a permit based on violations, annual permit renewals “shall not require approval or action from SCA or the Committee of Architecture.”

The revised draft does not require property owners to state the gross receipts of their occupation, as the current informal permitting process does.

The new draft also changes the amount of space a home occupation can take to 100% of an auxiliary structure and 40% of the primary residence.

Another change involves outdoor evidence of the business. “Continual storage of materials, products or equipment” is not allowed, except for daycares, agricultural operations and stables.

“The Home Occupation should not use show windows, exterior business displays, sandwich boards, or advertising that is visible from outside the premises, except as is permitted by the DORs and approved by the COA through the sign permit application process.” However, “Storage of vehicles, which display logos or advertising or signage including wrapped vehicles, on the premises shall not be considered external evidence of the home occupation.”

As stated in the earlier version, home occupations are not to generate more traffic than normally associated with a residence. But an earlier provision that set a two-vehicle limit on the parking or storage of vehicles was dropped.

The allowed hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., mirroring Elko County’s ordinance. This includes restrictions on “excessive noise, odors, traffic and unloading or loading of vehicles.”

According to the SCA, the new rules are intended “to encourage additional home-based businesses.” Previous rules for home occupations were ambiguous and the association’s Declaration of Reservations “is quite restrictive … For example not being able to use a shop or accessory building was noted in old rules.”

“A second reason for this is due to Great Basin Water not allowing some residential and commercial lots to hook up to sewer because they are at capacity for their sewer treatment plant. This has halted growth for businesses in Spring Creek and we have found it important to work with homebased business to bring services to the area without them waiting years for a new sewer treatment plant,” stated SCA.

“Finally, our goal is to have peace between neighbors and AR (agriculture residential) lots while providing additional businesses. For example, a trash company who identifies as homebased business will not be able to store trash in their three garages on their property even though they identify as a home business, this is a commercial business.”

“As stated in prior meetings, no one is here to stop any homebased business but to provide a clear understanding between neighbors and homebased businesses of what they can expect.”

Anyone with questions on the proposed rules can attend Monday’s meeting or call the SCA office at 753-6295.

A second reading of the rules will be scheduled before final passage.

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