Home-based business ordinance in draft stages

Clallam County planners are developing an ordinance for home-based businesses, restricting traffic flow and clarifying rules for signs.

Steve Gray, county Planning Department manager, said the new ordinance that was drafted in May is necessary to provide more clarity and predictability than the current ordinance, which has been at the center of many complaints.

Gray said he knows the ordinance might hamper some home-based businesses but noted its larger purpose, explained in the ordinance's purpose statement.

The statement lists several reasons for a replacement ordinance: Protect public health, welfare and safety; ensure compliance with relevant laws; define home-based business as incidental and subordinate to the property's residential use; and provide objective performance standards.

The current ordinance restricts traffic flow only by mandating the business cannot increase traffic more than would be expected for the residential use, Gray said.

The vagueness in the current traffic clause leaves it very open to interpretation, which can cause problems with neighbors concerned about the increase in traffic, he said.

Vague traffic rule

The draft for the new ordinance limits traffic flow to "a weekly average of seven round trips per day" and, except for commercial package carriers, they only can take place by appointment between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In addition, large vehicles such as logging trucks or moving vans can be parked overnight on the property only if the traffic generated by them is limited to a weekly average of two round trips each day. Some permits could provide for an increase in round trips or hours of traffic.

Signage is limited to one sign, which must be used for identification purposes only and be placed on the property in compliance with existing county codes.

Any buildings or conversions of existing buildings are limited to 500 square feet total. Business-related outdoor activity is prohibited unless specific requirements are met.

The county will hold public hearings on the ordinance sometime after the farm-based business ordinance is drafted, Gray said.

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