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Council will debate home business regs

Who gets to have a home business? Owners? Renters? Both?

The Port Orchard City Council will be tackling the issue following recommendations from the Planning Commission, chaired by Gil Michael.

Following a moratorium on home professions and occupations, the Planning Commission redrafted the ordinance and sent it back to the city’s lawyer, Greg Jacoby.

Home professions allow individuals to work from home for financial gain, but not conduct on-site fabrication, service or sales. Home occupations allow on-site sales and services.

Jacoby presented the newest draft last week, and the council heard public testimony from Michael about further revisions.

“My recommendation would be that if you have services or sales on the site, it be done by the owner and not a renter,” Michael said.

Councilwoman Rita DiIenno took issue with the suggestion, explaining that the impact of the business would not differ whether a renter or an owner is the proprietor.

DiIenno has spoken strongly about the issue previously, decrying the moratorium from the beginning, calling it a knee-jerk reaction to Electric Crayon Tattoo moving to a home on Sidney.

DiIenno offered herself as an example, composing a situation in which she makes wedding dresses out of her home.

“To the community, why would they care whether Rita is the property owner instead of a property renter?” DiIenno asked.

The situation would limit the option of home occupations to those who have the means to purchase a house.

Greg Jacoby also questioned the ability to include renters.

“I don’t think we have enough evidence to exclude tennants,” Jacoby said.

Michael defended the notion, and asked that Jacoby look into neighboring communities to see how they handle similar situations.

“I think that is not in the best interest of the community,” Michael said of allowing tenants to operate businesses. “That’s my personal opinion.”

The City Council will discuss the issue further in future meetings, and came to no immediate decision at the meeting.

For more information on the City Council, visit www.cityofportorchard.us and see past agenda items, minutes and other documents.

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