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Zoning denied my Business Permit

I live in a fairly large suburban township, and wanting to to the right thing I went down to the municipal building to apply for a home based business permit & mercantile license. Long story short, because I listed my office AND kitchen on the permit as the rooms I use for business (I make bath & body products) they denied my application because my home is not zoned for the "manufacturing of cosmetics, drugs, or textiles". They want me to pay $700 with an application for re-zoning my home. Keep in mind I do not use my home as a store, customers do not come here. I sell online on Etsy and at local farmers markets, flea markets, and craft fairs (some within the township and some not). I have a sales tax license and registered LLC with the state, an EIN, and business liability insurance.

Has anyone ever had an issue like this? I'm so stressed about this whole ridiculous ordeal...apparently you can't hand make anything, even pot holders ("textiles"?) without rezoning your home. I'd love to hear from anyone that may have had a similar problem or who is in the know about L&I type legalities. Aaaarrgh!!

126 Responses

That is absolutely horrible!!
Hmm, I seem to remember that I had to specify that my business was internet only and that there would be no foot traffic to my home or signs in my yard. Every town/borough/city/state is different and to be quite honest, some folks just can't be bothered to steer you in the right direction. Do some more research, you can't be the only one in that town that makes things to sell online, right? :-)

All the best...this is an intimidating time!
I would make some phone calls and ask some questions. Something doesn't sound right.
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Inactive Etsy Member 8:41am Apr 12, 2012 EDT edited
that is common for many businesses. if where you lived isnt zoned for it, you have to apply and pay for a variance. whether you have customers coming to the house or not, is a whole different factor separate from what type of manufacturing you are doing at the location. if you were having customers come to the house, you might even have to pay more for that, or not even be allowed at all
Mine was the same as Kelly's. No customers in my home, no signs, all work must be done *in* the home and not in any outside buildings (shed, garage, etc.). I don't think I had to list which rooms would be used.
In my state, there are several different types of permits/ licenses... is it possible there are others in your state, and you applied for the wrong one? I would call them and speak to someone knowledgeable over the phone. Be sure they know you do not plan to sell out of your home, but only online and/ or at shows.
Yes, I did have to state that there were no person to person sales being conducted in my home. I was so bloody angry when the lady called me, before I got my letter of denial, to say they would deny because I use my kitchen for manufacturing. I said, well what if I sewed sweaters in my home office? She said, but you don't. Grrr! Is this what I get for trying to do the right thing?

Thanks Kelly & Sally! I know I'll find a loophole. I want to get L&I's definition of "manufacturing"... If I have to buy a hot plate I will, ha!
This is not state, it's my local township. I did try to call but only get the receptionist. She gave me the email of the director of L&I, but said he doesn't have an extension.
they're also often much more particular about kitchens due to the greater hazards involved -- for example, food licenses are often much more difficult to get than a regular business license. So, yes -- it would be different if you just made sweaters.

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