Nashville Metro Council Approves Bill To Loosen Restrictions On Home-Based Businesses

Metro Council voted Tuesday evening (July 7) to approve the Home Occupation Modernization bill (BL2019-48) in Nashville, an ordinance amending Section 17.16.250 of Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws relative to home occupation, which regulates people operating a small business from home. The council voted 25-14 to approve the bill, which was sponsored by Councilman Dave Rosenberg.

The ordinance allows home businesses in Davidson County to have customers visit their homes; previously, home-based businesses were legal, but were prohibited from even one client from entering the business. This has long affected many home-based recording studios in Nashville, which had technically been operating in violation of the law for several years.

“These regulations create a hardship on residents seeking additional income to survive in a city with a skyrocketing cost of living…and create a significant barrier for children seeking tutoring services, music lessons, and other enrichment,” the ordinance states.

The approval also comes as good news to those who wish to offer private musical instruction in their homes.

The bill does come with restrictions, including:

  • No more than one part-time or full-time employee not living within the dwelling may work at the home occupation location.
  • No more than five employees may reside within the dwelling at a home occupation location.
  • A maximum of six visits per day and no more than three trips per hour are allowed. Customer visits must occur by scheduled appointment and only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Home occupations that are allowed customer visits include personal instructors (training individuals or groups in academics, arts, fitness, personal defense, crafts and other subjects), general office (for the provision of executive, management, administrative or professional services, but not involving medical services), personal care services (including spa services, beauty and barber care), multimedia production (staging and recording of video or audio productions that occur indoors and do not require sound to leave the premises), and artisan manufacturing (the shared or individual use of hand tools, mechanical tools and electronic tools to manufacture finished products or parts as well as the incidental storage, sales, and distribution of such products within the limitations of this section).

Certain home occupations are not allowed under the bill, regardless of whether customer visits are allowed, including the manufacture or repair of automobiles and other transportation equipment, the repair of equipment that takes place outdoors and the outdoor storage of construction, scrap, or salvage materials.

A home occupation that does not serve customers on the property and does not employ anyone who does not live within the dwelling are not required to acquire a permit. Home businesses that do not meet those qualification need to provide the Codes Department with an affidavit verifying the applicant has confirmed that operating the home occupation will not violate any home owners association agreements or bylaws, condo agreements or restrictions, or any other agreement governing or limiting the use of the property for a home occupation. The permit applicant must be the owner of the property, a relative of the owner of the property, or, if renting, must have at least a one-year lease for the property.

A permit could be revoked after three complaints in a single year. If a permit is revoked, no home occupation permit can be issue to the applicant for the same property for a period of one year from the date the permit was revoked. The permit holder can appeal to the Zoning Administrator’s decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a public hearing.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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