Should Everett’s in-home businesses be given more latitude?

Under a proposal, businesses in residences could conduct in-home sales and hire up to two employees.

EVERETT — Allowing home-based businesses greater latitude — including the ability to conduct in-home sales and employ up to two people — would spur business creation and add to the city’s coffers, according to a proposal before the Everett City Council.

The proposal is endorsed by the city’s planning department and would amend zoning codes that regulate home occupations in the city. The revisions are needed to better reflect the shift toward work-from-home and home-based ventures, city officials say.

“Home occupations are a real part of our economy,” Everett’s economic development director, Dan Eernissee, told the council during last week’s remote meeting. But council members, who will get a second look at the measure on Wednesday, are concerned that those changes could add to the city’s traffic and parking woes.

The new proposal would “modestly” increase opportunities for home occupations to launch, welcome customers and pay taxes, while setting “clear limitations,” planning department officials said.

No more than two customers would be allowed in an in-home business at one time. Signs would be prohibited. Business hours would be confined to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

The planning department looked at how other cities accommodate home-based businesses and then worked closely with the city’s code enforcement team to draft changes, Eernissee said.

Benefits to the city include the formation of new businesses, local job creation and increased revenue from business licenses and applicable taxes. Benefits to residents include greater access to local goods and services, Eernissee said.

Among other changes, the proposal would lift an existing ban on in-home barber and beauty shops and client-based businesses such as in-home real estate offices.

In-home businesses would be allowed to serve up to 10 clients per day and conduct on-site retail sales — currently not allowed.

The proposal would allow home-based businesses to employ two employees who don’t live there. Now they are required to move into a commercial space when they hire their first employee, Eernissee said.

The shift would give proprietors the ability to “fine-tune” their ventures before having to move into a commercial space, Eernissee said, allowing “a more gradual ramp up to growth.”

The measure specifically bans commercial wedding and event venues, veterinary clinics, auto sales and services, adult businesses and the sale of firearms and ammunition.

The last item — a ban on home-based firearm sales— may not be legal.

If in-home retail sales are allowed, in-home retail gun sales may also be allowed under state law, a city attorney pointed out.

The prospect of home-based gun sales did not sit well with council members.

City Council President Brenda Stonecipher said it would be better to strike the retail sales clause if it means allowing firearm sales.

“I’m not sure the inclusion of retail sales is worth the requirement … to allow gun sales in a residential zone,” Stonecipher said.

Council member Paul Roberts said, “The broader question is whether or not retail sales is something we want to allow in residential zones.”

Other council members, including Scott Murphy, said they might support “incidental sales” such hair products by a home-based stylist or barber.

During the public comment period, Greg Lineberry, who is running for council District 2, said he was approached last year by a hair stylist concerned about working in a busy salon during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She wanted to install a small work area in her home, but unfortunately municipal code prevented this type of home business,” Lineberry said.

The City Council will get a second look at the proposal Wednesday. A vote on the measure is expected Sept. 1.

To attend this week’s virtual meeting of the Everett City Council, go to everettwa.gov/citycouncil. To view the proposal in full, go to bit.ly/3D9QcuY.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Funko warehouse in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Funko to close Everett warehouses, shift work to Arizona

The company headquarters are currently in downtown Everett, but distribution will move to a Phoenix suburb.

FILE - In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted Thursday, Oct. 14,2021 by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines to add Boeing 737s to the Paine Field fleet

It’s a sign of the growing popularity of flying from Everett. So far, much smaller Embraer E175s have been the rule.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Mara Wiltshire, left, celebrates her first place finish in Mario Cart against her son Miles Jenkins, 7, as Calvin Jenkins, 5, looking on Friday evening at their home in Everett, Washington on January 7, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Child care’s heightened burden takes parents out of workforce

One Snohomish County mom said she couldn’t return to work “because I didn’t have child care and I wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

In this photo taken May 17, 2017, wine barrels are shown at a vineyard adjacent to the Walla Walla Vintners winery in Walla Walla, Wash. The remote southeastern Washington town of Walla Walla - which used to be best known for sweet onions and as home of the state penitentiary - has now reinvented itself into a center of premium wines and wine tourism. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)
More sustainable Washington wines are on the way

Labels will indicate grape growers met guidelines in 9 areas, including water, pest and labor practices.

A sign bearing the corporate logo hangs in the window of a Starbucks open only to take-away customers in this photograph taken Monday, April 26, 2021, in southeast Denver.  Starbucks is no longer requiring its U.S. workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy it announced earlier this month. The Seattle coffee giant says, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022,  it's responding to last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Starbucks nixes vaccine mandate after Supreme Court ruling

The move reverses a policy the coffee company announced earlier this month.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Regulators OK doubling of composting operation in Stanwood

Lenz Enterprises can now handle 150,000 tons a year. Residents worry odors will be a problem.

Christian Sayre
Everett bar owner arrested again on new sexual assault charges

Christian Sayre, longtime owner of The Anchor Pub, was charged Friday with 10 counts of felony sex offenses.

FILE - Bill Gates speaks during the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, London, Tuesday, Oct, 19, 2021. A small city in the top U.S. coal-mining state of Wyoming will be home to a Bill Gates-backed experimental nuclear power project near a coal-fired power plant that will soon close, officials announced Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Microsoft to review workplace harassment, including Bill Gates allegations

One engineer wrote in a letter that she had a sexual relationship with Gates over several years.

Most Read