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Your home business and zoning requirements

Running your own business has probably been a lifelong dream. It is for many people. Being your own boss, setting your own hours, and working strictly on your terms may only be a step away now that you have everything in place. But, if you are planning on operating out of your home, there could still be a few hurdles that you have to jump over.

In the Cocoa area, as with many other places, there are zoning laws that might affect your plans to run a home-based business. This is why it is vital that you investigate the zoning requirements in your area.

Take a fieldtrip to the zoning office

If you have questions about the zoning in your area, the best place to start is with a call or trip to the local zoning office to learn about ordinances that might apply to your home. Making it an information gathering task instead of an information divulging one. When it comes to finding out what you can and cannot use your home for, it is best to start at the bottom and work your way up. For example, if you are renting your home, start with the lease and look for any restrictions that could limit your business activities.

Request special consideration

If you own your home and homeowners' association bylaws restrict you from running a home business, you can request a "special exception" hearing. If your business does not involve seeing clients in your home or there is no outward indications, such as signs, that indicate your home is the location of a business, you might receive approval.

If it is a city or county ordinance that is an issue, you might be able to apply for a variance. However, this process can be extremely costly and denials are more common than approval. In addition, if you do receive a variance, your property might be subject to the same requirements that commercial property owners face. This means you might have the occasional fire inspection to make sure your home meets commercial codes for fire safety or that you have to meet other commercial property regulations.

If you plan to open a home business, it is important that your first find out what the zoning requirements are in your area. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be better to search for a commercial space rather than attempting to operate out of your home.

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