Home Occupation / Home Business
A home occupation / home business is allowed to be operated from a residential dwelling or an accessory building by a resident of the dwelling. A home occupation is permitted in a dwelling located in any Residential District or the Limited Business District. Under s. 5.1.5 ~ Home Occupation of the Bedford Zoning Bylaws conditions are imposed so that the home occupation does not change the residential character of the neighborhood, and that the use of the dwelling for the home occupation is incidental to its primary use as a residence. Also, when following the criteria within s.5.1.5, these types of businesses are allowed as-of-right in a dwelling as long as no employees and no clients come to the premises.
If a home owner wishes to have a home occupation/home business with not more than one full-time employee or his/her equivalent (exclusive of other residents of the dwelling) and/or wishes to have clients come to the premises then they may seek approval through the Zoning Board of Appeals process for a Special Permit. Through this process, the Board may allow the home owner to conduct such a business from their dwelling. In many cases, conditions are attached to the Special Permit to control things such as hours of operation, parking, number of clients allowed at the premises at any one time, etc. These conditions must be strictly adhered to or the Special Permit may be revoked by the Board.
The intent of providing limited zoning authorization for home occupations is to allow for the growth and development of small businesses. Homeowners with home occupations should be aware that when the scale and intensity of their business activity expands to such a level that the business no longer meets the regulations or the Special Permit conditions and/or starts to negatively impact the residential character of the neighborhood, they need to find a commercial site.
Home owners of home occupations/home businesses that do not go through the Zoning Board process are required to fill out and sign a Home Occupation/Home Business Form and submit it to the Code Enforcement Office so that it can be placed in your property address file. This one page form outlines your home occupation and ensures compliance with s.5.1.5. In most cases, businesses must be registered for tax purposes with the Town Clerk's Office; in such cases a copy of the form is given to the Town Clerk for their records.