Doug Van EttenYOUR JOURNEY HOMEGrand Junction Free Press Real Estate Columnist

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February 9, 2012
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Local Real Estate Q&A

Q: I am in the process of starting a small business that I will operate at home until it gets rolling and can afford more formal office space. Can I just "hang my shingle" at home and start work?*****************A: Great question and one that not many people ask, according to Christy Barton in the Mesa County Planning Department.Barton directed me to the county "Use Regulations" to learn details. If you want to go the county website and drill down to those same regulations you'll find all the details under "Home Occupations" in Chapter 5.3.6 I'll layout a few highlights for you from the regulations. Right off the bat, I was surprised to find that what business a homeowner can conduct in their home is not spelled out as specific occupations: lawyer, hair dresser, seamstress, etc. After talking with Barton, she made it clear that the regulation is written to "let criteria be met" rather than outlining a list of allowed occupations that may change over time, or differ by location within the county.Quoting the regulation, "The home occupation regulations of this section are intended to permit residents to engage in home occupations, while ensuring that home occupations will not be a detriment to the character and livability of the surrounding area." Since you did not mention what kind of business you want to conduct at home, let me have you read the regulations for the "can do's." I will mention the few that are specifically prohibited or allowed only as a limited use, those being vehicle and large equipment repair, animal care and boarding facilities in the "Urban Zone"; and, industrial uses. At that, industrial uses may be allowed through the process of applying for a conditional-use permit.In general, after reading the regulation and talking with County Planning staff, I will say, the amount of government regulation is pretty minimal and permissive, while not allowing home occupations to devalue neighborhood appearances or property values.----------------------Doug Van Etten is an associate broker at Keller Williams Colorado West Realty. He has been helping families buy and sell their homes since the early 1990s.

The brand-new Real Estate Investors Network of Western Colorado is set to hold its second meeting 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Masonic Center, 2400 Consistory Court.This month's guest speaker will be Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown, who will talk about the local foreclosure history from 2011 and what he foresees or anticipates as we move into 2012. Public participation in the foreclosure process, a step-by-step overview of the foreclosure cycle, and details of the auction process will be other highlights of Brown's presentation. From Unifirst Mortgage, Chris Walter, will spend 15 minutes providing a brief introduction to reverse mortgages, and Doug Van Etten, a local real estate broker, will provide a brief update on the real estate market.Those new and/or experienced in real estate investing are welcome to attend.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 9, 2012 08:47PM Published Feb 9, 2012 08:46PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.