Glenwood Springs updating home occupation code |

Glenwood Springs updating home occupation code

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The city of Glenwood Springs Community Development Department is currently working to bring the city’s home occupation requirements up to speed.

Changes to the current code would more clearly define what is permissible and what is restricted in a residential zoned district.

The city’s home occupation requirements have not been updated for 23 years, according to a City Council Report from city planner A’Lissa Gerum. Since 1987, there have been dramatic changes in personal computing and communications, which have allowed a growing population to work from home.

The existing requirements allow “minor” home-based businesses to operate in a residential zoned district as long as adverse impacts on neighborhoods can be avoided. However, the current code is vague and open to interpretation.

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“Some interpretations could put a large number of those people in violation of the city’s current code,” Gerum wrote in the report.

The report pointed out that the current city code is vague in its definition and technically would even require a person taking work home to obtain a minor home occupation permit from the city. Gerum explained that the current process could also take up to two months, which currently discourages people from complying with the regulations.

Gerum told council on March 18, that the planning department has only recorded about three instances in the past seven years of people who have actually gone through the process.

Proposed changes to the code would eliminate a proposed restriction on delivery hours, would limit the number of visitors or clients to six per day, and would limit the hours of operation from between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Restrictions would also limit the number of “work vehicles” to one that any residence would be allowed to park at the home. Trailers and heavy equipment would still be prohibited.

The planning and zoning commission recommended that the city post the home occupation requirements on the city’s website, making them more easily accessible to prospective residents who want to open a home office or business.

Public meetings were held late last year, and the changes have already been approved by the planning and zoning commission. They were presented to City Council on March 18, but council asked staff to address a few issues and return with an updated draft for approval at a later meeting.

The commission concluded that the changes were consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and support a diverse local economy and diverse neighborhoods while also reducing impacts on the environment by reducing vehicle trips, and is also an efficient use of limited land in the valley.

The planning department also compiled a list of businesses prohibited from operating in a home setting, including veterinary clinics and kennels, medical clinics, restaurants, clubs and drinking establishments, adult entertainment establishments, and “Growth, storage, or sale of medical marijuana,” to name a few.

Councilor Russ Arensman had an issue with that language specifically regarding the medical marijuana thing, asking if this update was a backdoor way of the city dealing with the medical marijuana establishments.

“It certainly wasn’t intended like that,” Gerum said. She added that the commission thought that medical marijuana establishments should be addressed because the topic kept coming up in conversations.

“Houses are specifically not wired for any kind of grow operation, being tomatoes or medical marijuana,” she said.

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