Trying to grow Maple Ridge businesses from home

Rules for home-based enterprises could be loosened

A city councillor is worried that plans to broaden the base of home-based businesses in Maple Ridge could chip away at the haul that the city makes in commercial property taxes.

“I think it’s going to shrink our commercial base,” said Coun. Bob Masse.

Council is currently reviewing the bylaw that regulates home-based businesses. A plan to overhaul those rules has received second reading and has been sent to public hearing for sometime in the new year.

“We’re allowing businesses throughout the entire single-family residential class,” said Masse, who has a chiropratic business in the downtown.

That will attract shops out of the downtown and commercial areas into the suburbs.

“To me it’s very significant. We’re trying to grow our commercial sector, where we get our actual tax revenue from … it undercuts that.”

Home businesses are allowed in most homes throughout Maple Ridge already, but the new bylaw just expands the range, size and variety of businesses that would be allowed to operate out of a residence.

But that will just encourage business owners to close their shops and operate out of their home.

“It’s going to mean higher residential property taxes because it’s going to mean less commercial tax revenue,” Masse said.

If the changes pass final reading next year, Maple Ridge will have some of the most liberal rules for home-based businesses, he added.

But Masse admits he’s the only one on council who feels that way.

Coun. Craig Speirs supported the changes, saying that encouraging home businesses will help new businesses get a foothold.

“For me, it’s about growing the sector, letting people bring their employment home and contributing to the local economy.”

Once established, those home-based businesses could then occupy their own premises.

The changes proposed call for creating four types of home-based business. Type 1 would encompass businesses operating out of condos and townhouses, while Types 2-4 would encompass businesses in single family lots, based on lot size.

Most homes currently are allowed to have home-based businesses, but under the proposals, most lots also would be allowed to have accessory buildings that can be used for the business.

As well, the types of businesses that would be allowed would be expanded as would the area of a residence that could be allocated for a home business.

There will be minimal changes, though, to businesses operating out of townhomes or condos. Those currently allow only one non-resident employee to work there, providing there’s enough parking. And only when that business is a tutor or educational type of business are people allowed to visit the premises, with a limit of six clients visiting per day.

However, the bylaw does propose to allow the area of the small business to expand from 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the premises, subject to a 50-sq.-metre maximum.

A staff report notes that strata councils can still ban home-based businesses from their complexes if they want.

Another proposal is that customers be allowed to visit home-based business, subject to daily maximum limits.

For example, only 10 clients a day would be able to visit a home in a Type 2 residence, which would be lots less than a third of an acre.

Removing any requirements for home businesses to provide on-site parking is also recommended.

Some of new terms in the proposed changes include personal services, which comprises beauty salons, hair dressing, dry cleaning, personal trainers, animal services and weight-loss clinics, while excluding overnight boarding of dogs, adult entertainment and pawn shops.

Some of the expressly prohibited uses under the bylaw amendments include manufacturing, musical training, daycares in certain zones, retail sales, as well as modifying the exterior of a house in a way that detracts from its residential purposes.

The recommendations come from the home-based business task force created last year by the city’s economic development committee.

Economic development manager Lino Siracusa said the issue has been reviewed a lot and the city wants to create an environment where home businesss grow and prosper while also being good neighbours. A third of all businesses in the city are already operated out of homes, he added.

“We don’t believe it will have a detrimental effect to the businesses in the town centre.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Maple Ridge wants to revamp rules on home-based businesses. (News files) Maple Ridge wants to revamp rules on home-based businesses. (News files) Maple Ridge wants to revamp rules on home-based businesses. (News files)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Readers invited to share wildlife photographs

Aim, snap, shoot, and share your pictures of wildlife in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to win!

LETTER: All Washington plate owners can’t be Canadian residents

A Maple Ridge man questions presence of U.S. vehicles in the Canada, despite closed borders

Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are moving on an upward trajectory

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

‘Protect our jobs,” say laid-off hotel workers to MLA Lisa Beare

Delegation delivered a petition to Maple Ridge MLA office on Friday

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read