Stephani Stephenson on sun 11 aug 02
You mention that you did get a business license at your current address.
In the process of getting that license you must have come across some
guidelines for your business activity at the address. Is the license for
a home based business? If so, those guidelines will tell you what is
allowed as far as activity, advertising, etc. Because your neighbors are
already 'tipped off' you will probably need to follow those guidelines
closely. But remember you are allowed what ever activities are
specified in the license, so don't let yourself be bullied out of that.
Under most homebased business guidelines,it doesn't mean you can never
have people visit. But in n a residential neighborhood it has to look
like normal residential traffic and yes, it usually means no sign
allowed. (For example, some towns do not allow UPS/ FEDEX pickups from
By the way what is the zoning in your neighborhood. Is it strictly
residential or mixed use?
If you really want to hang out a sign and open up your studio as a shop,
and the guidelines show that this is not possible at your current
address, you may need to find another location.
It is often much more difficult to change zoning on a current address
than it is to find an address already within a more appropriately zoned
area. Some areas will have mixed use. Also sometimes 'artists' and
'artists studios' are allowed in areas where 'retail' or 'manufacturing'
or 'industrial' are not... so learn about the zoning regs in your
particular town, then study the maps.
Also if you do search for a new location, try to find a specific
address that has had a similar prior use. sometimes, if the use changes
one bit, this open you up to having to qualify with all brand new
regs..fire , ADA, electrical, etc. if you do not change the use from the
prior resident, you may be grandfathered in...all these things vary
from community to community.
resort communities are often pretty difficult and strict with their
regulations. Activity is often geared toward residential OR retail
sales, with little room left for actual PRODUCTION of the darling or not
so darling things sold at the retail outlets and galleries. look around
in the community. do you find any other artist studio/shops? ask them
how they managed to do it. Again, check out the 'ARTIST" or 'ARTIST
STUDIO" category...sometimes there are exceptions for this.
I know some of you potters HATE to be called artists, but you'd do it
for zoning purposes wouldn't you? :)
Also be aware that ANYTIME you are providing activities for children
from your home or business you may fall into a very different and very
regulated activity which has to do with 1. schooling or ESPECIALLY 2)
daycare. This happened to a friend I know. Had been giving kids classes
for years at her business approved home.. some one dropped a dime on
her...she went through a long intensive process, finally DID get her
home approved for day care, just so she could have the kids classes.
Who knows, maybe this was the activity that disgruntled your neighbors?
Also in all fairness, when you are conducting business in a residential
neighborhood you MUST be aware of the effect on the neighbors. I think
Mel has said , long before you start bringing customers over, meet the
neighbors, give them some pots...
I have an uncle who lives in a resort town. He has lived there since
the 50s. now prices and rents are sky high and activity very
regulated. he loves to putter in the garage. He says every time he
start to hammer or saw, neighbors walk down the alley and peek in the
garage...everyone is so nervous that people might be trying to put in a
secret garage apartments or rentals !
anyway, do some research. It will help you decide which way to go.