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Home-Based Businesses

As we move further into the 21st century, the home computer changing the way business is conducted. Tele-commuters are now commonplace in Birmingham. Accordingly, the zoning ordinance has been updated to reflect this change in technology for the workplace of today.

The City of Birmingham allows home offices and occupations as an accessory use within a personal residence in the single family zoning district classifications of R-1A, R-1, R-2, and R-3. The regulations are designed to allow for limited home occupation functions, such as a home office. However, the ordinance is not designed to permit retail type businesses in residential neighborhoods. The following provisions from section 5.02 of the zoning ordinance apply:

  • No one other than the resident shall be employed in the conduct of the home occupation;
  • The occupation shall not require internal or external alterations or construction features on the dwelling unit, or external equipment or machinery, which is not customary in residential districts;
  • There shall be no exterior indication by sign or otherwise of the home occupation;
  • There shall be no noise, vibration, odor, or other nuisance as a result of the home occupation that is detectable beyond the confines of the dwelling. This restriction specifically applies to the transmission of noise, vibration, odor, or other nuisances through vertical or horizontal party walls;
  • The home occupation shall not generate traffic in a greater volume or consisting of larger vehicles than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood;
  • Any parking generated by the home occupation shall be met off the street and shall not be met in a required front yard;
  • The home occupation shall not include the direct sale of products off display shelves or racks;
  • No outdoor storage, including equipment, parts, or automobiles associated with the home occupation shall be permitted;
  • Home occupations may be conducted in a permitted accessory;
  • No more than 25 percent of the gross area of the building shall be used for the home occupation;
  • Times earlier than 8:00 am or later than 10:00 pm shall not be permitted.