An ordinance allowing temporary commercial use of residential property for home sale of arts and craft items has been approved by the Davis County Planning Commission and passed on to the County Commission for consideration.
Called the "boutique ordinance" by the planning staff, the new law will allow homeowners with sufficient off-street parking and other stipulations to hold sales for holidays and to sell arts and crafts.The ordinance is not designed to regulate garage or yard sales, county planner Tim Stephens told the commission.
It was drawn up at the request of Mutton Hollow resident Ed Swenson, who with his wife hosts a three-day boutique sale in the fall. The sale, with handmade items from more than 50 craftsmen on display, is held in their large barn and attracts several hundred buyers, Swenson said.
Swenson said he has adequate off-street parking and the sale is supported by his neighbors, with one submitting a petition with more than 100 names supporting the sale and ordinance change.
The planning staff initially opposed the change, recommending in September the request be denied on the grounds it could turn residential neighborhoods into temporary commercial areas, creating problems with parking, traffic and signs, leading to degradation of the neighborhoods.
But the planning commission decided the request is more an extension of the existing home occupation ordinance than a drastic change in philosophy and asked the planning staff to draw up an ordinance, based on research into similar laws in other states.
The new ordinance defines intermittent business as periodic retail sales, excluding garage and yard sales, and limits a property owner to three such events a year, none to run longer than three days each.
The ordinance allows display and sale of merchandise inside a building and requires adequate off-street parking, a business license, and the building to meet all fire, safety and health codes.
The sale must not cause any disruption to the neighborhood, such as noise or outside lights, and the business owner or manager must obtain a conditional use permit from the planning commission before holding it so the stipulations can be reviewed.
The commission decided the stipulations, especially for parking, will effectively prevent the sales from being held in most residential areas, limiting them to semi-rural sites such as the Swenson's property in Mutton Hollow.
"I see the ordinance as clear and easy to enforce," planning commission member Steve Beazer said. "The way it's worded, it simply won't work in a typical single-family residential setting.
"We have to be concerned with preserving the integrity of residential neighborhoods and this ordinance will do it," Beazer said.
The commission members also agreed that although the ordinance will be on the books, the rate of compliance will probably be low.
"Probably 90 percent of the people putting these sales on won't be aware of the ordinance and won't come in for a permit anyway," said commission member Mike Wardle. "But at least it's on the books and we have a way to deal with the requests that do come in."
Among some of the changes in wording and intent the commissioners made before passing the ordinance was dropping the word "boutique" from defining the sales as "boutique sales."
By defining the event as a temporary retail sale, the ordinance will stand up better under time, the commission agreed.
Although passed by the planning commission, the ordinance will have to be reviewed and approved by the Davis County Commission before taking effect.