SM Home Business Codes to Be Updated

A recent issue regarding a home-based business in San Marino prompted the City Council to explore revamping and modernizing the city’s licensing codes for the sake of closing potential loopholes and preserving the city’s vibe.
Under City Council direction, city staff will prepare amendments for the city’s current codes and then present them to the Planning Commission for discussion and changes. City staff was made aware of the need to do so after residents on Oak Knoll Avenue complained about a home-occupied surrogacy center that had created signage for the business, had employees on site who don’t live there and was apparently resulting in many vehicles being left parked on the street for hours at a time.
“This is not drawn to cover this specific situation,” Mayor Steve Talt said. “This is drawn to cover a loophole. They have been provided notice to comply with the existing code. If they fail to comply, then we can take the necessary steps to revoke their permit.”
Proposed amendments to the current code include provisions limiting the size of a home occupation, prohibiting manufacturing of product at these businesses (except for what falls within the state’s “Cottage Food” laws) and prohibiting clients from visiting the locations unless the business includes tutoring or educational elements, among others.
Councilwoman Susan Jakubowski said she wanted to broaden a provision prohibiting special events that promoted the business and Councilwoman Gretchen Shepherd Romey said she believed the measure banning “assistants” on site was too vague.
“We don’t say ‘employees,’” Shepherd Romey said. “We don’t say ‘staff.’ We don’t say ‘contractor.’ Saying ‘assistants’ doesn’t do anything for what we’re trying to do here.”
In other business, the City Council also voted to direct city staff to research any potential amendments to the 2014 general housing element, which is an agreement with the state that allows the development of a certain number of affordable housing options.
The City Council also heard a presentation from Fire Chief Mario Rueda on the evaluation and recommendations from San Marino Fire Department’s deployment study.

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