Home Occupations

In Roanoke, many types of businesses operate from homes in residential districts.  There are standards to ensure the surrounding neighborhood is protected. To qualify, the business needs to meet certain standards as listed below. If your home business can meet these standards, get started on the application process.

General standards

  • The home occupation shall be conducted entirely within the interior of the principal residential structure or within an accessory structure located on the same lot.
  • There shall be no change in the outside residential appearance of any structure for the purpose of the establishment of the home occupation.
  • There shall be no addition of parking spaces to accommodate the home occupation.
  • Home occupations shall not occupy more than a cumulative total of two hundred fifty (250) square feet of the finished floor area of any dwelling unit or accessory structure in which the home occupations are located.
  • There shall be no outdoor storage of goods, products, equipment, or other materials associated with the home occupation.
  • There shall be no display of goods, merchandise, or products visible from the street or any adjoining property.
  • No equipment or processes not normally associated with a dwelling unit or which cannot be accommodated on existing utility or standard electrical services shall be permitted.
  • No commercial motor vehicle shall be used, parked, or stored on the site in connection with the home occupation.
  • Mechanized equipment shall be used only in a completely enclosed building.
  • No equipment or process which generates dust, odors, noise, vibration, or electrical interference or fluctuation that is detectable beyond the property line or through common walls shall be used in a home occupation.
  • Deliveries related to a home occupation shall be limited to the United States Postal Service, parcel delivery services, and messenger services. The home occupation or personal service home occupation shall not involve the commercial delivery by tractor trailer of materials or products to or from the premises.
  • A home occupation shall comply with all local, state, or federal regulations pertinent to the activity pursued, and the requirements of or authorization granted by this chapter shall not be construed as an exemption from such regulations.
  • No sign may be placed on the property advertising the home occupation.

Non Personal Service Home Occupations

No more than a total of one person other than family members residing on the premises shall be engaged in or employed by such home occupations, regardless of the number of home occupations associated with the dwelling unit; and
No customer or client shall travel to the dwelling in connection with the home occupation.

Specific standards for personal service home occupations.

A personal service home occupation generally provides services to an individual client related to the care of a person, a person's apparel, or the training and development of a person, including, but not limited to beauty or barber shops, nail salons, dressmakers or tailors, music or art lessons, photography or portrait painting, and tutoring, but not including medical services, tattoo parlors, or body piercing establishments.

Personal service home occupations shall be permitted as accessory uses as set forth in the Use Tables in Article 3 of this chapter subject to the general standards for all home occupations set forth in subsection (d), above, and the following additional standards:

  • No persons other than family members residing on the premises shall be engaged in or employed by such personal service home occupation.
  • Not more than one separate entrance or exit to the residence or accessory structure solely for the purpose of the personal service home occupation shall be permitted. The creation of any such separate entrance shall not be permitted on the front façade of the residential dwelling.

Specific standards for certain types of home occupations.

  • Landscaping or lawn services may operate as a home occupation if the home occupation is used only for office functions.
  • Repair and service on motor vehicles, appliances, or similar goods, may operate as a home occupation, if the home occupation is used only for office functions.

Prohibited home occupations.

The following uses shall be specifically excluded as home occupations or personal service home occupations:
  • machine shop
  • welding shop
  • escort service
  • furniture refinishing or upholstery
  • sign making
  • special trade contractors who are engaged in metalworking or cabinetmaking.