Crestwood addresses home-based businesses

State legislation restricts what cities can restrict

Crestwood addresses home-based businesses

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

An ordinance to bring Crestwood city code into compliance with state law in response to legislation passed last year was recommended for approval by the Crestwood Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 1.

The legislation, passed during the 2022 legislative session, took effect in August and is meant to protect home-based businesses by limiting the ways cities can regulate them. Cities can no longer require permits to conduct “no-impact” home-based businesses. A no-impact home-based business is typically defined as a home-based business where the total number of on-site employees and clients does not exceed the occupancy limit for the residential property and do not generate a substantial increase in traffic through the residential area.

Additionally, under state law, municipalities can no longer restrict mail order or telephone sales in home-based businesses, prohibit services by appointments, prohibit or require structural modifications to the home, restrict the hour of operations or restrict the storage of equipment as long as it does not “produce effects outside the home.”

Municipalities can still require that a business not “change the residential character of the residential building or adversely affect the character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

The ordinance recommended by the planning commission amends the city code, which currently requires home-based businesses to be permitted and licensed. However, while a permit may no longer be required to simply operate a home-based business, the necessary license and license tax is still required if the business is one that, if operated elsewhere in the city, would be subject to licensing and tax.

Commissioner Robert Sweeney expressed his frustration with the state law, pointing out that with the new lack of restrictions something like an “outdoor naked massage parlor” would have to be allowed in the city, as long as a fence was up around the property.

“Not that this is necessarily a bad thing for everyone … but if your neighbor has a two-story home, they get to witness the naked outdoor massage because it is not visible from the street,” Sweeney said. “This (legislation) is an example of what happens when we elect incompetent people to be our state legislators. Some local government somewhere offended someone’s friend who wanted to operate a home-based business and the entire state of Missouri has been subjected to this piece of legislation. It is sophomoric at best … another example of the state legislature’s disdain for local government. Anything they can take away from us they will.”

Despite the frustrations of the commissioners, the panel voted unanimously to recommend the changes to the Board of Aldermen since there was little choice other than being out of compliance with state law.

Crestwood is not the only city that has had to amend its code — Green Park amended its city code related to home-based businesses in September so its code would reflect the new state statute.