Seattle City Council passes bill bolstering support for home-based businesses

Councilmember Dan Strauss(District 6- Northwest Seattle) Chair of the Land Use Committee, celebrates the passage of CB 120520, colloquially known as the “Bringing Business Home” bill, by the full council. This bill introduces permanent regulations for home-based businesses, building upon interim measures that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. These temporary measures were introduced to give businesses the flexibility they needed to continue to operate while adhering to safety regulations.  

“We know many of the most successful businesses in our country were born out of garages. My Bringing Business Home bill makes it easier for everyday people to incubate their business ideas – turning their dreams into reality – by providing flexibility from strict home occupancy regulations. We tested these changes over two years to identify unintended consequences and found overwhelming support for this bill from Seattleites,” said Councilmember Strauss. “We need to support our entrepreneurs, providing them the flexibility to successfully operate out of their garage and springboarding them into brick-and-mortar store fronts. This bill does just that.”  

The pandemic changed the landscape of how workers and businesses operate, and many people are still working and operating their businesses from their homes. Any and all businesses operating out of their homes continue to be regulated by the departments that oversee their line of business.  

This recently passed legislation makes the temporary development controls for home-based businesses permanent, while also introducing changes to the regulations governing home-based businesses that are outlined in Seattle Municipal Code Section 23.42.050. including:  

  • Elimination of the requirement for customer visits to be by appointment only. 
  • Updated signage regulations, allowing for interior and exterior alterations that meet development standards.  
  • Permission for home-based businesses to operate in outdoor areas while adhering to noise, odor, dust, and light guidelines. 
  • Eliminating the restriction for only two non-resident employees. 
  • Allowances for increased on-street parking, except for automotive sales and services. 
  • Clarification on parking requirements. 
  • An increase in the number of vehicles allowed onsite at a home-based business. Previously the limit was two, it has been increased to three.  
  • Eliminating the restriction on the number of daily deliveries to a home-based business.