Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Planning Commission


July 10, 2008

Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator

Community Development 


A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Sections 6-302.1.D and 5-201.2 to Allow Outside Storage of a Trailer in Conjunction with a Home Occupation

Topic Description: 

Section 6-302.1.D requires that all activities related to a home occupation occur indoors, including no storage of equipment or materials outside of a fully enclosed structure.  The proposed amendment makes an exception to this exclusion, allowing trailers to be stored outside as part of an administratively approved Home Occupation. 


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.


Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Summary Staff Report: 

The existing standards for Home Occupations allow no outside storage to occur in conjunction with a Home Occupation.  Keeping a trailer outside would be considered outside storage of the trailer, and therefore it would not be allowed.  This limitation is more restrictive than the restriction residential uses have.  The following provision of the Zoning Ordinance governs storage of trailers for residential and rural uses: 

6-102.12          Parking of small cargo trailers and major recreational equipment in an R District including but not limited to boats, boat trailers, camping trailers, travel trailers, motorized dwellings, tent trailers, houseboats and horse vans, but subject to the following limitations:

A. Such equipment shall not be used for living, sleeping or other occupancy when parked, or stored on a residential lot or in any other location not approved for such use.

B. Such equipment six (6) feet or more in average height, not parked or stored in a garage, carport or other structure:

(1)  Shall not be located in any required front or side yard.

(2)  Shall be located at least three (3) feet from all buildings.

Zoning routinely receives applications for home occupations where a trailer is utilized in the business and that trailer is stored outside.  In some cases items related to the business are also stored within the trailer and in other cases it is only the trailer that is stored.   Based on the existing limitation in the Zoning Ordinance for Home Occupations, the trailer is only authorized in cases where the owner indicates it can be stored within a structure or off-site.  When stored in a structure, a portion of the 500 square foot maximum space for Home Occupations is allocated to the trailer.    

Applicants have routinely objected to this limitation, noting in many cases that they had the trailer before they utilized it for the business, that it was then allowed and that many of their neighbors have similar trailers for personal use. Staff agrees and is concerned that the existing provision is unnecessarily restrictive for a home occupation, disallowing something that is not unusual for other residents in an area and counter to the County’s business-friendly policies.  This proposed text amendment seeks to allow any trailer that is allowed for residential use under the above provision to also be utilized for a business as a Minor Home Occupation, which is approved administratively, provided:

1.         The trailer is stored according to the rules for residential trailers,

2.         Equipment and materials are not stored in the trailer unless it is fully enclosed,

3.         The area of the trailer is counted toward the 500 square footage accessory building limitations for Home Occupations; and

4.         No commercial signage, logo, etc. is located on the trailer.

The Planning Commission initiated the proposed text amendment on February 28, 2008.  After a public hearing on March 27, 2008, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed text amendment.

The Board of Supervisors held an initial public hearing on the item on May 8, 2008.   The following additional information is provided to respond to Board of Supervisors’ concerns raised during that initial meeting.

Types and Size of Trailers

Concerns were raised about the types of trailers that would be allowed, and their size, with particular concern on large cargo containers or trailers typically found on tractor-trailers.    As currently drafted, the amendment allows only those trailers now allowed in residential districts under the accessory use provisions of Section 6-102.12.  That provision allows only small cargo trailers and recreational vehicles for residential uses.  The proposed text amendment would not allow anything more or larger than what is already authorized by that section.  It has been the consistent interpretation of the Zoning Administrator that transport containers or tractor-trailer type trailers are not authorized under that section and they would not, therefore, be allowed.   In addition, the size of the space utilized by a Home Occupation is limited to 500 square feet, or 25 percent of the total square footage of the dwelling.  The proposed amendment specifically states that any trailer stored outdoors must be counted as part of this size allocation, providing additional limitations that do not exist for trailers allowed for residential use.  

Need for Screening if Equipment is to be Stored Outside on Open Trailers

The language of the proposed text amendment does not allow equipment to be stored outside on an open trailer in conjunction with a home occupation.  Equipment must be stored indoors, or the trailer parked indoors if it is open and equipment will be left stored on it.  This prohibition against storing equipment outdoors was maintained with the proposed amendment because a fundamental limitation for all Home Occupations is that no activity or storage occur outdoors.

Commercial Advertising on Trailers

The language of the amendment only allows a trailer to be stored outside, consistent with the residential regulations, provided it displays no commercial signage or logo.  To allow otherwise would effectively allow for commercial signage on residential lots, in conflict with other provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.  A trailer with commercial signage or logo on it could only be utilized in the business and stored on the property if it was stored inside.

At the June 12, 2008 meeting, the Board deferred action on this item, with several Supervisors agreeing to work on refinements to address several issues, including the number of trailers and advertising on trailers.  Staff has received no proposed changes to date.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Economic Development

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