RDEK changes home-based business regulations

Changes to rules for minor businesses in the home have moved ahead, but the board has discarded regulations for major home based businesses

New regulations for home based businesses in the regional district were given third reading by the board on Friday, November 1.

But regulations that would permit spot applications for major home based businesses in Area C around Cranbrook were scratched after negative public input.

“The ‘major’ has not gone over well. The City for good reasons is against it, the Chamber of Commerce is against it, and many of the residents aren’t ready for that yet,” said Board Chair and Area C Director Rob Gay Friday.

In the original regulations prepared by Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) staff, there were two categories of home based businesses.

Minor home based business – such as child care or a bed and breakfast – would be allowed throughout the region, but major home based business – a portable sawmill, woodworking business, trade contracting and metal working – would only be permitted in parts of electoral areas A (around Sparwood) and C (around Cranbrook). In Area C, major home based business would be approved on a site-by-site basis.

But after pushback against the major category from the City of Cranbrook and the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, the board decided to discard regulations for major home based businesses.

Instead, on Friday, the board gave third reading to the minor home based business regulations. They removed the term “minor” from the regulations to avoid confusion.

“I think we have greatly improved what we are calling the ‘minor’. We have refined things; it’s going to be easier to manage that regulation,” said Gay.

About a dozen residents of Area C with home based businesses attended a public hearing on the regulations last month, with many saying they do not support the changes.

The regulations will be sent to the B.C. government for feedback, before the board considers adoption.