On Castles and Commerce: Zoning Law and the Home-Business Dilemma
54 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2005
Most zoning laws severely restrict residents' ability to work from home. Some prohibit it outright. These regulations serve the ostensible purpose of protecting neighbors from externalities that might be generated by home businesses. But, home occupation restrictions also reflect in a particularly sharp way the central motivating ideology underlying all zoning laws - namely, that the "good life" requires the careful segregation of work and home. Today, home business regulations are being challenged by both planning theory and economic reality. At the same time that many in the academy and planning professions are calling into question zoning's pervasive segregation of land uses, increasing numbers of Americans are choosing to work from home. Homeowners, however, continue to worry about the introduction of commercial activity into residential neighborhoods. This article examines how local governments might respond to zoning law's "home business dilemma."
Keywords: zoning, land use, home businesses, externalities, suburban
JEL Classification: D13, D62, H70, I38, K11, R14, R52
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