Home Occupations

The Boston-Edison neighborhood is zoned R1 (Single Family Residential District). This zoning designation protects that quiet family atmosphere of the neighborhood by restricting what houses and property can be used for in the neighborhood. Generally, that prevents homes in Boston-Edison from being used for manufacturing or business purposes. However, setting aside a small area of your home as a home office – an example of what’s known as a “home occupation” – is specifically allowed by the zoning ordinances.

What is a “Home Occupation”?

A home occupation is defined as a business-related function within the home, where (a) the operator of the home occupation is a full-time resident in the home, (b) the home occupation uses less than 25 percent and less than 500 square feet of the total floor area of the home, and (c) the primary use of the home is for residential purposes, not the home occupation. In addition, home occupations have further restrictions:

  • Home occupations may not have “nonresident employees.” A nonresident employee is any person affiliated with the home occupation, who does not live in the home, but who visits as part of the home occupation.
  • Clients or customers may visit the home occupation, but not so many as to cause an increase in traffic near the home beyond the normal amounts of traffic by neighborhood residents and guests.
  • Signs or other evidence of the home occupation are not allowed.
  • No home occupation may operate in such a manner so as to create a nuisance to surrounding property (for example, nuisances stemming from traffic, parking, noise, or disturbance of the peace).

What is NOT a “Home Occupation”?

Although home occupations can generally be any type of business enterprise, some types of home uses are specifically prohibited, even as a home occupation. These include:

  • Sales of fireworks or firearms.
  • Offering sexually explicit materials or services.
  • Repair or assembly of any type of vehicle or small engine (including automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, outboard marine engines, lawn mowers, chain saws).
  • Any occupation requiring use or storage of hazardous materials.
  • Any type of “group living,” including nursing or rest homes, emergency shelters, fraternity or sorority houses, religious residential facility, or rooming houses.

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