Can you set up a home business in a Somerville house that's in an RB zone?

Asked by Jose Luis, Somerville, MA Fri Oct 26, 2012

The business would be run from a single room in the house, that will be used as my main residence. I can find no specific info on this topic online apart from not being allowed to open a store front in an RB zone, but that doesn't help me as I don't need a store front, just an address for my home business.

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Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Sat Oct 27, 2012
depends on the type of home business you are planning. All communities allow you to have home business and it usually spelled out in the town building by-laws what types are allowed. Under the Somerville by-laws this is what is allowed under a home buisness. Any other questions should be addressed with the towns zoning administrator and or your attorney.

"2.2.69. Home Occupation. An activity customarily carried on inside a dwelling unit, and conforming to the following requirements:


Only the residents of the dwelling unit shall conduct the home occupation.


The home occupation shall require only customary home equipment.


The use, including storage of materials or products, shall be carried on strictly within an enclosed building.


There shall be no exterior structural alterations that are not customary with residential buildings, excluding signs as provided for in Article 12


The production of offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust or other particulate matter, heat, humidity, glare, or other objectionable effects shall be prohibited.


The home occupation would not be expected to have more than one (1) visitor car at any given time.

A home occupation shall include, but is not limited to: the studio of a visual artist, craftsperson, musician or other performing artist, photographer, or writer; the teaching of not more than four (4) pupils simultaneously; work of a domestic nature, such as dressmaking, millinery, or preparing food for sale; and the office of an architect, landscape architect, engineer, attorney, sales representative, computer software developer, typist, or word processor where clients generally do not visit the premises to transact business.

Notwithstanding the above definition, the following uses shall not be considered a home occupation: auto or appliance repair; contractor's shop or storage; barber shops; beauty parlors; real estate or insurance offices; commercial stables or kennels; an office within a primary residence of a physician, dentist or other recognized medical profession; body art establishment."
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Thank you for your prompt reply, Louis! This would be a single-person consulting business involving only the rare client visit to the office/house; generally it would be me visiting the clients' locations and carrying out the research and report writing at the home office.

From the text you posted it would seem a consulting business is allowable, but I will check with the Somerville zoning administrator.

Thank you again!
Flag Sat Oct 27, 2012
Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Sat Oct 27, 2012
The answer can be found at town hall.
Tell them the type of business, and answer their other questions.
You may also be able to find the town code online.

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