Weather Forecast


Manhattan Beach approves updated home occupation permit application

The Manhattan Beach City Council approved a new permit application for home occupations in the city at its June 3 meeting, according to draft minutes.

The council also approved revised permit fees for home occupation and residential sewer in conjunction with the new application.

Those conducting business in the home are required to apply for a permit only if the home occupation falls outside of standards outlined in the applicable zoning ordinance. The new home occupation permit fee is $150, and the fee for residential sewer permit, which includes review and inspection, is also $150. The commercial sewer permit fee will remain at $265, and all other fees on the city's fee schedule will not be changed.

Without a permit, the current ordinance requires minimum performance standards be met. These standards address where business should be conducted, whether building alteration is permitted, the number of employees allowed, the use of mechanical equipment, allowed signage, display of material or goods associated with the occupation, the percent of living space allowed for occupation use, the number of vehicles with advertising allowed, whether retail sales are permitted and when a sewer inspection may be required.

In Manhattan Beach, city ordinance requires the occupation be conducted entirely from the principal structure, attached or detached garage. Any internal or external alteration "that would not otherwise be customary for the residential nature of the property" is not permitted. The ordinance allows no more than two employees who do not reside on the premises, and mechanical equipment "not typically found in the home" cannot be employed.

The ordinance does allow exterior signage, but the signage may not exceed four square feet and must be limited to the name, address and phone number of the home occupation. Lighting specific to the sign is not permitted. Goods, materials or equipment associated with the home occupation must be kept from public view, and at least 80 percent of the home must be dedicated to living space.

Retail sales are allowed, but only for products or services produced on the property. Two vehicles with advertising are permitted; however, they must not be parked in the public right-of-way.

To comply with state requirements that mandate septic inspection before issuance of building permits or variances and to determine whether a home occupation's septic system can absorb any increases in liquid waste, the city will conduct septic inspections with each new permit. Inspections are required after five years for a new system and every three years after that.

Home occupations are treated differently in surrounding cities. Fifty Lakes' ordinance is similar to Manhattan Beach's, with three major exceptions: no employees except those residing on the premises are allowed, signage cannot exceed two square feet and no retail sales of any kind are permitted from the residential property. Anything beyond the ordinance would require applying for a conditional use permit.

In Crosslake, the city does not allow any employees other than occupants of the property. Unlike Manhattan Beach, the ordinance doesn't cover signage, advertising, sales or construction. Anything beyond the basic standards is covered under a "home business" ordinance, which requires a conditional use permit.

Crosslake's home business ordinance notes that the planning commission can impose conditions related to hours of operation, parking and equipment storage, among other items. Signage requires a separate permit, but the city allows a much larger 12 square feet.

In Breezy Point, any new or substantially changed home occupation is considered an interim use, and all others are a conditional use. Just like Crosslake and Fifty Lakes, employees must be living on the premises. Breezy Point expressly limits employees to "family members," however. Retail sales are permitted, but only of products manufactured on-site. Signage is not allowed unless specified in the permit.

In other business in June, the Manhattan Beach council:

• Approved a liquor license renewal for Manhattan Beach Lodge contingent on receiving a signed application from the Crow Wing County inspector. Clerk/treasurer Barb Hanson Wannebo reported the lodge passed the background check and its application was being returned by mail from the county.

• Approved Mayor Paul Allen's request to seek an estimate to install a recording system in city hall.

• Heard from council member Clyde Brodt, who asked about the possibility of getting blacktop in the city hall's parking lot. Allen asked Brodt to seek further information and a bid for the July meeting.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

(218) 855-5874