Polk planning board recommends home occupations II/vacation rentals

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Polk County Board of Commissioners should soon be considering new uses for some zoning districts as its planning board has recommended home occupation class II and residential vacation uses.

During the planning board June meeting members unanimously approved an ordinance recommending the two uses for the districts of Multiple Use (MU), Agriculture Residential 5 (AR5) and Equestrian (E).

The recommended ordinance states that the county’s 20/20 vision plan says that it will be a policy of the county to give preference to clean industries/businesses including eco and agri-tourism and that the plan considers local entrepreneurship to be crucial to a stable local economy.

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If commissioners approve the new ordinance, the county’s zoning ordinance will be amended to change the current home occupation to customary home occupation, class I which is permitted in the E, REI, RE2, AR, R, MR, NC, HC, I, MU, FF and AR 5 zoning districts.

Customary Home Occupation, Class II would be permitted in the MU, AR5 and R districts and residential vacation rentals would be permitted with conditions in the MU, AR5 and R zoning districts. Customary Home Occupation, Class II would include uses conducted entirely within dwellings as permitted under customary home occupation, class I, and adds permitted uses that are conducted entirely within an accessory building no greater than 2,500 square feet.

Use restrictions as to mechanical equipment applicable to customary home occupation, class I would not apply to uses conducted entirely within an accessory building, according to the draft zoning ordinance. Permitted uses must be clearly incidental and secondary to the primary use of the parcel for residential purposes and should not change the character.

Outdoor displays are not permitted. Other restrictions include that the permitted use must be carried on by the occupants of the dwelling with no more than one non-resident employee. The draft residential vacation rental use is defined as the rental of any single-family dwelling, duplex, guest house, accessory/ garage apartment or mult-family or any portion thereof, for occupancy, dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposed for any period of time less than 90 days.

The term does not include other transient lodging such as hotels and motel and bed & breakfast establishments, which are otherwise authorized under the exception section. Exceptions include that incidental residential vacation rentals, defined to mean no more than two such rentals in any calendar year, where the total annual rental period for both rentals does not exceed two weeks, provided there were no advertisements that the unit was available.

The planning board is recommending the vacation rentals following the county’s approval of a new Equestrian zoning district at the White Oak development. The county will collect occupancy tax for the vacation rental properties. County commissioners have not yet scheduled a public hearing for the new ordinance.