(June 24) The town of Yucca Valley this week took a major stride toward the liberalization of its land use policy, with the planning commission making a recommendation that the city council alter its development code to allow greater latitude with regard to the type and nature of home-based businesses that can locate in the town’s residential zones.
Challenges made by some city residents of businesses run out of single family residences in several of the town’s neighborhoods, including at least one that involved a lawsuit, resulted in the town revisiting the issue of home occupation permit regulations earlier this year. In some of those cases, complainants referenced violations of the town code that had been ongoing for several years.
The operators of those businesses and their supporters, including nearby residents who signed letters or petitions saying they had no objection to industrial or quasi-industrial uses in the midst of their residential neighborhoods, petitioned city officials to amend the town code, in particular Development Code Section 84 with regard to home-based businesses.
There has been some degree of back-and-forth between two differing factions in town – those advocating strict enforcement of the town code to prevent commercial or manufacturing operations in residential areas and others maintaining that commercial and light industrial activities should be deemed acceptable within the town’s rural neighborhoods.
The planning commission on June 24 made a non-binding recommendation that the city council adopt the newly drafted ordinance, which would repeal Development Code Section 84.0615 of the Town Code and amend Title 9 by adding a section and a chapter to the Yucca Valley Development Code.
The ordinance changes the language in the code from a reference to home-based business to home occupation operations. It contains language which states that such activities should “not alter the character of any residential neighborhood, or create impacts or activities that are not typically and commonly associated with residential neighborhoods. It is the intent of this section to allow for commercial uses that are accessory and incidental to the primary purpose of residential zones homes, which is that of providing a habitable dwelling for the owner or occupant as the primary use of the residential dwelling unit.”
The ordinance would yet prohibit home occupations that entailed “animal hospitals; automotive and other vehicle repair, upholstery painting or storage; junk yards; medical and dental offices, clinics and laboratories; mini-storage; storage of equipment, materials and other accessories to the construction trades; welding and machining; cabinet shop[s]; uses which may include the storage or use of explosives or high combustible or toxic materials; sales of ammunition; [and] massage establishments.” The ordinance also disallows sales of firearms in residential zoning districts other than those designated as Rural Living or Hillside Reserve.
Planning commission chairman Tim Humphreville lobbied his colleagues to allow the sale of firearms in all residential zones. That request was not endorsed by the full commission, however.
The ordinance identifies four classes of home occupation operations that are permitted.
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