City of Charleston reviewing rules for home businesses

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:06 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:43 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - If you run a home business or have ever visited a home business in the city of Charleston, and it wasn’t run from completely inside the house, it’s technically not allowed.

That’s according to the City of Charleston’s current Home Occupation ordinance.

Anna Faenza is a West Ashley resident and has run her business, Holy Mackerel Infant Aquatics, from her backyard swimming pool for months.

That was until she was told by the city she wasn’t allowed to run her swim lesson business from her backyard anymore because it wasn’t approved under the city’s Home Occupation ordinance.

“Right before Christmas, I received a letter from the City of Charleston saying that I needed to cease lessons because I wasn’t following the ordinance rules or regulations for a home occupation,” Faenza said.

Charleston City Planning Manager Christopher Morgan say the home occupation ordinance was set decades ago.

It defines a home occupation as a profession or trade that is customarily conducted within a dwelling by the resident.

“My pool is not inside my dwelling, it doesn’t fall under the category of being a home occupation,” Faenza said.

Faenza teaches swim lessons to children aged 6 months to 6 years old in her own swimming pool.

Morgan says the ordinance was originally designed to allow people to have home businesses as long as they do not impact surrounding neighbors.

“We were looking forward to doing, continuing to doing other classes, group lessons, and then also refresher courses. So it was upsetting to hear, especially with her being so close,” a client of Holy Mackerel Infant Aquatics, Marisa Lynch, said.

After Faenza went to the city about changing the home business rule to allow outdoor swim lessons, Morgan says they had 58 different written comments submitted in support.

“I was so humbled by my clients, all these parents, who were just like willing to bat for me,” Faenza said.

Morgan says the planning commission is working now to revise the rule so it will state that home businesses are allowed on the property, not in the dwelling.

He added that it will specifically say all activities must be conducted in completely enclosed buildings with the exception of swimming lessons.

Morgan says the ordinance will be presented at City Council for a reading on Feb. 22, and final reading would be in early March, which is when Faenza hopes to start giving swim lessons again.

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