King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Monday introduced a motion asking for a review and update of home occupation regulations in King County.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Monday introduced a motion asking for a review and update of home occupation regulations in King County. This legislation would make sure home occupation regulations contemplate recent changes in the work environment, including the rise of remote work, changing employee preferences and technological shifts.
In order to limit the negative impacts of commercial activity on surrounding neighborhoods, businesses that operate in homes in unincorporated King County are required to comply with various home occupation requirements. However, the pandemic ushered in a major economic shift where more people than ever are now working from their homes as home-based employees, workers in the gig economy, or one of almost a million new small businesses formed last year.
“During the pandemic, entire businesses started operating in residential neighborhoods in one way or another,” Dunn said. “Given this massive economic shift and the continued threat of a resurgence by the delta variant, it is time for King County to review the host of home occupation regulations so that they make sense within our current economic reality.”
Over one-third of households nationwide reported working from home more frequently than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the biggest companies in King County are shifting to a hybrid model of work, while other businesses are allowing full-time remote work. In addition, unlicensed home businesses have become more common as people have had to rapidly adapt to employment changes, making a code update necessary.
The review of King County home occupation regulations and code update would consider business uses that are permitted and prohibited; whether employer work from home policies require changes in the code; and whether standards related to number of employees, client and customer visits, and traffic impacts remain appropriate.
Dunn’s legislation will be referred to the Local Services Committee.