Thursday, April 9, 2015

Downtown Frederick FAQ: Can I Have A Home-Based Business in Frederick?

Question: Can I Have A Home-Based Business in Frederick?

Answer:  The short answer is Yes, IF. If you apply, if your application is accepted, and if you meet the guidelines. Frederick City does allow home-based businesses as long at they meet the guidelines set out by the City Planning Department code.  The general information can be found on the City of Frederick website, Planning Department 301-600-1499. Two documents address this: DED Business Guidelines and City of Frederick Land Management Code, Article 8 Supplemental Uses, Section 829 “Home Occupations.”  There is an application process and there are restrictions. So before you set up your home-based business, check to be sure you meet the guidelines.

Gabrielle Collard who is the City's Manager of Current Planning, provided more details: "There are essentially two types of home based businesses —1) no impact home occupations and 2) conditional use home occupations.  No impact home occupations can be approved administratively through a zoning permit process but there are strict criteria that the business must adhere to and those listed in Section 829.  If the business does not meet these criteria it may qualify as a conditional use. Conditional uses require the approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.   The conditional use provisions allow a little more flexibility in terms of impact, however, the overarching principle that applies to home based businesses is that they should be as “invisible” as possible.   In other words, the use of the structure must be predominantly residential and the business very secondary.  There should really be no evidence that the home is being used for anything but residing (so no signs are permitted, visitors and employees are strictly limited, etc.)

The first step in the process is to complete a home occupation determination where we determine which of the two types of businesses are proposed.  If it’s a no impact- we provide a response letter and advise them to seek approval of a zoning permit and if it cannot be approved administratively, we provide further information on applying for the conditional use.  That application is online at"  For additional information or questions contact Gabrielle Collard by phone at 301-600-1883 or email