[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 2190







By Senators KYRILLOS, SINGER and Scott



An Act concerning municipal land use and supplementing chapter 55D of Title 40 of the New Jersey Statutes.


    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


    1. This bill shall be known and may be cited as the "Home-Based Business Promotion Act.”


    2. The Legislature finds and declares:

    a. Corporate restructuring and the rise of telecommunications has led to an explosion of individuals working out of their homes. According to a national survey, as many as 40 million people work at least part time at home, with about 8,000 businesses of this nature starting daily;

    b. In New Jersey alone, 6,000 home-based businesses are started each month. Over the past decade, New Jersey gained over a quarter million new home-based, service-oriented businesses. Two-thirds of all home-based business owners have school aged children at home. Entrepreneurial owners have an average income of $69,900;

    c. Many of these businesses are operating in violation of outmoded local ordinances. Many zoning ordinances permit home-based businesses of recognized professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and accountants, but prohibit other for-profit businesses under certain circumstances;

    d. Most zoning ordinances enacted in the 1960s and 1970s were based on good intentions and focused on the protection of residential neighborhoods from the negative effects of industry; this occurred at a time when more than 75% of the working public then pursued occupations outside of the home;

    e. The changing economic structure and technological development have catalyzed the development of home-based businesses. According to the Partnership for Work at Home, over 90% of such businesses do not create the traffic, pollution, noise or safety problems of other industries. New approaches in zoning are needed to ensure that this very important segment of the economy, which may lay the groundwork for the expansion of companies which later grow to a "Fortune 100" or "Fortune 500" levels, and which generates many jobs and increased revenues to the State economy, is provided the opportunity for growth. Such growth cannot occur unless the Legislature ensures that municipalities will not overregulate or place burdensome obstacles in the way of home-based businesses.

    f. The Legislature finds it timely and appropriate to work in partnership with local governments, individuals, organizations and the business community to promote a business-friendly environment for home-based businesses while protecting the safety and health of the citizens of communities across the State.

    g. This act is intended to establish State guidelines for municipalities to follow in their treatment of home-based businesses, in order to bolster business growth in the State and carefully balance the interests of home-based business owners with the needs of the residential area in which they operate.

    The Legislature further finds that these guidelines will prevent such businesses from being forced into high cost regulatory environments or being impeded in their formation by existing ordinances.


    3. As used in this act:

    “Home Based Business” means any activity performed for pecuniary gain in or directed from a dwelling unit by one or more residents of that dwelling unit which is located in a residential zone and which:

    a. is not inconsistent with the residential character of the dwelling unit;

    b. is subordinate to the use of the dwelling unit for residential purposes and requires no external modifications that detract from the residential appearance of the dwelling unit;

    c. uses no equipment or process that creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes odors, or electrical or electronic interference 1, including interference with radio or television reception1 detectable by neighbors;

    d. in the case of a dwelling unit which is part of a common interest ownership community, does not cause an increase in common expenses that can be attributable to a home-based business;

    e. does not involve use, storage, or disposal 1[or] of1 any grouping or classification of materials that the federal 1[secretary] Secretary1 of Transportation or the State or any local governing body designates as a hazardous material; 1[and]1

    f. does not present any appreciable 1[traffic or]1 safety 1or traffic1 concerns 1; and

    g. does not involve any activity which is illegal1.


    4. Home-based businesses shall be a permitted use in all residential districts of a municipality; provided, however, such businesses shall comply with any municipal ordinances pertaining to parking or use of signs in the residential district. No municipality shall impose fines or penalties for home-based businesses that are residential in character and will not pose significant traffic, trash, noise or safety problems 1,except as provided in section 6 of P.L. ,c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill)1.


    5. A home-based business shall be a permitted use in any condominium, cooperative or planned real estate development or any dwelling unit under the control of a horizontal property regime. Any deed 1or bylaw1 restriction that would prohibit the use of a single family dwelling unit as a home-based business shall not be enforceable unless that restriction is necessary for the preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the other residents in the neighborhood. The burden of proof shall be on the party seeking to enforce the deed 1or bylaw1 restriction to demonstrate, on a case-by-case basis, that the restriction is necessary for the preservation of the health, safety and welfare of the residents in the neighborhood who were meant to benefit from the restriction. 1Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the enforcement of master deed or bylaw provisions which pertain to restricted access to a community, such as in communities in which access is restricted by guard or gate.1


    1[6. A home-based business owner, may, at his or her discretion, convene a neighbor advisory council, the purpose of which shall be to communicate the nature of the business to the neighborhood and allow input from neighbors who are within 1000 feet of the home-based business or the property upon which it is located. The neighbor advisory council shall function as a mechanism to enhance a business owner’s relationship with neighbors in close proximity to the business and address any concerns that may arise concerning the conducting of such a business.]1


    16. In the event that a neighbor or other community member maintains that the operation of a particular home-based business is having a deleterious impact on the environment, the character of the neighborhood, congestion or the safety of the residents of the community, then those individuals may register a notice of their concerns with the municipal zoning or housing code enforcement official.

    A municipal zoning or housing code official may conduct an administrative hearing, within 30 days of the registering of the notice of concerns, to determine the validity of the concerns registered. If the official determines that a home-based business is having a deleterious impact on the environment, the character of the neighborhood, congestion or the safety of the residents of the community, or if any of the provisions of subsections a. through g. of section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill) are not being met, then the municipal official may deem such business to be in violation of P.L. , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill), and the permitted use status authorized under this act shall not be required. The official may provide an opportunity for a home-based business to comply with certain conditions in order to bring the business into compliance with the provisions of P.L. , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill). If the official determines that the home-based business is in compliance with the provisions of P.L. , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill), then he shall notify the individual or individuals who registered the notice of concerns of his determination.1


    7. a. A 1[municipality which] municipal zoning or code enforcement official who1 has imposed any fines or penalties which have not yet been collected 1[upon] as of the effective date of P.L.    , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill) from1 a homeowner maintaining a home-based business shall grant the homeowner 1[a] an administrative1 hearing to review the imposition of such fines and penalties.

    b. 1[The owner of a home-based business which is required to be a permitted use under this act shall have any fines and penalties previously assessed but not collected by the municipality negated] The municipal official conducting the hearing shall abate any such fines or penalties assessed against the owner of a home-based business if such business clearly meets the definition of home-based business pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) and thus is required to be a permitted use under this act1. 1[A municipality] The municipal official1 shall reduce, as appropriate, fines previously imposed for home-based businesses which substantially meet the definition of home-based business pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill.) 1The municipal official who substantially reduces or abates any fines or penalties pursuant to this subsection shall notify the municipal court, if necessary, to reflect any change to a claim which the municipality may have filed with the court.1

    1[A neighbor advisory council which has been formed pursuant to section 6 of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) may be requested by a homeowner to assist in the appeal of such fines or penalties, and any testimony from an advisory council shall be given considerable weight by the municipal offical conducting the hearing.]1


    8. This act shall take effect 1[immediately] on the first day of the sixth month following enactment1 .





"Home-Based Business Promotion Act;” requires that home-based businesses be a permitted municipal land use.