by Rebecca Gaunt
The City of Kennesaw has updated its requirements to obtain a business permit in response to a modern and rapidly changing work landscape.
Council member Tracey Viars proposed the changes in June.
Since more people work from home than ever since the pandemic, and since Kennesaw has built a significant number of luxury apartments in the downtown area, she said she saw the need to put a provision in the business license application process for people who don’t own their own home.
Homeowners can sign an affidavit that they won’t require deliveries, require extra parking, or have clients in their homes, Viars explained. “If you live in an apartment, you don’t have that same luxury and your landlord is not going to sign off…”
Her request: can we come up with a digital or virtual footprint business license?
The old policy required a physical address and post office boxes were not eligible. And many people aren’t willing to pay rent on an office space just to operate legally.
“So what they’re doing is they’re flying under the radar,” Viars said.
She called the updated policy progressive at Monday’s meeting.
“We’re a university town. We’re an incubator city. We have startups and a lot of entrepreneurs. I called the other cities and nobody has this,” she said.
The city will offer two types of permits.
Type A home occupations are for virtual home offices. Employees, customers, and clients are prohibited from coming to the residence, nor is signage permitted.
Type B are businesses that require employees, customers, or subcontractors to come to the residence, such as tutoring or counseling. Type B also requires a special land use permit due to the greater potential impact to the surrounding area. There are also restrictions on the number of clients and visits per week.
In the initial draft, delivery personnel were prohibited from visiting Type A businesses. However, zoning administrator Darryl Simmons said the provision was struck because it raised too many legal questions since it would be very difficult to differentiate between personal deliveries and business deliveries.
If landlords or management companies explicitly forbid the operation of businesses in their leases, Simmons said the city will not grant a permit.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.