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Examiner
  • City considers banning home kitchen businesses

  • People baking wedding cakes out of their homes in Independence may be in for a surprise.

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  • People baking wedding cakes out of their homes in Independence may be in for a surprise.
    Among a handful of changes proposed to take place in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance is one provision that would prohibit food-related home businesses, including cookie bakeries, catering and even restaurants. Following discussion at Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting, members voted to postpone voting on the change until a future meeting.
    Stuart Borders, a senior planner for the Community Development Department, said the proposed change was initiated by Community Development Department, with support from the Health Department. When the change is taken up again at a meeting in several months, a representative from the Health Department is expected to attend to address the amendment from that department’s viewpoint.
    “I don’t agree with that,” commission member Karen DeLuccie said. “Why would you prohibit that? I don’t understand that. I’m sorry, but I don’t.”
    To operate a catering business or do commercial cooking in a home, Borders said, residents would need to add a commercial kitchen, including a commercial stove and hood.
    “I know a lot of people who do wedding cakes,” DeLuccie said.
    “Well, I don’t know what to tell you about that,” Borders said, “but that’s what the Health Department wants – people who bake or do any sort of cooking as a commercial venture to have an approved facility. To my knowledge, they have not approved any – that I’m aware of – out of somebody’s home.”
    Commission member Jerry Kacheroski said he agreed with DeLuccie’s comments, adding that he has seen food sold by different organizations at events with a sign that states, “Food has not been prepared on these premises.”
    “I don’t think that we ought to put that in there and just prohibit it,” Kacheroski said of the amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance. “There’s got to be some latitude on it because I’ve seen it happen – in fact, our church does it.”
    Kacheroski said that many people start a catering business first out of their homes, building a clientele list, and then move into a storefront business. However, Borders said, these residents are supposed to use a commercial kitchen, obtaining a business license from the city and proper approval from the Health Department.
    Rather than do away with church bake sales, the amendment deals more with business licensing related to commercial operations from a home, Borders said. He referenced the kitchen incubator in the Independence Regional Ennovation Center, which provides rental space for commercial kitchen operations.
    DeLuccie said the amendment read as a “blanket prohibition” against restaurants, catering or food service operations and that staff should clarify what those consist of.
    Page 2 of 2 - “If a person wants to make a wedding cake and charge $150 and they do one a month, let them,” she said.
    Still, the Health Department would likely be against that, Borders said.
    “Then let’s fix the health code,” DeLuccie said. “I don’t think we need a blanket prohibition – I really don’t.
    “...I know too many people who start small and as they get business, that’s when they move into a commercial site. ... Just making an outright prohibition against all food service operations in-house is a bad idea, and I cannot support it.”
     
     

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