Home Occupations

A home occupation is any activity carried out for gain by a resident conducted as an accessory use in the resident's owner occupied dwelling unit.  A Home Occupation Permit must be obtained from the Zoning Administrator prior to the initiation of a home occupation.  The criteria for issuance of Home Occupation Permit are listed under Section 405 of the City of Madison Zoning Ordinance.

Home occupations may be permitted in any district where residential uses are allowed, subject to the following limitations:

  • The home occupation must be operated by the owner and occupant of the residence, not a renter or lessee. September 2011 Amendment
  • Any person desiring to initiate a home occupation shall apply for a permit from the Zoning Administrator.  If the proposed home occupation is acceptable, the Administrator shall have authority to issue under the provisions of this Section, the Zoning permit. 
  • Display and Storage:  No storage or display of materials, goods, supplies, or equipment related to the operation of a home operation shall be visible from the outside of any structure located on the premises.
  • Maximum Area:  Not more than twenty‑five percent (25%) of the floor area of a dwelling nor more than 400 square feet shall be used for the conduct of the home occupation.  The operation of a home occupation in an accessory building is prohibited.
  • Traffic and Parking Restrictions:  No traffic shall be generated by such home occupations in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood (as determined by the Zoning Administrator), and any need for parking generated by the conduct of such home occupations shall be met off the street and other than in a required yard.  Furthermore, an ample amount of such off‑street parking shall be provided as determined by the Zoning Administrator at the time of the application for a building permit or change of use permit.
  • Exterior Lighting:  There shall be no exterior lighting which would indicate that the dwelling is being utilized in whole or in part of any purpose other than residential.
  • Signs Relating to Home Occupations:  Signs associated with the operation of a home occupation are prohibited.
  • Non‑Resident Employees:  No non‑resident employee (i.e., a person not residing on the same premises with the operator) shall conduct business from the home occupation site. 
  • Other Provisions:  No equipment or process shall be used in a home occupation which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, or objectionable odors detectable to the normal senses outside of the dwelling unit in which the occupation is conducted.  No heavy trucks (tractor‑trailer combinations) shall be used in connection with a home occupation.  No equipment or process shall be used in any home occupation which creates visual or audible electrical interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises, or causes fluctuations in line voltage off the premises.