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To start a business out of your home, the city requires the homeowner/business owner to submit a Home Occupation Permit. A home occupation is any activity carried out for gain by a resident as an accessory use in the resident’s owner-occupied dwelling.

The permit must be approved by the City’s Zoning Administrator before work can be conducted inside a residence. The criteria for issuance of Home Occupation Permit are listed under Section 405 of the City of Madison Zoning Ordinance. The home occupation permit is available at City Hall or can be downloaded below:

Home Occupation Permit

The following limits apply to home-based businesses:

  • The home business must be operated by the owner and occupant of the house, not by a renter or lessee. Only those living in the house shall conduct business on site.
  • No materials, supplies, or equipment related to the operation of the business shall be visible from the outside of any structure on the premises.
  • Not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the floor area nor more than 400 square feet shall be used for the operation of the business. The business can only be operated inside the house and not in an accessory building on the property.
  • No traffic shall be generated by the business in a greater volume than normal. Any parking related to the home business shall be off the street and not in the yard. An ample amount of off-street parking shall be provided as determined by the Zoning Administrator at the time of the application for a building permit or change by the Zoning change of use permit.
  • No exterior lighting that indicates the house is being used as a home-based business is allowed.
  • Signs associated with the operation of a home occupation are prohibited.
  • The business is prohibited from the use of equipment or processes that created noise, vibration, glare, fumes, or objectionable odors outside the house. No heavy trucks (tractor-trailer combinations) shall be used in connection with the home occupation. No equipment or process shall be used that creates visual or audible electrical interference in any radio or television receivers or causes fluctuations in line voltage of the premises.