Today’s paper reports that a homeowner running a business in his basement was busted by the City. It’s illegal to run a business out of a home in a residential area without a permit issued by the Board of Adjustment. There are bazillions of unpermitted businesses operating illegally out of homes across the City. Pretty much every Amway rep, Avon lady, and independent consultant does it. These are mostly one-person shops that largely go unnoticed, mainly because there is no outside appearance of a business in a house.
But the so-called whiz kid that runs the tech shop that got busted couldn’t lay low under the radar, oh no, he got his company featured in Monday’s paper, giving reporters full access to his basement, where he and his thirteen employees ply their trade. Illegally. It was a dumb move and of course he got noticed. And busted.
The owner is unrepentant:
“We’re trying to build a business, we’ve brought in people from other cities and states to move to Raleigh to become paying citizens of the city to contribute to the economic growth …, and this is what happens.”
And At-Large City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin rushed in to his defense:
“Here we are trying to create an image of being business friendly, especially to technology companies – in my mind that is unacceptable.”
Is Councilor Baldwin saying to hell with laws that protect neighborhoods, we got bidnizz to conduct???
There’s a term for this. It’s SOBBY, a particularly offensive kind of NIMBY. Nimby – Not In My BackYard. Sobby – not in my backyard, but perfectly fine in Some Other Bastard’s BackYard.
One gal behind a ‘puter in her bonus room tapping out code for cash while the baby naps – benign. A dozen or more, and the first question is where are all those folks parking in the hood? Cause we’re talking North Raleigh subdivision here, not some condo tower on a bus line, ain’t nobody walking to work at this shop.
First, Baldwin establishes herself as a nimby. She lives in a condominium which expressly prevents business activity:
The building and each of the units shall be used for residential purposes only. The use of the building and units are further restricted by By-Laws of the Association.
Also, parking spaces in front of her crib are assigned, so no thirteen extra cars to crowd out her or her neighbors.
I’m actually down with most garden-variety Nimbys, it’s the Sobbys that grind on me. Baldwin finds it unacceptable to have businesses at her place of residence, but in her mind it’s unacceptable to restrict businesses in someone else’s hood.
But I’ve got words for Whiz Kid – the At-Large Sobby can throw her weight around City Hall to get the inspectors off your back, but you still need to move your shop out of your house and into a location that’s zoned for business use. Because like Baldwin, you folks in Lakepark subdivision are under restrictive covenants:
No lot shall be used except for single family residential purposes. No part of the said property shall be used for business, manufacturing, commercial or professional purposes… No business activity or trade of any kind whatsoever, which shall include but not be limited to the use of any residence as a doctor’s office or professional office of any kind, a fraternity house, a rooming house, a boarding house, an antique shop or gift shop, shall be carried on upon any lot.
The neighbors are wise to you, and they have every right to make you cease and desist, with or without the city inspector. Dude – you’re smart, you’re industrious, you’re gonna win in life. Now’s the time to grow up, mature from whiz kid to savvy business man.
Raleigh is one of the most business-friendly places on the orb. We don’t need to trample on the few laws that protect what are the largest and most important investments most families will make.
EARLY EVENING UPDATE: Problem solved. Here we are trying to create an image of being family friendly, especially to thoroughly modern families. In my mind, that is acceptable.