Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ban on Home Businesses in Lansdowne

Regarding this recent letter to the HOA members regarding home-based businesses in Lansdowne (northern Loudoun County), in which the HOA outlines their position in upholding a ban on "home-based businesses", vs. "home-based offices". While we don't necessarily know all the details and will accept criticism or correction from those who do, it simply reeks on the greasy surface of an HOA overstepping its bounds, or at the very least, not seeking enough collaborative business counsel. Here's our position:

Our line of business and relationships around the region extend to many, many "home" businesses, the vast majority operating almost completely online with very little on-street local traffic. These are hundreds, if not thousands of home businesses micro to macro, from real estate agents, to advertising bloggers, to family content networks, to affiliate "Southern Living" marketers and eBay in-home resellers. Home businesses in this area are multiplying quickly and nearly invisibly, in part due to increasing need by many residents to pull in extra income to counter rising mortgage rates and taxes. We do not agree that a "home business" can be defined from the "business" perspective by an HOA, which is typically neither trained nor chartered to evaluate business cases and operating plans. Issues with property styles, traffic, parking and right-of-way are the domain of the HOA; this is what should be the focus here. If a negative impact to the community within this domain is manifested and found to be caused by an HOA member, the problem lies with the HOA member - and not with a "business" of subjective definition and operating parameters. This HOA needs to regroup and rethink, and should probably request fair and open dialogue with the community's "underground" home business ecosystem.

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