By: Cristina N. Hyde, J.D.
On October 21, 2020, the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee unanimously voted in favor of Assembly Bill No. 485, The “Home Based Jobs Creation Act.” In recognition of the increase in the number of individuals working from home, and the expectation that home-based businesses will continue to multiply, the Act would classify home businesses falling within certain prescribed criteria as accessory uses; eliminating the need for use variances in order to operate.
Supporters of the Act highlighted the fact that 7,000 family home businesses are started each month in New Jersey alone. It was also noted that this past decade has seen a growth of a quarter million new home-based, service oriented businesses in New Jersey; many of these entrepreneurs having school-aged children at home. A third of these individuals started their businesses after they were downsized from their jobs. It is realistic to assume that many others will follow suit as a result of the looming public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic which has, at the very least, demonstrated the viability and value of working from home.
Rather than continue to make things difficult for these families and have them operating pursuant to good-intentioned but outmoded ordinances that were enacted in the 1960s and 1970s, the Act seeks to provide a safe-haven for the temporarily unemployed so that they might provide for their own financial stability. The Act also recognizes the opportunity for economic growth that follows from supporting home-based businesses, while balancing these interests with the needs of the residential area in which the businesses operate.
While we cannot opine as to whether or not this bill will ultimately be signed into law, we will continue to monitor its progress as it makes its way through the New Jersey Legislature. Meanwhile, if you have any questions regarding your own home-based business and how this legislation might affect you, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.