Two College Students Struggle Getting Permit to Sell from Garden

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG -- Two college students are still trying to get a permit to sell produce from their house on Collicello Street, but they need to work through a few problems first.

Daniel Warren just wants to sell the vegetables he's been growing in his garden.

"We're operating on a tenth of an acre. With that amount of land we can grow a lot, a lot more that people think we can grow," said Warren.

To get a business license you need an address. Even though he's renting, Warren's landlord is all for it.

"He's ok with it. We're not breaking any rules, except for the city's rules."

The home occupation permit is the main issue Warren needs to solve. The issue is the business needs to be inside the house and Warren's garden is outside.

"You couldn't run the business. Now, of course they can grow fruits and vegetables like anybody can in the city, but it was all about operating the business from their site," said Adam Fletcher, a Harrisonburg City Planner.

Warren is in constant contact with the city and getting ample support.

"So they proposed the amendment for us, paid for it. Then recommended against it's passage," said Warren.

By definition, they don't meet the requirements for the necessary permits.

"So we ended up recommending against our own proposal, which is very unorthodox, because if he hadn't liked our own ordinance amendment, we obviously wouldn't have let it go to public hearing. But, we knew there would be support for it, and we also wanted to hear what planning commission and city council had to say about it," said Fletcher.

Now, the city has changed the ordinance to extend the business zone outside the main structure of the home, which would include Warren's garden.

"We've been supportive of their effort from the beginning. It was all about the legal framework of making it happen."

On Wednesday, the planning commission will vote on the city's changes to the definition of a home occupation. This could be the last step needed for Warren and his partner to get down to business.

Stay clicked to for updates from the meeting.

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