Commission okays in-home food prep as home occupation

It was a measure adopted to bolster home-based food preparation businesses. The Coweta County Commission Jan. 5 voted unanimously to amend a portion of the Zoning & Development Ordinance to allow at-home food preparation for retail distribution or catering as a home occupation.

Commenting on a Dec. 7 letter from Planning Director Robert Tolleson, county administrator Theron Gay said that commissioners had asked the planning and business license departments to work with Coweta County Environmental Health and Georgia Dept. of Agriculture on the idea of food preparation being allowed as a home occupation.
“This proposed amendment would allow food preparation for retail distribution off premises or catering as a home occupation. The regulations of the associated agencies would require the kitchen requirements as well as inspections to ensure food safety for the public,” Tolleson’s letter said. “However, this amendment would not allow employees to come to the home to prepare food. Nor would this allow the facility to operate as a retail facility. All food preparation would require distribution outside of the home.”
The only person to speak at the public hearing was Sharpsburg resident Wyatt Morrison, who said his wife wanted to start this type home-based and was prepared to meet all the requirements.
“This helps many people like us to supplement their income,” Morrison said.
In his recommendation for amending the ordinance, Gay said the Planning Department has seen an increase of home-based business requests during the recession.
“The ability to use one’s home to do food preparation and packaging in the home with delivery and catering outside the home provides an income opportunity,” Gay said. “This will allow for citizens to use their talents with Coweta County ensuring that food safety and neighborhood consideration is given equal regard.”
Gay said both county and state agencies will provide regulatory controls over the food preparation activities by ensuring that all requirements are met and conducting the applicable inspections. Gay added that the approval of requests for at-home food preparation for sale outside the home would be on a case-by-case basis.
Prior to the vote and responding to a question by Commissioner Al Smith, Gay reiterated that, under the provisions of the ordinance, people could not be employed to come into the home to work.

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