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'Ice cream wars' fallout continues on home occupation signage

Posted April 10, 2018

On the heels of New Tecumseth council's bid last year to shutdown a home based ice cream shop in Alliston, which did not succeed in court, comes further restrictions on permitted signage proposed to be incorporated into the Town's sign-bylaw.

Home occupations are permitted in any dwelling unit. However, they are guided by zoning considerations.

Prior to the amendments, a "Home Occupation" could include "home-based business, office, trade, craft, or personal service conducted entirely within the dwelling, or an accessory building, as a use secondary to the residential use. Except for merchandise produced on the premises or goods and merchandise associated with the service conducted on the premises, retail and wholesale goods shall not be offered for sale."

In a May 2017 court ruling, What's the Scoop was ordered "into compliance with the zoning bylaw" including orders to remove some signs, and patio furniture used by patrons. However, it was allowed to continue operating. The Town spent approximately $30,000 in legal fees fighting it, and recouped $7,500 in a cost award. What's the Scoop is currently suing the Town for $500,000 in a civil action.

In the meantime, council tightened the policies for "Home Occupation" to mean "a home-based business, office, trade, craft, or personal service conducted entirely within the dwelling unit as a use secondary to the residential use in accordance with the provisions of this By-law." As well, it prohibits, "the operation of a restaurant or take out restaurant, whether or not the food and beverages are produced on the premises and whether the food and beverages are intended for consumption on the premises or not."

Last night councillors approved including in an updated sign bylaw review, prohibiting banner signs specifically for home occupations; and propose a specific section to identify the size, type and material composition for home occupation signs.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri