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An 'in-home', 'home based', or entrepreneurial business operating from a residential dwelling within Fort Collins requires Home Occupation Licensing. Home occupations are considered accessory uses to properties in all zoning districts.

Home occupations include (but is not limited to) art/craft making, seamstress services, professional offices (real estate/insurance/medical), multi-level marketing, vending services, service businesses (contracting/janitorial), instruction (music), consulting, wholesale/catalogue sales and personal service (beauty/barber) shops. Any portion of a residential property, including a home phone, computer, mailing address, etc., used in deriving income or sales, will require the resident to obtain a Home Occupation license.

Group homes, health care facilities (nursing homes), restaurants, tourist homes (bed and breakfast facilities), and animal hospitals cannot be considered home occupation businesses. These uses are restricted to particular zoning districts. Child care and other day care providers are exempt from home occupation licensing and requirements except for signage restrictions.

The impact of a home occupation on its immediate neighborhood must be minimized. Conditions required include the following:

  • No more than 50% of the home can be used for the home occupation.
  • No more than one employee or co-worker other than the resident(s) can work from that site.
  • No retail sales are permitted from the site other than incidental sales related to services provided.
  • No exterior storage (including storage within detached buildings/garages) is permitted. Storage is limited to the principal residence including attached garages.
  • Additional off-street parking may be required for the business.
  • No offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odor, heat, or glare shall be noticeable at or beyond the property line.
  • Signage will be limited to no more than two square feet per residence for homes located on local/collector streets and four square feet per residence for homes located on arterial streets.

Home Occupation License Applications can be downloaded, obtained at the Building Inspections/Zoning office at 281 North College Avenue or at the Sales Tax office at 215 North Mason, Fort Collins, CO. Or contact them at (970) 221-6760. The license fee is $25 and is renewable every two years. Code requirements regulating home occupation businesses are located in Article 3, Section 3.8.3 of the Land Use Code of Fort Collins.

In addition to Zoning requirements, prohibition of or limitations to home occupation businesses may be regulated by subdivision, condominium, or similar covenants. Please check what COVENANTS might exist in your neighborhood by contacting your homeowner's association or the Larimer County Clerk and Recording office at (970) 498-7860.