Doing Business

Home Occupation

The City of Port Wentworth recognizes the need for some citizens to use their place of residence for limited non-residential activities. The City also recognizes the need to maintain the character and integrity of residential areas and to establish specific standards and procedures by which home occupations can be conducted in residential areas without jeopardizing the health, safety, and general welfare of the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Home Occupation Defined 

    Home Occupations can be defined as any activity carried out for gain by a resident and conducted as an incidental and accessory use in the resident's dwelling unit. To meet the definition of home occupation, one (1) of the following conditions must be satisfied:

    1. Product or service is generated or provided to customers/clients in the home.
    2. Coordination of products or services to be delivered off-site is conducted in the home.
    3. The residence is the primary business address.
    4. The home occupation is regulated by a state or federal agency or board.
    5. An individual who lives on the premises in which the home occupation is located, as evidenced by Georgia driver's license, identification card, or other proper legal identification.
    A dwelling resident is an individual who lives on the premises in which the home occupation is located, as evidenced by Georgia driver's license, identification card, or other proper legal identification.
  • Accessory Use and Structure 

    Accessory structures may be used in connection with the home occupation so long as the lot coverage requirements of the zoning ordinance are met. These include: 

    • attached and detached garages and carports 
    • a detached structure from a principal building located on the same lot and subordinate to the principal building or use
    • a motor vehicle with no more than two (2) axles and/or six (6) wheels, not more than six thousand (6,000) pounds in gross weight, and designed primarily for the transport of persons.
  • Filing Procedures 

    1. Applications for a home occupation permit shall be made at City Hall on the form provided. A reasonable inspection by the city administrator, or his designee, may be conducted to determine compliance with the defining of home occupations.

    2. The city administrator will then make a decision and notify the applicant in writing. In cases where the administrator considers the application not within the scope of home occupation criteria, the application shall be denied.

    3. A decision of the city administrator concerning approval or renewal shall be final unless a written appeal is filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals within ten (10) calendar days of the decision. An appeal may only be filed by the applicant.
  • Permits and Fees 

    The home occupation shall pay the annual City of Port Wentworth occupation tax (otherwise known as a "business license"). The Occupational Tax Fee Schedule can be found here.

     

     

    All occupational taxes shall be valid from January 1 until December 31. Requests for renewal shall be submitted on forms provided at City Hall.
  • Employees 

    Dwelling residents may engage in or conduct the home occupation in the home with no more than one (1) non-resident employee. A copy of the driver's license, or state picture ID of the proprietor and for the non-resident employee shall be provided to the City of Port Wentworth.

  • Parking 

    No additional parking to accommodate customers or delivery shall be constructed or allowed. Customer vehicles or vehicles associated with the home occupation shall be parked on the existing residential driveway or on the street only within the lot frontage.

     

    • Vehicles used by the permit holder, whether owned or leased, in conjunction with the home occupation shall not be parked on any parcel, driveway, parking lot (private or public) not located on the premises in which the home occupation is located.
    • Vehicles and trailers to be used by the permit holder in conjunction with the home occupation shall be registered with the City of Port Wentworth. A description of the vehicle and tag number shall be provided.
    • There shall be no use, parking or storage of tractor trailers, semi-trucks, heavy equipment, or pull-type trailers greater than eighteen (18) feet in length in connection with the home occupation.
  • Sanitation 

    The home occupation shall have one (1), and only one (1), commercial trash receptacle in addition to any residential trash receptacle. The commercial trash receptacle shall be provided by the City of Port Wentworth and shall not exceed ninety (90) gallons. Larger trash receptacles are prohibited.

    The prevailing residential rate for an additional receptacle (one-half (½) of residential rate) and deposit shall apply. Resident must pay the deposit, but does not have to utilize the additional trash receptacle unless it is needed.
  • Signage and Decals 

    Signs will be allowed no larger than twelve (12) feet × sixteen (16) feet and shall be affixed to the house facing the street or on a post in the yard. Illuminated signs are prohibited.

    A decal/sticker displaying the year will be provided to the resident and will act as the permit/receipt for payment of that year's occupational tax. Decals are to be placed on the window nearest the front entrance of the residence.

  • Exceptions 

    Home occupations do not apply to: 

    • residential "garage sales" or "yard sales" not related to the home occupation 
    • in-home purchasing clubs or organizations (e.g., Amway, Watkins, Tupperware, etc.)
    • the occasional sale of personal property
    • individuals who perform occasional work at home related to an off-site business
    • individuals who engage in agriculture activities in a R-A zone
    • individuals engaged in internet sales where the product is not produced and/or shipped to/from the home
Your first contact regarding home occupations should be with the Occupational Tax Registrant. Please call 912-964-4379 or send an email to hvillafana@cityofportwentworth.com, for more information.   
Documents and Forms 

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