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Planning and Zoning FAQs

Can I park a boat in my front yard?
What do I need to do to start a home-based business?
I am building a new home in St. Charles Parish. What do I need to know about elevation and elevation certificates?
What are the requirements for installing a fence on my property?
Do I need a permit to operate a garage sale?

Q: Can I park a boat in my front yard?
A:
The parish zoning code does not specifically prohibit parking boats in front residential yards. However, there are zoning regulations regarding the payload capacity of vehicles/trailers which are parked in the required front yard. Usually boats and trailers do not exceed the payload capacity. However, the boats cannot be parked over sidewalks or prohibit vehicular sight lines.

Please be aware some subdivision covenants may address boats. Covenants are enforced by private civic associations and residents.
Q: What do I need to do to start a home-based business?
A:
Home-based businesses are subject to the same business licensing laws as off-site businesses, but they are also licensed by St. Charles Parish via a Home Occupation Permit.

Below is the section of the St. Charles Parish Code of Ordinances that deals with home occupation:

Section XXII.  Regulations for home occupations.

A. General
It is the intent of this section to regulate home occupations in residential zones. A home occupation is an accessory use of a dwelling unit, conducted by one (1) or more persons who reside at the property in question. The home occupation is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes and does not change the character thereof or adversely affect the uses permitted in the residential district of which it is a part.


B. Permit Process
  1. Pre-Application Orientation: The Planning Director, or his designated staff, shall advise citizens of the regulations for home occupations such as appropriate activities for home occupations, operational regulations, and consequences for violating operational regulations. The Planning Director, or his designated staff, shall determine whether the premises to be permitted is in compliance with the St. Charles Parish code of Ordinances, or what measures must be taken to bring the premises into compliance prior to consideration of an application for a home occupation permit.

  2. Application: A citizen who proposes appropriate activities at a residence that is not under citation for violation of this Code may apply for a permit for a home occupation. The fee shall be two hundred dollars ($200.00). The applicant will agree to follow operational regulations. When an applicant does not own the subject property, the applicant must provide notarized endorsement of the application by the property owner.

  3. Departmental Review: The Planning Director, or his designated staff, shall determine whether the proposed activity complies with the operational regulations of this section. The operational regulations are a guideline.

  4. Public Notice and Comment:
    a. Once the Planning Director has determined that the proposed activity meets the general parameters of this code and the operational requirements of this section, the property shall be posted for ten (10) days with a sign stating that the resident has applied for a permit to operate a home occupation and that the Department of Planning and Zoning will receive and record public comment on the application for the same ten (10) calendar days.
    b. A copy of the application shall be forwarded to the District Councilman and both Councilman-At-Large.

  5. Determination: The Planning Director shall consider the nature of the home occupation, the operational regulations, the relationship of the proposed home occupation to neighboring properties, requirements for state permits and licenses, and take one of the following actions:
    a. Issue a Home Occupational Permit with or without written conditions, for those occupations that do not require state permit or license.
    b. Forward applications requiring state permits or licenses along with a recommendation of the Department to the Planning and Zoning Commission for public hearing and recommendation and to the Parish Council for public hearing and decision.
    c. Deny the application.
    (Ord. No. 06-12-6, § I, 12-4-06)
C. Operational Regulations  
  1. All products produced for sale must be hand manufactured or grown on the premises using only hand tools or domestic mechanical equipment. Such domestic mechanical equipment shall not exceed two (2) horsepower per piece of equipment, and the sum total of all such equipment shall not exceed six (6) horsepower. A single kiln shall not exceed eight (8) kilowatts or the equivalent in a gas-fired fixture.

  2. All sales of products, including those produced or grown on the premises, and the performance of all services shall take place off the premises. However, the Planning Director may permit on-premises sales or the performance of services as a condition of a home occupation permit when it may be found that such sales or services will not produce any detrimental effects upon the surrounding neighborhood. This may include but is not limited to snowball stands, tax and legal services. The Department may impose conditions regulating the duration, scope, and size of operation.

  3. There shall be no signs posted which indicate the existence of the home occupation.

  4. No licensed vehicle in excess of one (1) ton (manufacturer's rating), and no more than one (1) licensed motorized vehicle, shall be utilized by any resident of the premises in connection with the home occupation. (Ord. No. 03-8-11, § I, 8-18-03) 

  5. Only the residents of the premises shall be engaged in the home occupation.

  6. There shall be no outdoor storage of materials or products on the premises except as otherwise permitted by the Planning Director. Indoor storage of material or products shall not exceed twenty (20) percent of the gross floor area of the dwelling. 

  7. Home occupations, except for horticultural uses, shall be conducted only within a structure on the premises.

  8. The home occupation shall not eliminate required off-street parking.
     
  9. The home occupation shall not cause any external effect associated with the home occupation, such as increased noise, excessive traffic, excessive lighting, or offensive odor, which is incompatible with the characteristics of the residential zone, or in violation of the revisions of any applicable governmental code. There shall be no illegal discharge of materials, fluids, or gases into the sewer system, or any other manner of disc
Q: I am building a new home in St. Charles Parish. What do I need to know about elevation and elevation certificates?
A:
St. Charles Parish participates in the National Flood Insurance Program through FEMA and that is the reason Flood insurance is available.

As part of that program, FEMA has issued and the Parish has adopted Flood Insurance Rate Maps which specify building elevation requirements for all areas of St. Charles. Some areas require new and substantially altered structures to be elevated above the ground level and some do not. Some areas require that an elevation certificate be provided to document the elevation of the new structures, and some do not.

The only safe way to make a determination as to the requirements of a proposed project is to call the Department of Planning and Zoning at (985) 783-5060 to discuss the project and its location requirements.

Surveyors would provide the elevation certificate to the resident/owner for a fee.

You will want to mention where you are planning to build so they can tell you about the elevation regulations for that particular area.
Q: What are the requirements for installing a fence on my property?
A:
A residential fence erected within the required front yard setback may not exceed four (4) feet in height. No fence shall be erected so as to block vehicular travel sight lines, as defined in AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official Manual). Additionally, no fence will be permitted on corner lots within twenty (20) feet of the intersection with said twenty (20) feet to be measured from the property corner along the front and side property lines. (Ord. No. 82-6-7, § II, 6-7-82; Ord. No. 82-6-8, § II, 6-7-82; Ord. No. 87-12-20, 12-21-87; Ord. No. 98-8-13, 8-17-98)

Since the parish has different zoning codes for different areas, please call the Planning and Zoning Department at (985) 783-5060 for any other questions. You will want to let the department know where live and what kind of fence you want to install.

VIEW PARISH CODE OF ORDINANCES
Q: Do I need a permit to operate a garage sale?
A:
You DO NOT need a permit or any other documentation to operate a garage sale. Please keep in mind that parish ordinances dictate that signage is not to be placed on public rights-of-way, telephone poles or servitudes.