Jan 27, 2022 - Politics

Spotlight back on home businesses

Nashville music producer Lij Shaw in front of recording equipment.
Nashville music producer Lij Shaw. Photo courtesy of the Beacon Center

Metro Councilmember Dave Rosenberg plans to file legislation in the coming weeks to permanently legalize home-based businesses in Nashville.

  • After a decade of debate, Metro Council and Mayor John Cooper legalized home businesses in July 2020, when thousands of Nashvillians were forced to work from home in the early months of the pandemic.

State of play: Rosenberg included a sunset provision for Jan. 7, 2023, after which home businesses stand to be banned again.

Why it matters: The future of home-based businesses is an especially important issue in Nashville, where home recording studios are a vital element of the music industry.

  • Prior to the 2020 law, the studios were technically illegal, although many professional producers used them anyway because of lax enforcement.

What they're saying: "I'm thrilled that the home business bill that the council passed in 2020 has been successful," Rosenberg tells Axios. "The guardrails we set have protected neighborhoods and enabled entrepreneurial residents, and I expect to file a resolution extending the law in the coming weeks."

  • "Since the home occupation ordinance became effective in July 2020, Codes has issued approximately 41 permits," Codes Department assistant director Emily Lamb said in a statement. "Generally, enforcement of this law has not been problematic for the department."

Yes, but: A lawsuit filed before home businesses were legalized is pressing forward.

  • Music producer Lij Shaw and other business owners sued to overturn the ban in 2017. After losing in the trial court, an appeals court ruled the lawsuit moot because the legislation allowing them, with some restrictions, had passed.
  • They appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which heard arguments yesterday.
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