Establishing a Home Based Business

Zoning Regulations

Most houses are located in a Zoning District where businesses are limited, so as to protect the residential character of the surrounding community.

Some Important Questions to Ask: 

  • Is your property located in Chesapeake Beach or North Beach? If so, check with the town hall to see if you are allowed to operate a business out of your home. Chesapeake Beach and North Beach are both incorporated towns within Calvert County, and have separate governments and zoning regulations from the county and town center regulations.
  • Do I need a permit for my home-based business? Visit the Division of Inspections and Permit page to find more information on the permit process for Home Occupations. Contact Zoning, Permitting and Citizen Relations staff with any questions regarding zoning requirements. A plot plan may also be required to show parking, access and other requirements.
  • Are there any private covenants? Check your deed, the record plat, and with your Homeowner's Association (HOA) to see if there are any subdivision covenants which would prohibit or limit a business in the house.
  • Do zoning regulations allow it? Determine the zoning of the property. Refer to the use charts in the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance to determine if the proposed use is allowed. You may also call Zoning, Permitting and Citizen Relations staff to assist you in determining if it is a permitted use at that location. If a special exception or variance is required, you may be referred to the Board of Appeals.
  • Can I expand my existing business? Home-based businesses are limited in size and scale. Please also contact Development Review staff prior to expanding an existing business.
  • Will you want to have a sign? Please contact Development Review Staff for more information on what types and sizes are allowed. They will help determine if permits are required and if architectural review will be required.
  • Do I need a Use Permit? Submit an Application for Home Occupation Permit to the Division of Inspections and Permits, for review and approval.

Community and Infrastructure Impacts

A business at a residence can affect existing infrastructure, roads, or the utilization of resources on a property.

Some Important Questions to Ask: 

  • Is parking adequate for my business?
  • What about the road access and driveway entrance?
  • Are customers and clients coming to the business?
  • What kinds of drawings are needed in order to get a permit?

Check with the Planning & Zoning staff to see if a professional drawing will need to be prepared and approved.

Do I need Health Department approval? Contact the Health Department for more information on their regulations and approval process. The Environmental Health services office of the Health Department may need to review your permit if the business is proposed on a private well and/or septic system.

Residential Building Code Standards

If changes in the existing residence are needed, then most improvements - except for cosmetic changes - will need to be done according to adopted construction codes.

Some Important Questions to Ask:

  • Is a permit needed? Any electrical work must be done by a licensed electrician. Any plumbing work must be done by a licensed plumber. In both cases, permits are required.
  • Most building construction must also be done with a permit. The use of a Maryland licensed home improvement company is required if you are not applying "owner as builder."
  • What about fire safety and handicapped accessibility? Inspections and Permits coordinates with the State Fire Marshal, who determines if any changes are needed to meet the state fire code.
  • Calvert County's Division of Inspections and Permits is responsible for enforcing Maryland's Accessibility Code (COMAR 05.02.02) and the National Standard Plumbing Code's requirements for restroom facilities.