There are ways of cultivating community standards without resorting to zoning and similar regulatory regimens by state and local governments. They have been studied, written about, and they can be found here and there around the country, though most famously in Houston, Texas.
But zoning’s the norm in urban and suburban communities.
Ask Marietta Grundlehner.
She had been running an online clothing boutique from her home in Fairfax County, Virginia, and has been forced to shut it down.
Well, a court has ruled that she must remove all her inventory from her home. You can have a home business in Fairfax, but not inventory of goods for sale.
Ms. Grundlehner had been earning, she said, about $30,000 a year as a “LulaRoe Fashion Retailer” in an industry billed by its online organizer as “social retail.” The ecommerce hub, lularoe.com, makes an enticing pitch for its business model: “Find your joy and fulfillment by creating a positive impact in your community.”
But it was a neighbor who turned her in and sicced the local government on her.
That Fairfax resident sure did not think she was having a “positive impact” in their community.
Grundlehner hopes for a regulatory change to save her business, but Christian Britschgi of Reason has a word for that battle: “uphill.”
Still, online businesses are on the ascendency. Too many run afoul of zoning laws. And online entrepreneurship being the wave of the future, local governments might want to forget their old gentrification utopianism and meet the real world, the place where people actually live.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.