Crestwood at odds with state over home-based business regulations

st. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – A debate about control when it comes to home-based businesses as state lawmakers decided last year to take control away from cities to give business owners more freedom.

In Crestwood, some say that’s over stepping and keeping local government from protecting residents.

Architect Clarence Olsen said the big perk of a home based business as a professional and parent is flexibility.

“Run out on errands, pick up my son from daycare, it’s just so convenient,” Olsen said.

A convenience to setup shop in Crestwood from his basement, to monitor various projects.

“I spend about half of my week traveling to job sites, and the other half working in my office,” Olsen shared. “For me, working from Crestwood, it’s centrally located so I can get to the city or county pretty easily.”

But the city of Crestwood sees some things differently.

“It’s something in local government we see all the time,” Crestwood City Administrator Kris Simpson explained. “The state is impacting our ability to regulate things in a variety of categories.”

Simpson said the laws are keeping Crestwood from going after things like noise, questionable occupancy, and business hours.

“This is what happens when we elect incompetent people to become our state legislators,” said Crestwood Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Robert Sweeney.

Crestwood said of its nearly 400 businesses, almost 50 are registered as home-based operations.

News 4 contacted the state and county to find how many exist in the region, but that data doesn’t exist.

Olsen said he believes even the count is Crestwood is inaccurate.

“There has to be more that are not registered,” Olsen shared. “I would think there are way more at home businesses in the background, people may be moonlighting, not registered [with the city].”

At a recent city meeting, Planning and Zoning Chairman Robert Sweeney said state law is keeping them in the dark of business operations.

“You could have an outdoor naked massage parlor under this legislation as long as you have a fence,” Sweeney said.

The law, Sweeney said, is allowing businesses to pop up without oversight.

“Without it, we as a city have no earthly clue of what’s going on,” Sweeney explained. “It’s not that we are nosy, we should just know.”

Crestwood leaders hope they see a change, with home-based businesses moving back to the boulevards.

“We are also mindful of the fact that if they are successful and growing, they can occupy a storefront along Watson Road or across the region. We support that. That’s economic development and that’s a good thing,” Simpson said.

The amendment is now awaiting approval from the board of directors.

News 4 asked to speak with Commissioner Sweeney following his comments.

The city said it doesn’t allow elders or appointed leaders to speak with the media.

News 4 did contact Sweeney’s office for comment and have not heard back at this time.