The Village of Kensington Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to tighten requirements for those who run professional offices in their homes.
By a 3-1-1 vote, the Village Board approved an amendment to existing law which will require both pre-existing and future professional offices inside of single-family village dwellings to be approved by special use permit.
Professional offices were allowed under the previous village code, but the updated law will help with accountability and village appeal, according to local officials.
After several months of public discussion, opinions remained mixed regarding the issue Wednesday.
Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin said the village needed the amendment to put some type of framework around the professional office application process and to better understand under what circumstances professional offices should exist in Kensington.
"Our main objective here is to try to keep the commercialization out of the village," said Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin. "We want to make it clear that homes in this village are meant to be residences primarily."
Deputy Mayor Gail Strongwater voted against the changes to the existing law.
"I think people might be uncomfortable with the idea of sort of having to let big brother know what they are doing," said Strongwater. "It makes me uncomfortable."
Village Attorney Andrea Tsoukalas explained, the purpose of the special use permit is to put conditions on the use.
"It gives this board the opportunity to control use a little bit," said Tsoukalis.
Pre-existing professional offices in the village may continue without conforming to the amended provisions until Sept. 30, 2014. Special permits approved by Village Hall will be required for all professional offices after that date.
Kensington Trustee Alina Hendler abstained from the vote.
In most cases, residents who simply work from home are exempt from the amended regulations providing they do not have employees or special equipment.
Prohibited home village businesses include kindergartens, child nurseries, dance schools, music schools, art schools or other private schools.
The local law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the New York Secretary of State.
See the full text of the law here.