LAKEWAY, Texas—Last night, Lakeway City Council passed a new home business law, following a lawsuit from home day care provider Bianca King and the Institute for Justice (IJ) challenging the city’s previous regulations. While the new law does make some improvements, the reforms do not go far enough for IJ to drop the lawsuit.
Individuals looking to start most types of home businesses in Lakeway now have a legitimate way to do so. However, businesses such as dog groomers and dance lessons are still banned outright. Additionally, the City Council created a new set of arbitrary restrictions just for home day care providers, with the goal of “controlling” those who open home day care businesses. Home day care providers would need to apply for an additional “special use permit,” which would involve hearings in front of both the Zoning and Planning Commission (ZAPCO) and Lakeway City Council. Afterward, the decision on whether or not to permit the business would be left entirely to the city’s discretion, rather than a clear set of guidelines.
“This new law is certainly better than Lakeway’s old one, which effectively banned all home businesses, but it still leaves a lot to be desired,” said IJ Senior Attorney Erica Smith Ewing. “This law gives the city far too much discretion to decide which businesses they want to allow, and it does not provide any guidance for would-be entrepreneurs.”
Bianca plans to apply for a special permit under the new law so she can officially be permitted to run her business, but under this law there’s no guarantee she’ll be permitted. In March of this year, Bianca reached an agreement with the city to allow her home day care to operate while her lawsuit against the city is pending.
“I’m hopeful they will approve my application this time around; however, the rigorous process they’ve created discourages people like me from pursuing their passion of caring for children,” Bianca said.