By Belle Hatfield
Hairdressers and barbershops may soon be added to the list of businesses that could be operated from homes in the town of Yarmouth. The town’s planning advisory committee agreed to recommend that town council hold a public hearing to consider a bylaw amendment to enable the applicant, Wayne LeBlanc, to establish a home-based hairdressing salon/barbershop at his residence on 56 Pleasant Street. LeBLanc operates a hair salon on Main St. and wants to move his business to his home.
The committee met on Monday, March 4 to consider the amendment, after a public participation meeting.
Mayor Pam Mood cautioned that these amendments don’t just affect the applicant. Once amended, the changes apply to every similarly zoned property.
Although hairdressers are not currently able to operate from a home-based business, aesthetic services (nails, body hair removal etc) are allowed.
Mayor Mood questioned the rationale for this, observing, “So I can remove the hair from my legs, but not from my head.”
The planner explained that when aestheticians were added to the list in 2008, council of the day concurred that it should not be extended to hairdressers and barbershops because of the potential for disrupting the residential nature of any affected neighbourhoods.
“So I can remove the hair from my legs, but not from my head.” - Mayor Pam Mood
The applicant told the committee that his Main Street location is too big for his business needs.
Committee member John Ryan said the town had to remain flexible to respond to economic conditions.
“I understand you don’t want to take any business away from the commercial area. But if you had a thriving economy you’re not going to operate from home. You’re going to want to be at a central location, ideally the downtown core … If we simply say no, and if this or any other small business just can’t afford to continue operating at their current location, then what? Are we shutting them down? So I’d much rather see them operate out of their home, until things turn around.”
Committee member Jeff Little asked about the impact this might have on salons already established in commercial zones.
“When we move a business away from a commercial environment … does it put the existing businesses that have that overhead at a disadvantage … if you have a lower overhead (in a home-based business), can you sell the haircut for less? And does that put the other individuals that are selling at a commercial location at a competitive disadvantage?” he asked.
Council will consider the recommendation when it meets on Thursday, March 14.