DENTON The Caroline County Commissioners at their meeting May 8 heard public comments on two ordinances that could soon be enacted.
The first ordinance would allow up to two non-family employees to work at a home business until a sunset date of Dec. 31, when the issue should be addressed in the updated comprehensive county zoning map and code.
The second ordinance would allow a single-family apartment unit in a building in the highway commercial district, fixing what was called a quirk in the county's code.
Both ordinances are scheduled for a third reading and possible approval May 15.
The commissioners' action on the ordinances were not available at press time.
Betsy Blough, who with her husband, Glenn, runs Blough's Seafood out of their Denton home, spoke in favor of the home business ordinance.
Blough said she and her husband have cleared a lot of hurdles to establish their business, including installing a new septic system, equipment to store the seafood and a handicapped-accessible bathroom, requiring the hiring of surveyors, electricians and plumbers and paying application fees, as well as handling the day-to-day costs of running it.
Her husband puts in long hours crabbing, oystering and fishing, and both Bloughs work in the market, Blough said.
"We continue to take great pride in our business because it's our life," Blough said. "It's unique to us and comes from within."
Blough said they make sure their property is clean, presentable and not an eyesore.
The business has grown to a point where it would be a hardship to operate without employees, Blough said, but she and her husband agree that at some point, if the business grows, they would need to move to a larger location.
"We are just asking you to allow us to make a living now until when and if we ever get there," Blough said.
Ryan Showalter, an attorney with Miles & Stockbridge, spoke about the highway commercial district zoning change on behalf of the owners of Tuckahoe Sportsman on state Route 404.
A single-family apartment unit has existed above the business for years, and was built before the current owners bought the building, but recently it came to light the county zoning code does not allow single units in the highway commercial district.
The code allows multiple units in that district, and allows single units in any other district.
"This is a simple and straightforward request to correct a minor inconsistency," Showalter said. "The apartment has been occupied by various tenants since before the owners bought it, and it's an important security element for the business."