Two business owners sue for the right to work from home

GCA Staff

Lij Shaw at The Toy Box Studio, a recording studio he runs out of his East Nashville home.               -photo submitted

Lij Shaw at The Toy Box Studio, a recording studio he runs out of his East Nashville home. -photo submitted

Two local business people who work out of the home are seeking a lifting of a ban keeping them from operating their businesses out of their home.

Pat Raynor runs a hair cutting business out of her Donelson home, while The Toy Box Studio, a recording studio, is ran by Lij Shaw out of East Nashville.

For Shaw, in 2015 Metro shut down his business. According to a 1998 addition to Nashville’s residential zoning ordinance,  “home occupations” are prohibited from serving clients on their property.

In Nashville, home businesses are often run by local musicians, hair stylists, interior designers and entrepreneurs.

“Home-based businesses have been a common, legitimate and entrepreneurial use of property for centuries,” said Keith Diggs, an attorney at IJ, which, together with the Beacon Center, represents the plaintiffs. “They cost less to start up, they promote a better work-life balance and they create jobs that otherwise might not exist. The Metro Council’s home-business ban needlessly hurts people, like Lij and Pat, who are just trying to earn an honest living.”

Shaw converted his detached garage into a professional recording studio. Raynor undertook an expensive renovation to her garage to open up a one-chair hair salon with a valid Tennessee cosmetology license.

“I’m a musician. Part of what I love about Nashville is my ability to make a living and support my family doing something I love,” Shaw said. “My home studio allows me to spend quality time with my daughter while keeping a roof over our heads. A man’s home is his castle, and I should have the right to earn a living in mine.”

Nashville exempts a small set of home-based businesses. from its client prohibition. It allows home-based daycares to serve up to 12 clients a day, for example.

The Institute for Justice analyzed Nashville’s business records and found at least 1,600 home-based businesses operating in Nashville.