Many residents across the state have been struggling to sell their homemade food due to interference from their local governments, writes Alexa L. Gervasi for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Although it is legal in all 50 states to sell homemade food, certain townships are relying on strange laws to prevent small businesses from doing so.
One such incident comes from Abington Township where resident Tim Sienold was told he could not operate a home baking business.
Sienold works as an architectural-rendering services provider during the day, but he recently decided to open a small homemade cookie business with his wife. He checked the commonwealth’s rules on home baking and the township’s zoning ordinances before opening and found he was in the clear.
But when Sienold reached out to Abington officials for a zoning permit, he was denied.
According to the official, the problem was that the oil Sienold used to bake cookies would cause problems with the township’s sewage lines, despite it being a very small amount of oil.
Even when Sienold insisted he would compost whenever he could to not harm the sewage line, the official said, “If [they] were to permit this use, then that would mean [they] would have to permit every type of home-based bakery that would apply,” and that the township simply didn’t have the resources to conduct that many inspections.
Abington’s restrictions prevent potential entrepreneurs from getting started, and by keeping out at-home businesses the local economy is missing out.
Read more about Tim Sienold and Abington Township’s restrictions in The Philadelphia Inquirer.