May 26 to June 2, 2013 is Bike to Work Week in Kamloops. In my youth, I was a long-distance cyclist and I support getting people back on bicycles and commuting to work. But no one seems to ask the simple question: "Why do we have to commute to work?" In the past, just about everyone lived where they worked. The answer to this question is the modern scourge of urban planning and zoning restrictions.
The City of Kamloops has areas of open zoning that allows people to live where they work. This is my home attached to my place of business.
I have had people ask how my family came to Kamloops. One of the major factors that made Shaen and I decide on Kamloops was the property in the Ironmask Industrial Park allowed for secondary residential use. This is a very unusual and open type of zoning for a city to allow. Normally, a city's policy is to separate living space from business and industry.
Zoning is a construct found only in the minds of modern urban planners. Old cities do not have these separations and you will find living space, business and industry mixed together. If you ever visit old cities, "planning" occurs "naturally", from the out-growth of "practicality". This means, people lived where they worked. This practicality is in stark contrast to modern urban design. The fantasy of modern urban planning is based around the automobile and the highway.
In our personal situation, this open zoning allowed us to have a business and living space on one property. Starting a business is a very risky activity and failure is common. One way to help avoid business failure is to have control of as many costs as possible. Living where you work, controls costs. Having a home-based business means skipping the costs of commuting and the costs of maintaining a totally separate residence. We also experience a saving of our most precious resource, our time. Commuting back and forth from home and maintaining another building eats away at time and personal energy. For the microbusiness owner -- time and energy -- is extremely limited.
Many people may think GO BOX Storage is too large to be considered a home-based business, but it isn't. Most home-based businesses are run by family members and many do not have any employees. Shaen and I run the whole show while I double-time home schooling my girls. Home schooling is something we couldn't do if we didn't run a home-based business. Running a home-based business gives my family freedom.
I commend the City of Kamloops for having open zoning that allows people the flexibility to work from home. The City of Kamloops will be richly rewarded if they allow more home-based business in residentially zoned areas. Home-based business produces a robust and creative population that is free to follow their dreams while reducing financial risk. It appears, working from home, is an old-fashioned idea that is coming back into vogue.
My commute to work involves 20 steps from my house to the office. Shaen's commute is 40 steps to the warehouse. Living where you work means you care about the quality and safety of your working environment, something our community needs more of.
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