Well, I finally took the step to start down the road of becoming the owner of a backyard kiln. My first contact was with the City of Morgan Hill Planning Department. It seems that their primary concern is with the operation of a home based business and not so much with the idea of using a wood burning appliance to fire pots.
I find the regulations on a home occupation below to be very interesting. Of greatest concern to an artist are items A.6,8 and 9 from the zoning regulations that I have copied below. It seems like they think of a home occupation as a bright guy with a computer writing code, etc. Nice, clean, no noise, no traffic, nothing to get anyone in an uproar.
First, (item A.6) the prohibition on electrical equipment not exceeding 15 amps could be read as prohibiting the use of an electric kiln in the home if it is for business. Such a prohibition does not exist for a hobbyinst. Then again, the words could be interpreted to pertain only to electric motors, so I will choose to think that this is correct.
Second, (item A.8) just means that one would need to put maps on your cards, brochures, etc. Especially in my neighborhood. When walking at night, I have had cars stop and the driver ask me "how do I get out of here?"
I have even had the local constabulary deliver one of my open studio signs to the house and inform me that they were illegal in this town. Well, at least I have a decorative gate on the driveway and there are several spots where I have placed large vases for all to see. Let them figure out it is a pottery.
Finally, (item A.9) would seem to be ok most of the time, but would surely prohibit holding an open studio.
Section 18.56.090 Home occupations.
A. A zoning permit shall be required for all home occupations. Prior to issuance of any zoning permit for a home occupation, the following criteria shall be used by the community development department in evaluating the application:
1. The use is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes;
2. That portion of the use conducted in the dwelling unit shall be carried on solely by the resident thereof;
3. All uses shall be conducted only in one room of the dwelling or garage. In no case shall the home occupation occupy more than one-fourth of the floor area on one floor of the building;
4. Materials used in home occupations shall be stored only in the room used for the home occupation, or in that area of the garage not required for parking;
5. The use shall not entail the use or storage of explosive, flammable or otherwise hazardous materials;
6. The mechanical or electrical equipment used in connection with the home occupation shall not require an electrical motor exceeding fifteen amperes at one hundred ten volts, or the equivalent thereof, and not be operated in such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of neighboring residents or any reasonable person of normal sensitivity residing in the area;
7. The appearance of the dwelling shall not be altered, nor shall the home occupation be conducted in such a manner that it may be reasonably recognized as serving a nonresidential use, either by color, materials, construction, lighting, signs, sounds or vibrations;
8. No signs or displays shall be used to identify the home occupation;
9. The use shall not attract more than ten vehicles per day.
B. A zoning permit issued for a home occupation is not transferable.
C. The following uses are expressly prohibited:
1. Repair or construction of motor vehicles and large appliances;
2. Massage parlors, dating services, photo schools and dance studios.