Manitoba

Wolseley perfumery owner faces closure over zoning issue

A Wolseley perfumery owner may have to shut down after the city has asked him to re-zone his home-based business.

Owner Michael O’Malley says he doesn’t have money to convert home to commercial business

A Wolseley perfumery owner may have to shut down after the city has asked him to re-zone his home-based business. CBC's Alana Cole reports. 1:30

A Wolseley perfumery owner may have to shut down after the city has asked him to re-zone his home-based business.

Michael O'Malley opened La Parfumerie, a custom perfume shop, in his home in 1999.

At the time, he said, city officials were OK with him running the business downstairs and living upstairs.

"City officials said, 'It seems like there's pretty good support in the community for what you are doing, and it looks pretty interesting, why don't you just go ahead and do what you want to do and we will see how it goes?'" said O'Malley.

Then, in 2012, after a neighbour opened a business, a city official came by to take a look around.

O'Malley said he typically sells mostly wholesale, but he also gets foot traffic.

Soon after, he got a notice telling him he didn't fit the guidelines for the zoning permit he was operating under.

He was told to reapply as a major home-based business. Recently, O'Malley found out that application was rejected.

"My understanding is that they want me to be open on an appointment basis only," said O'Malley. "They don't want any more walk in traffic happening … without walk in traffic, my business will cease to exist."

Chad Johnston has lived next door for more than 10 years and said he can't understand why the city is clamping down on the business now.

"I've never had an issue, and I've never heard of anyone in the neighbourhood having an issue," said Johnston.

O'Malley has an appeal hearing with city officials next week, but he said if he loses it, he can't afford to turn his home into a commercial business to meet the requirements.

"If I lose the hearing, it's over," said O'Malley.

City officials said the application was subject to an appeal process so "it would not be appropriate for the public service to speak to the specifics of this citizen's application," and pointed to their guidelines for a home-based business, which include it being an occasional venture.

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