The City of Chino Hills has written a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman opposing the operation of home-based restaurants that are legal under a state law that went into effect January 2019.
The law, known as AB 626, allows residents to operate kitchens in their homes where the food could be picked up, delivered, or consumed at the home.
The city council is asking the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors to forbid such operations in the county.
The board discussed the possibility of allowing such businesses six months ago but asked for additional study and a report from Public Health staff, said county spokesman David Wert.
The report was delayed because of the coronavirus, he said, and the matter will return to the board at an undetermined date, he said.
An authorization by the county automatically opts in all cities within the county, according to a presentation made to the board by Department of Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo.
Cities cannot impose zoning restrictions on the businesses and oversight would be limited to code enforcement violations if neighbors complain about odors, traffic, parking or noise.
Riverside County is the only jurisdiction in California to have opted in, Ms. Raymundo said.
San Mateo County is conducting a two-year pilot study, pending funding and staffing, she said.
Most counties have not taken action either way.
“Although we strongly support our home-based businesses, (such operations) would present new and potential serious health risks to the public and create new enforcement challenges for our staff,” Mayor Art Bennett stated in the opposition letter.
A home restaurant would be allowed to employ one person in addition to household members, serve up to 30 meals a day or 60 meals a week, and generate up to $50,000 in gross sales a year.
The operation would be exempt from several health and safety rules placed on traditional restaurants, including a handwashing sink, exhaust hood ventilation requirements, certain sanitation requirements, and a letter grade card in the window, according to city and county staff reports.
Under the law, home kitchens can only be inspected once a year and by appointment only, unlike the unannounced visits made by health inspectors to restaurants.
In addition, the law would allow home restaurants to operate in apartments and accessory dwelling units that are located on the premises of residents and apartments.