sign of the times

Jim McCarvell thought he had a great idea for a business. He knew more and more people were starting businesses at home -- yet he also knew that home-based entrepreneurs can face hassles from regulators and neighbors. Why not create a friendly environment for home-based businesses? McCarvell and a partner began work on Silver Moon Innovation Park -- designed as a combination industrial park and residential development, with each building housing both a business and a family.

That was seven years ago. Today the park, in North Dorchester, Ontario, has 8 of 34 lots occupied. One big stumbling block: the same regulatory hassles that frustrate home-based entrepreneurs. First McCarvell and his partner had to work for years to win over the local zoning board. Then, he says, the county wanted to tax the combination businesses/ dwellings at a very high rate. Still, says early tenant Jack Baribeau, "it's been excellent" to be able to have his business, Baribeau Construction, so near his family. Echoes McCarvell, "If Henry Ford were buying his first house again, he'd look very hard at Silver Moon."

-- Martha E. Mangelsdorf

* * *