Va. woman forced to end home-based e-commerce business after zoning dispute

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (CNN) - A woman’s fight to keep her home-based business came to a disappointing end after a zoning dispute.

A Virginia woman who sells Lularoe through her e-commerce site is being forced to go out of business because of a zoning ordinance that officials admit is outdated. (Source: WJLA/CNN)

Virginia officials are looking for ways to modernize ordinances to help business owners.

It all played out Friday morning at the Fairfax County Courthouse.

“It’s terrifying to think - am I going to make my car payment, am I going to lose my car insurance because I can’t pay that,” Marietta Grundlehner said.

It’s close to $30,000 in lost income for Grundlehner because she says her home-based Lularoe business is being shut down.

“Lularoe has been a blessing for me,” she said.

Grundlehner started an online petition as a last effort to save her livelihood after Fairfax County found her in violation of its zoning ordinance. The official notice of violation said a “retail sales establishment” was not allowed to operate out of her townhome in Springfield.

The zoning dispute went to court, where Grundlehner said the hearing did not go her way.

“In five days, I must get rid of all the inventory. I just have to remove everything in that boutique that you saw and not sell,” Grundlehner said.

It was a complaint from a neighbor that first brought zoning inspectors to Grundlehner’s home.

Fairfax Supervisor Daniel Storck said these situations are a delicate balancing act.

“That is always the tough one because we have humans and people and our dreams and passions, and we also have standards that the community wants us to enforce,” he said.

But he said the county is already looking for ways to modernize its zoning regulations regarding home-based businesses. And Grundlehner can only hope that happens soon.

“The zoning laws need to be amended to be up to speed with e-commerce these days,” she said.

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