Frisco Tried to Ban Home Bakeries, Despite Texas' New Cottage Food Law

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As previously noted on several occasions, last year the Texas legislature passed a law that allows home bakers to legally sell their goods from home under some very specific guidelines (Senate Bill 81). And each time I type out another article about this issue, I think, "Well, that should do it." It's pretty cut and dry: It's cake and now it's law. And you can't really argue with cake.

But ridiculous issues keep popping up. Like when Plano made an infomercial warning of the hazards of buying from a home baker.

Now we've learned that the City of Frisco created a zoning ordinance banning cottage bakeries. Last week KXAS ran a story about a home baker who received a notice from the city that she was in violation of the ordinance. Which raises an important question: What do so many people have against cake?

Judith McGeary, an attorney for the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, addressed the matter on the Texas Baker's Bill FB page: "The cottage foods bill was silent on the issue of zoning. Local law applies on the issue of zoning in the absence of state law to the contrary. This does not mean that what the City of Frisco did was proper or legal, merely that the cottage foods bill doesn't prevent it."

Senator Jane Nelson, whose district includes Frisco, sponsored SB 81 and is watching things closely.

"My intent with SB 81 was to make it easier for home cooks to sell their products," wrote Nelson in a statement, "free from the type of inspections, fees and public health requirements that apply to large-scale food wholesalers. It applies specifically to county public health authorities -- not city zoning ordinances that apply to home-based businesses."

Senator Nelson went onto imply there may be tweaks in the future, "We are monitoring the implementation of SB 81 statewide and look further into this issue as we prepare for the next legislative session."

In the meantime, bakers in Frisco didn't sit idly by. (Bakers never do.)

Turns out that once a month the mayor of Frisco holds a "Coffee with the Mayor" breakfast, which happened to be this past Monday. Several bakers showed up to chat about the city ordinance (surely with baked goods in tow). And they were able to get a small bit of resolution, for the time being at least.

Since the meeting, the City of Frisco has told Jamie Medley, of the NBC 5 piece, that she can continue baking her gluten-free goods.

"We gave her a courtesy notice," said Greg Carr with the City of Frisco code compliance department. "And she can continue baking until we either find a resolution or move forward with maybe changing the ordinance."

Pressed on why Frisco added home bakers to their city-zoning ordinance last year, Carr couldn't pinpoint an exact reason, "We just update different ordinances on a regular basis. It was a five-minute discussion and was added with a bunch of other stuff."

The ordinance may have been a result of other citizens that have run small markets out of their homes.

"In addition to the cottage food ordinance," Carr said, "we don't allow people to sell other things from their houses. And for zoning we can't just niche out a certain type of business. We've had people basically set up little department stores in their garages with people coming and going all the time. "

There's also an inspection issue. SB 81 specifically reads that local health departments cannot inspect these home kitchens, which apparently works their nerves as health inspectors.

"There's just no way for our people to get in," said Carr. "If there was some form of oversight where we could just look at it, then we'd feel better about it."

Carr and other officials with the City of Frisco said Medley and those at the meeting probably follow sanitary guidelines, but worry that's not the case for everyone -- pointing to the lowest common denominator.

Kelley Masters, who has fought long and hard for Texas home bakers, hopes Frisco has a change of heart.

"I hope the city of Frisco moves quickly to revise their ordinance," Master said, "allowing the Medleys, and other cottage food operators like them, to operate peacefully. The Medleys were not singled out because of any kind of a complaint; they were targeted because they had received a positive write-up in a local magazine."

She adds that she hopes any future complaints about any particular cottage food operator are worked out on an individual basis rather than a complete ban.

For now, though, Frisco is sitting tight.

"We're not shutting them down," Carr said. "We're early in the process and if we can't come to some sort of solution then we'll bump it up to a higher priority. And if we need to look at making some change in the ordinance, we'll look at that."

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29 comments
Guest
Guest

What requirments?  Day cares have requirements regarding the handling of food.  Cottage food people don't want anything.  The bill states that no health department can regulate.  Day cares don't have that in place for them.

Jonesiegal
Jonesiegal

This is just nuts.  Obviously if someone was using poor cleanliness practices, then people would not buy from them.  The products must be paid for in the house.  I am sorry but if I felt like the food was not clean, I would not hand over my money.  There is no way for the public to see the kitchens that bake food at grocery stores or in restaurants or bakeries, so of course someone needs to inspect those on a regular basis.  But we the consumers will be picking up and seeing what is going on or before and maybe after.  So why is it a big deal if I want to hand over my money to someone to make me something?  Why do they think it is their responsibility to keep me safe.  I am more than capable and smart enough to take care of that myself. 

Guest
Guest

HA! This is a joke.  The city doesn't have enough money in the budget for health inspectors for the safety/sanitation of the hundreds of restaurants people frequent to on a daily basis yet this topic is a concern? Most restaurants don't even have ServeSafe qualified employees nor do they have the resources to train employees properly.....what a joke.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

It's clear to me that Carr is in the oven with Big Cake and they are all trying to frost over this issue.

David Whitten
David Whitten

What a ridiculous concern.  Aren't there better things to do than this?  Some people need to mind their own business & let others live in a so-called 'free society."  Homeowner Associations might rule the world one day.  Let's hope to God this does not happen.  

Annabel
Annabel

Frisco zoning laws permit home day care operations, but ban home bakeries? You tell me... which one generates more traffic, more noise, more inconvenience for the neighbors? ("Oh, those pesky bakers, making those SMELLS...!")

Plus, um, what do you think they're feeding those kids? They should be so lucky to get a home-cooked meal every day. It's probably bologna and "cheese product" cut into little squares and served on crackers, with a side of a high-fructose corn syrup-enriched fruit drink served out of a plasticized box.

For shame, Frisco, for singling out home bakers with this ridiculous zoning ordinance!

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Isn't Frisco a fairly conservative, let the free market, not those commie Washington dictators, decide "what is what"....kind of places? Then, why would Frisco wish to control a future small business? Isn't that being hypocritical to the majority of their citizens political/economic/philosophical beliefs?

Apelila72
Apelila72

It funny how they want to "look in" on the home who bakes; however they won't look into the LEGAL restaurants who serve food to our family to ensure they follow the guidelines.  Roaches, dirty, messy, oily restaurants to this day sell their food to the open public but home bakers seem to be any worse???  

Guest
Guest

'It was a five minute discussion and was added with a bunch of other stuff.'   Exactly, folks! Someone tried to slip it by unnoticed. The questions Frisco residents should be asking is "WHO is so threatened by the passage of this law that they are trying to sneak in new zoning rules to make it difficult for home bakers and what other rules are being passed in such a sneaky way?"  As to Mr. Carr's concerns - does the fact that someone "looks at" a restaurant kitchen guarantee that a patron won't get sick? No. You going in and looking at a home kitchen wouldn't make a difference, except that the health departments would then cry "unfunded mandate" to demand more funds for their budgets and charge the bakers inspection fees.  The bakers can only sell NON-POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS items; it isn't like they have been given permission to sell tamales, pigs-in-blankets, soups, sandwiches, breakfast tacos, cheesecakes, etc. 

twinwillow
twinwillow

Apparently, Frisco's retail bakeries and restaurants are afraid of a little competition from "mom's" apple pie.

Guest
Guest

"If there was some form of oversight where we could just look at it, then we'd feel better about it."

To me, this seems to imply far more than the innocent phrasing sounds, and certainly doesn't apply only to a baker's bill.

Jesus
Jesus

I heard that God was recently kicked out of his HOA because he insisted on flying a cheesy Cincinati Bengals flag over the three rusted out 70's era Oldsmobiles. sitting on blocks in his driveway.

I'm guessing he's not gonna let them rule the world... and I would know.

Guest
Guest

If the daycare gives food they have state requirements.  If you are going to use another type of business don't forget to get all of the facts.

broadside
broadside

crikey! you've been watching your hbo, haven't you?

biff
biff

The difference is, people need daycare. You don't need cake, pies, or cookies. If daycares bother you that much, don't move into the neighborhood.

broadside
broadside

nope. more indicative of austin politics, actually...

Leroy Jenkem
Leroy Jenkem

Yes, that's absolutely true, but a fiftysomething fussbudget with an axe to grind always beats four aces in Frisco. I'm figuring that the person trying to push this through was busted in the past for something similar, and now wants to tattle on everyone else. Either that, or the perp is the equivalent of the dolt who drives 45 in the fast lane of the highway because s/he has "issues" with anyone going any faster.

Sacmankc135
Sacmankc135

HELL IT WON'T BE LONG BEFORE SOME MORON POLITICIAN COMES INTO YOUR HOME AND COMMAND THAT YOU FOLD THE TOILET PAPER INSTEAD OF GRABBING A HANDFUL.........WHEN THAT HAPPENS THAT LOUD BANG YOU HEAR WILL BE MY..................WELL YOU KNOW, BEING FIRED!!

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

Exactly.  'Hey, if you'd only let us meddle, find a way to apply fees or taxes, we'd be fine with you.'

Guest
Guest

Cottage food producers have state requirements also.  The issue is that the City of Frisco doesn't seem to care about children who eat home prepared food in a day care setting, but they find it unthinkable to have someone make a cake and sell it from the same home setting.

bowlcrazy
bowlcrazy

 Have you ever tried to eliminate gluten from your diet.  It is a god sent that there is someone out there baking for people with food allergies Check the rules the state set in place there are guidelines that must be followed  You don't need day care just stay home with your kids btw that last line is just as narrow minded as your comment

TLS
TLS

As long as your toilet paper roll hangs over instead of under you're good.

Sacmankc135
Sacmankc135

It sounds to me that Frisco is trying to be another Highland Park, but the idiots in City Hall forget, just a few years ago they were a bunch of *DUMB HAYSEEDS*, only thing that seems to remain is the DUMB.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Southpaws usually attatch their TT to roll under. True!

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