Home bakers under fire in Frisco

FRISCO — Jaime Medley cranks on the mixer inside her Frisco home to make a batch of specialty bread for her three children. “This whole time we were operating under the Texas bakers’ bill, all very legit… or so we thought,” she said. Medley, her father, brothers, and all three children are allergic to gluten. And gluten-free baking can be tr…

by TERESA WOODARD WFAA Posted on May 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 10:54 PM

FRISCO — Jaime Medley cranks on the mixer inside her Frisco home to make a batch of specialty bread for her three children.

“This whole time we were operating under the Texas bakers’ bill, all very legit… or so we thought,” she said.

Medley, her father, brothers, and all three children are allergic to gluten. And gluten-free baking can be tricky.

“Gluten is in wheat, rye, and barley,” she explained, “and there’s not one flour that will substitute cup-for-cup for traditional wheat flour … so I have to have five things out to make up what I need.”

Medley has become a skilled gluten-free baker, and in September, Texas law changed, allowing her and others across the state to begin selling what they bake in their homes, from their homes.

It’s called a cottage food production operation.

“We feel like we’ve really found our place in this community by having this business and reaching out,” she said. “We’ve met so many people in Frisco and surrounding areas with special diet needs that can’t find home-baked goods anywhere else.”

Earlier this month, however, Medley was notified that she was breaking city code. She received a “Courtesy Notice of Violation.”

“That kind of upset the apple cart for us,” she said.

Frisco does not permit food operations from homes. The city’s ordinance contradicts state law, but it’s still supposed to be observed.

“There are other states that regulate home cottage,” said Frisco’s Director of Development Services John Lettelleir. “They do require certain health aspects to be carried out, so it’s a concern brought up by our health division.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday night and told Lettelleir to begin working toward holding a public hearing in the future about home-based businesses. It’s possible a committee could also be formed to decide how to proceed.

They aren’t shutting Medley’s business down, but they aren’t guaranteeing anything, either.

“It’s not like they’re saying ‘no,’” she said. “They’re talking with us. I give them credit for doing that.”

Medley said she wants the city to feel comfortable with home bakers. “I want the bakers to feel like we have our rights, and we’re operating under the state bill,” she said. “I’d like a win-win if that’s possible for everybody.”

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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