If I wanted to save money by living in the floor above a restaurant I opened, would this be legal? A friend brought up the problem of districts (commercial, residential, etc)... would this prevent me from doing this?

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    This all depends on state, city and county zoning. You're much better off simply talking to the local zoning office. Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:48
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    Is there any resource you think would be a good place to start looking for zoning info, if I don't have a place in mind yet?
    – Onyz
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:50
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    Generally, zoning restricts non-residential uses rather than residential uses. There might be some jurisdiction where residential use is forbidden, so you'd have to say where this is.
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:50
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    Missoula prohibits residential use in Light Industrial zones, for example. Zoning is city-based law.
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:52
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    @Onyz it probably doesn't. Zoning is generally specified by the municipality. In some cities, mixed-use buildings with commercial space on the ground floor and residential space above are common. Traditionally, many shopkeepers and perhaps also restaurateurs "lived above the shop." But the details will depend on the zoning regulations that apply to the restaurant's location. The restrictions will vary from one zone to another within the same municipality. (Also, if the restaurant is in a high-rent area, you might save more by leasing out that space and commuting from a low-rent area.)
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Let us assume you want to open a restaurant in Baltimore, in a C4 location. The zoning table Table 10-301 indicates that you can open a restaurant there. While you cannot generally establish a residence there, you can apply for permission for Above Non-Residential Ground Floor or Live-Work residence. Live-Work is essentially "artist's loft", so not applicable. There are a few Industrial zones where a restaurant might be allowed and such a residence might be allowed ("bio-science campus"). You could check the map to get information on a specific location. If you're not in Baltimore, check that location's zoning ordinances and zoning map.

  • There's also the complication that zoning is generally grandfathered, so if you purchased an existing building, it may have uses that don't conform to the current zoning, such as an apartment upstairs even if those aren't allowed anymore. Of course, the most typical way of opening a restaurant would be to lease the space, and the landlord may have leased an upstairs apartment separately to another tenant. Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 9:43

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