How to open a business in your Raleigh home

ACU New Orleans - 840 Opelousas Ave- Yoga Studio

A yoga studio operating out of a home in New Orleans. | Photo via the City of Raleigh

After City Council adopted a new ordinance changing zoning laws last month (the vote was 6-2), it’s now easier than ever for Raleighites to open a business in their homes. The ordinance goes into effect on Mon., Sept. 5 (90 days after the text change was approved).

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a curious neighbor, we’re here to walk you through what this means.

Getting started

Here’s what you need to know about the new rules:

  • Now, you don’t have to go through the city’s Board of Adjustment for a special-use permit. This cuts down on the time + money needed to open your business.
  • A city staff-issued permit is required instead.
  • If approved, your home will be identified as an Accessory Commercial Unit. ACU’s are businesses located on the same property as a residence.

Business guidelines

  • Hours of operation must be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • At least one person must occupy the home as their primary place of residence.
  • You can employ up to two people not living on the premises.
  • No more than five customers can visit at one time.
  • Drive-thrus, outdoor seating, and outdoor storage are prohibited.
  • Retail and food sales, dry-cleaning, funeral homes and parlors, crematoriums, and wedding chapels are not allowed.

Examples of approved business types

View the full list here (page three).

  • Offices
  • Dance and music studios
  • Sports academies
  • Clothing manufacturing
  • Hair salons
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Production of artwork and toys
  • Graphic design
  • Repair shop

A note for neighbors

If Mr. Jones is setting up a martial arts studio next door, you’ll know. The ordinance requires that neighbors be notified when someone applies to open a business in their home.

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