Citywide Rezoning Process Begins in Raleigh, NC

Last September, Raleigh’s wholesale revision of its unified development ordinance (UDO) went into effect. At that point, many properties – mostly residential properties – automatically migrated into a “new” zoning district within the new UDO. However, a sizeable number of what we will call “income-producing” properties in Raleigh’s zoning jurisdiction – approximately one-third of property in the City (34,000 parcels), mostly zoned commercial, industrial or multifamily residential – were without a match in the new UDO, in terms of a zoning district. Thus, since September of last year, those 34,000 parcels have remained in the zoning districts defined under Raleigh’s “old” UDO.

The time has come for those 34,000 parcels to migrate to zoning districts defined by Raleigh’s new UDO, with all the accordant regulations that come with those new zoning districts. This is a significant matter for many individuals and businesses owning or occupying property in Raleigh. The following are some opportunities and issues presented by the City’s rezoning processes:

  • The property owner will want to know of and avoid nonconformities on the property created as a result of the rezoning.
  • The property owner will want to avoid a rezoning that is incompatible with current or intended uses of the property.
  • The property owner will want to most effectively navigate a rezoning’s impact on any conditions imposed on the property under the prior zoning laws.
  • The property owner will want to attend to the rezoning of a neighboring property the use of which creates a business complication
  • The property owner will want to use the rezoning as an opportunity to revisit any future plans for development of its property.

In the coming weeks, the City will mail a postcard to the record owner of each property to be rezoned, as well as the owner of properties located within 100 feet of those properties to be rezoned. The postcard will notice the recipient of the proposed rezoning and, according to the City, the postcard will “convey key points and input opportunities”. The following email was circulated May 21, 2014 by the City, which explains the status of the so-called “re-mapping” project and what can be expected:

The City of Raleigh will begin accepting comments from citizens today on the City’s Zoning District Remapping Project. This is the final phase of implementing the Unified Development Ordinance that took effect last September. Obsolete zoning districts will be removed from the Official Zoning Map and replaced by one of the UDO districts, phasing out the old development code. Affected property owners, and those that are adjacent to them, will receive a postcard in the mail conveying key points and input opportunities.

City of Raleigh staff will be available throughout the process to answer questions and obtain feedback. A hotline number, 919-996-6363, has been established for property owners to call and ask questions and comment on the project. A dedicated website,, offers a comparison between existing and proposed zoning, describes the new zoning districts, includes information about zoning fundamentals, and highlights various methods for feedback. All inquiries, no matter how they are submitted, will be logged and responded to in a timely manner.

The public comment period on the initial draft map ends on Sept. 30. The final draft map will be forwarded to the Planning Commission on Oct. 14 for its review and additional public comment. A public hearing will then be held by City Council prior to taking final action on the revised zoning map.

Please contact Raleigh land use lawyers John Cooke (919-755-2192) or Mike Thelen (919-755-2154) or your Womble Carlyle relationship lawyer if you have any questions.

This information was originally published in the North Carolina Land Use Litigator Blog.