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As the City of Raleigh continues to grow, we at the Development Services Department routinely seek ways to improve our processes. To address issues that may result due to property constraints and building setbacks, we will be implementing a new survey requirement for all infill lots (defined per UDO section 2.2.7), as well as for any projects with lots that appear to substantially deviate from the approved plans. Infill construction often occurs in older neighborhoods where the lot lines are no longer distinguishable.

Beginning March 1, 2018, a survey performed by a professional land surveyor licensed in the state of North Carolina, must be completed and submitted to the City of Raleigh for all infill construction projects. The City recommends that this take place once the forms are completely in place (before concrete is poured) or at the owner and/or builders discretion at the foundation stage (after concrete is poured, but prior to any framing or vertical construction occurring). This flexibility is provided to align with other entities, that at times may require a similar survey, and thus allows for combining of the two.

There will be no change to the initial plan submittal and/or application requirements. Please stay tuned for more information, both through this blog and the city website.


For the purpose of this requirement the following definition shall apply to a Foundation /Form Survey:

  • Foundation/Form survey: A sealed and signed survey by a North Carolina licensed Land Surveyor, which attests to the horizontal and vertical location of the building foundation and/or forms, which clearly indicates the set back dimensions ( on all sides and to any accessory or main buildings); any deviations from the approved plans clearly noted, and a statement that foundations and/or forms were found to be in conformity with the approved plans ( any exceptions/deviations noted). In addition an average grade reference datum benchmark , as determined by section 1.5.7 of the UDO , shall be staked on site, and protected for the zoning inspector to use for determining final height compliance at time of the building final. This reference datum location and height shall be clearly indicated/referenced in the prepared sealed document as well as the height of the top of forms or foundation relative to this datum.
  • UDO section 1.5.7 ( A) 2 “Average grade is determined by calculating the average of the highest and lowest elevations along pre development grade or improved grade ( whichever is more restrictive) along the front of the building parallel to the primary street setback. Where mass-grading has been approved by the City average grade shall be considered the improved grade following such mass grading.”
  • UDO section 1..5.7 (A ) 4 “ where the property slope increases to the rear , building height is measured from the average point at grade of the front and rear wall planes.”
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There have been some new changes made to the Preliminary Site Plan and Subdivision review and approval processes which are designed to make things more consistent and efficient for everyone involved. This should save time in what can often be a time-consuming process. The modified approval process now more clearly defines conditions and requirements that help clients stay compliant from one step of the development process to the next.

We have also established a new benchmark for the Administrative Action document. The benchmark is now 15 days from the time all reviewing trades have approved or conditionally approved the preliminary plan—which provides predictability where it previously did not exist.

So you may be wondering, “What do I do with my Administrative Action document once I have it?” Well, the document itself includes specific next steps that are clearly labeled, and to ensure that staff, property owners, developers and contractors are all “in the know” about the document it is now required to be applied to the second sheet of all future submittals with the exception of final plats.

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The City of Raleigh Development Services Department has replaced the face-to-face Due Diligence Session with a new online version. Just like before, this service is free of charge and allows clients to learn what development is and isn’t possible on a specific property. The Due Diligence Online Service (DDOS) will continue to address high level questions and issues related to the development of property.  Review staff will comment on site review trades (current planning, urban forestry, stormwater, fire and transportation) only.  In other words, information related only to the parcel(s) and any general regulatory items that may be applicable based on project parameters.

How do I submit for a DDOS?

  • To submit a DDOS go to the online form and fill out the property data.
  • Once staff has completed the DDOS review, each applicant will receive an email containing staff comments, based on a predetermined scope of review.

What do I need to keep in mind when submitting for a DDOS?

  • Only contiguous properties are allowed to be submitted, and multiple parcels will be reviewed as a combined assemblage.
  • Comments generated during the DDOS are based solely on existing zoning of the property.
  • If a formal development application is submitted after a DDOS, and any development details or site information have changed, it is possible that staff comments may be different from those provided during a DDOS.
  • Information received should be considered advisory-only, no approvals or permits are issued with a DDOS. If a formal regulatory-based review is desired, please consider one of our other face-to-face services.
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PlanningRecruitment1000x750The department is embarking on a nationwide search for a new Zoning Administrator to oversee the UDO with consistency and fairness. Until the position is filled, Assistant Planning Director Travis Crane will serve as Zoning Administrator. To maintain capacity during this transitional period, the Department has hired a temporary employee that may be familiar to some: Christine Darges. Ms. Darges was previously employed as an Assistant Director in the Development Services department, where she managed the development review process. During her time with the city, she served as the project manager for the development of the UDO. Her primary focus will be text change development and assistance with zoning code interpretations. Her office is located on the third floor of One Exchange Plaza.  Ms. Darges can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 919-996-2625, Tuesday – Thursday.

Stay tuned for more as the position becomes available on https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/raleighnc.

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GSI2Are you interested in making your development projects more “green” while meeting both stormwater management and landscape requirements for your site? The City of Raleigh recently adopted text changes to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that make it easier for you to include Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practices into land development.

How it Works

GSI uses both natural and constructed landscape features that capture, absorb, and store rainwater that otherwise would go directly to storm drains and local waterways. These features remove pollution and reduce impacts from the volume of stormwater runoff that enters Raleigh streams and lakes. 

By using GSI practices, you can invest in and improve the water quality of local waterways; co-locate site features, such as adding a stormwater treatment within building setback; and more efficiently use developed land area.

GSI Benefits

Here are a few benefits to including GSI practices in your development plans:

  1. GSI features serve multiple purposes in required landscape area, which decreases development costs, conserves natural resources, and does not require stormwater management to “compete” for a site’s available land area.
  2. Installing GSI in the City right-of-way to treat stormwater runoff coming from streets can make more land area available for other uses.  You may also be eligible to receive payment from the City for the difference between traditional right-of-way infrastructure development and GSI practices.
  3. You will have more flexibility in a site’s development design to make it easier to use GSI practices.
  4. You can use more stormwater management treatment options in the Watershed Protection Overlay Districts, rather than using only traditional practices, like wetponds.

Get Started

Visit raleighnc.gov to learn more about what to expect when submitting your development site designs and plans. There is information about changes made to the UDO to incorporate GSI practices, landscaping requirements to follow when using GSI practices, and new requirements for the Falls and Swift Creek Watershed Protection Overlay Districts.

Questions can be directed to the Stormwater Management Division at [email protected] or 919-996-3940. 

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The City of Raleigh is currently updating the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Once complete, it will serve as the key policy document intended to make Raleigh more workable, livable, and prosperous. The plan provides an integrated approach to Raleigh’s physical development and related economic and social issues, with an emphasis on environmental, economic, and social sustainability and enhancing land use and transportation coordination. The plan integrates and coordinates the plans of many City departments.

The draft update to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan is now available online. In order to make reviewing this document easier, City Planning has provided updated chapters formatted with the new design and a “Blackline” version with marked-up text highlighting specific changes.

A survey has also been developed to capture comments on four focus areas: Sustainability, Development Transitions, Housing, and Transportation. Thank you for your interest in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update.

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Get In Touch

  • Development Services
    Customer Service Center
    1 Exchange Plaza
    Raleigh, NC 27602
  • 919-996-2495
  • Litchford Road
    Satellite Office
    8320-130 Litchford Road
    Raleigh, NC 27615
  • 919-996-4200