Street Name Changes
This is a process by which names of existing city streets are changed at the request of citizens. This process requires the review and approval of both the City of Raleigh Planning Commission and the Raleigh City Council. The City Council makes the final decision to approve street name changes.
Why should a street name be changed?
• Street name duplications may be carryovers from historical street names or may be due to new road construction, or to realignment, connection of roads that were previously separate, or disconnection of existing roads that previously formed one continuous route
• There may be cases where a street name is desired by adjoining property owners. Unless there is a public purpose to be served, requesting a name change is not encouraged, for it requires considerable cost to the residents and to service providers such as the City and private utility companies
Street names must be approved before a change can be made. If a street name has not been established, a New Street Name Application must be submitted for approval. The new street name must be unique on a Wake County wide basis and cannot duplicate another street name or approximate the phonetic pronunciation of that name within Wake County. Emergency service response (i.e. law enforcement, fire services, EMS, etc.) and mail delivery can be affected by duplicate names in different locations.
Approvals or Permits Issued
Approval by City Council
If the reason for a street name change is to eliminate or reduce problems associated with a street address or to facilitate emergency service delivery, then the City will initiate and process the street name petition.
If the City is initiating the
process and has not received a petition from one or more of the adjoining
owners, the Planning staff will notify all affected property owners and tenants
to solicit suggestions for a unique county-wide street name. Upon receipt of
the responses, the Planning staff will review them for duplications, and
resurvey the affected property owners and tenants to determine the most
acceptable names from among the non-duplicate suggestions.
Once an acceptable name is determined, Planning staff will draft a recommendation to be forwarded to the Raleigh Planning Commission for review and consideration. If one or more property owners have submitted a petition, it will accompany the recommendation.
The Raleigh Planning Commission will forward this recommendation to the Raleigh City Council for consideration. If the staff survey or the petition submitted by a property owner reflects 100% property owner agreement with the proposed street name, then the Raleigh Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council to adopt a resolution changing the name of the street to the proposed name without the necessity of a public hearing.
If there is not 100% property owner agreement with the proposed street name, the Raleigh Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Raleigh City Council to adopt a resolution of intent authorizing a public hearing. A notice will be sent to all affected property owners and tenants, and the hearing will be advertised in the legal section of the newspaper. At the public hearing, City Council will either adopt a resolution changing the name and set an effective date, deny the request, or send it to a City Council committee for further discussion.
Once the City Council changes a street name, when does it become effective and who does the City notify?
In most cases the effective date will be either the July 1 or January 2 following City Council action. In many instances, after communication with residents and property owners, an effective date agreeable to all parties can be reached. In some instances, the adopted street name change resolution by Raleigh City Council will require a plat with the old and new street names on it to be recorded at the Wake County Register of Deeds.
The City will notify the local utility companies, all City of Raleigh Departments, Wake County Government, North Carolina Department of Transportation -Division of Highways, local utility companies, U.S. Postal Service, residents and property owners of the street name change and the effective date set by Raleigh City Council in the resolution changing the street name. The individual property owners must notify all other parties. Parties to notify may include the Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration, banks and credit card companies, as well as others whom may regularly send mail to the previous address.
Expected Processing Time
This process takes approximately eight (8) to ten (10) weeks. After receiving the necessary documents, city staff will conduct a review to determine the effect of the closing on utility lines in the right-of-way, the need to keep the street open for general circulation, and if any person will be denied access to their property due to the closing.
A staff recommendation is made to the City Manager about whether to hold a public hearing or not. If the City Manager adopts the staff recommendation not to hold a public hearing, the applicant is informed, and may appear before City Council to request authorization for a hearing on the closing. If the City Manager adopts the staff recommendation to hold a public hearing, he makes a recommendation to the City Council to hold a hearing.
If City Council elects to hold a public hearing, they will adopt a resolution of intent which authorizes the City Clerk to advertise as specified by law and notify the abutting property owners of the date, time and place of the public hearing. The City is also required by law to post two signs in the area of the closing serving notice of public hearing. Following the public hearing, the City Council will make a decision or refer the item to a committee for further discussion before final action.
If the City Council adopts a resolution to close the street or alley, then the petitioner will be assessed by the City of the cost of advertisement - less the filing fee - and be required to record a plat officially closing the street at the Wake County Register of Deeds Office within one year of the City Council action date. The plat may include easements for utilities that are to be reserved as well as making note of other conditions that may be attached to the closing, such as maintaining the entire closed area as a shared driveway. Other conditions such as building an appropriate turnaround on a dead-end street before the plat is recorded may be possible. The petitioner will be responsible for the cost of surveying and recording fees.
All closed right of way is split evenly between property owners adjacent to the street or alley being closed resulting in a new property line down the center line of the closed roadway unless other arrangements are made by the affected property owners.
This process takes approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks.