Preliminary Site Plans - Planning Commission
This preliminary site plan approval process is an established procedure for the review of site plans, in the form of a public hearing, for selected types of developments by the Planning Commission. This process establishes a means of generating public input related to special types of projects and involves notification of adjacent property owners in accordance with zoning regulations in City Code Part 10 Chapter 2 Section 2132.2. Project types that can not be processed administratively are reviewed by this process. Some preliminary site plans may be final approved by the Planning Commission. A preliminary site plan must be approved prior to client moving forward with obtaining any type of building or grading permit review. City staff may determine that the project can be reviewed using the administrative preliminary site plan approval process instead or may not require preliminary approval at all and may be submitted directly for building or grading permit review. See the general list below for types of plans that fall into the public hearing category.
The Development Services Customer Service Center is responsible for the intake and routing of Preliminary Site Plans requiring Planning Commission approval pursuant to City Code Part 10 Chapter 2 Section 2132.2. When plans are submitted, they are routed to a coordinating planner who is assigned to manage the review. Plans will be reviewed by a team of staff with expertise in Planning, Transportation, Urban Design, Comprehensive Planning, Transit, Stormwater, Utilities, Fire, Zoning, Zoning Enforcement, Forestry and Greenways. Additional staff may be utilized depending upon the type and location of the project.
Review comments will be sent to the client, designer, or project coordinator and the property owner from the coordinating planner in the form of email correspondence. The client will be required to address each of these comments in writing and re-submit a set of revised plans for review. Staff will review all plans in accordance with regulations in the City Code Part 10 Chapters 2 and 3 (Planning and Development) as well as policies, procedures and regulations adopted in the Comprehensive Plan, Public Utilities Handbook, Sidewalk and Driveway Access Manual, Stormwater Design Manual and the Solid Waste Handbook. The Planning Commission review projects in accordance with eight (8) site plan approval standards found in the City Code Part 10 Chapter 2 Section 2132.2.
During the review process, the client will be assigned a date to attend the required Development Review Committee meeting of the Appearance Commission. During this meeting, the plans are evaluated for aesthetics as listed in the Preliminary Development Plan Checklist.
It is recommended that the client attend the local Citizen Advisory Council (CAC) meeting to discuss their project, but it is not required.
At the end of the review process, the coordinating planner will assign a date for the client to attend a Planning Commission meeting. Client should refer to the project review comments sheet to prepare for the Planning Commission meeting. Representatives of the owner and the designer or project coordinator should be in attendance at the public hearing.
After a decision is made by the Planning Commission, a letter of decision will be sent to the client listing the action of the Planning Commission and any conditions of approval. Appeals may be made to any final action of the Planning Commission. If an appeal is requested regarding a decision of the Planning Commission, it will be referred to the City Council for final action.
Summary of the Types of Plans Requiring Planning Commission Site Plan Approval - (See City Code Part 10 Chapter 2 Section 2132.2 for a complete set of requirements.)
- Shopping Centers less than 130,000 sf and located more than 400 feet from a residential use or zone
- Retail uses located within 400 feet of a residential use or zone
- Banks with drive thru less than 25,000 sf; Banks, offices, institutions, hotels, motels greater than 25,000 sf; Parking lots/garages as a primary use greater than 80 spaces or 25,000 sf surface area
- Residential institutions (churches, schools, etc.) in a residential zoning district when criteria for administrative approval are not met
- Residential developments exceeding 15 du/ac in O&I-1 and O&I-2, SC and exceeding 20 du/ac in Thoroughfare district
- Certain multi-family residential and group housing projects less than five (5) acres in size located in residential districts
- Substantial expansions to the above
Summary of the Types of Plans Requiring City Council Site Plan Approval - (See City Code Part 10 Chapter 2 Section 2132.2 for a complete set of requirements.)
- Shopping Centers greater than 130,000 sf or less than 130,000 sf and located within 400 feet from a residential use or zone
- Free-standing retail greater than 70,000 square feet or located within 400 feet of a residential use or zone
- Buildings 80 feet or more in height
- Buildings in the downtown area, except six (6) or fewer dwelling units
- Additional density (above that is allowed in the underlying zoning district), conversions to dwelling units or lodging units with 2-burner cook tops in Pedestrian Business Overlay District
- Construction in LOCALLY DESIGNATED Raleigh Historic Districts requires special approval
- Site plans within the Downtown Overlay District for new structures, additions or expansions to existing structures all in excess of 10,000 square feet
See the City of Raleigh Development Services Glossary for any unfamiliar terms.
Are there any prerequisites to this process?
- If property is on a state road then all NCDOT driveway or encroachment permits must be obtained prior to building permit issuance
- Property must be within Raleigh's Jurisdiction
- Property must be zoned for allowable use in its zoning district. Check for Permitted Uses and City of Raleigh Zoning Map
- Parcel that the plan is proposed to be built upon must be properly recorded at the Wake County Register of Deeds with an assigned PIN (parcel identification number) and address
How do I start the process?
- Meet all prerequisites above
- Complete submittal package (see below)
- Submit the completed plan submittal package to the Development Services Customer Service Center located at One Exchange Plaza, Suite 400 Raleigh NC
What do I need to submit to the City?
Preliminary Plan Acceptance and Routing Schedule:
Preliminary plans may be submitted to the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC) during operating hours Monday through Friday. Upon acceptance, preliminary plans are routed weekly for review among city departments. In order to be reviewed with the current week's schedule, preliminary plans must be accepted no later than 3:00 p.m. Thursday of each week.* Any preliminary plan accepted after 3:00 p.m. Thursday for any reason will be included in the following week's review cycle.
* Exceptions to this schedule occur on weeks with a business holiday. Please contact the DSCSC for more information.
Where can I find detailed information regarding submittals?
- Preliminary Development Plan Checklist
- City Code Part 10 Chapter 2
- See links to the right, as listed in the Process Description, to reference the various design manuals that may be applicable to your project
Where do I submit my application?
All commercial plans should be submitted to the Development Services Customer Service Center.
What are the keys to success?
- Schedule a Pre-Submittal Conference to review issues that may come up in the formal review process
- Select a single point of contact to represent the client to facilitate correspondence with the coordinating planner
- Thoroughly review and confirm that the plans meet the applicable sections of City Code Part 10 Chapters 2 and 3 and the applicable design manuals (see above Process Description for list of manuals)
- Provide a thorough response to city staff comments in writing when re-submitting plans for review
What fees are involved and when do I pay them?
Payment type accepted is check made payable to: City of Raleigh
Fee payments are delivered to the Development Services Customer Service Center located at One Exchange Plaza, Suite 400 Raleigh NC as part of the Submittal Package (see above)
Initial fee includes two review cycles (original review and one re-review). If additional re-reviews are required, additional fees will be required at the time plans are re-submitted for review
How long will this process take?
- Most projects require two (2) review cycles
- Each review cycle takes approximately 10-15 business days (dependent upon the complexity of the project and client's thorough response to prior plan review comments). Plan review comments are typically sent to the client on Wednesdays via email
- Typical approval process takes approximately 10-12 weeks from beginning to end including the two (2) review cycles. An additional 10-15 business days will be required per additional review cycle, if needed