Zoning and Rezoning

Last updated Jul. 07, 2016 - 8:50 am
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Zoning is key to managing city growth. Understanding how it works is important to being an informed citizen. Below you will find help to understand what zoning is and how it is applied in Raleigh, North Carolina.

What is zoning?

Zoning is a legal instrument to regulate the use of land, building size, height and setbacks. Zoning is intended to promote an orderly pattern of development and to separate land uses that are incompatible such as industrial uses and homes.

Not familiar with how zoning works? Read a brief tutorial that outlines some of the basic concepts of zoning, which has been in use in the United States for almost 100 years and in Raleigh since 1923.

Every parcel of land within the city’s jurisdiction, including parkland, has a zoning designation. Zoning districts are found on the iMAPS application, which is a legal document maintained by the Department of City Planning. Any change to the Official Zoning Map is commonly called a rezoning.

What is my zoning?

The Official Zoning Map for the City of Raleigh is updated in our Geographic Information System whenever the City Council adopts ordinance changes. This is a citywide zoning map which is updated on a quarterly basis and is used to depict the current zoning patterns. To determine the current zoning for a specific property, please use the iMAPS application.

For a Zoning Verification Letter, please complete the Zoning Verification Letter Request Form. Submit the completed form with a check made payable to the City of Raleigh for $29 to the following:

City of Raleigh - Department of City Planning
One Exchange Plaza, Suite 304
Raleigh, NC 27601
Attn: Cynthia Taylor

Zoning Verification Letters will be processed in the order received within three (3) business days of receipt. Note that the City of Raleigh does not provide zoning compliance letters.

How can zoning change?

Rezoning is the act of modifying the Official Zoning Map. A rezoning case may be for either a general use district or a conditional use district. The process requires a pre-application conference, neighborhood meeting, Planning Commission review, and recommendation and City Council approval.

All rezoning applications must request a Unified Development Ordinance zoning district. Applications that request a "legacy" zoning district not contained within the Unified Development Ordinance will not be accepted.

Master plans are a visual illustration of site developments proposed within a Planned Development or Campus zoning districts.

The City of Raleigh also implements Character Preservation Overlay Districts in targeted areas to supplement the base zoning districts. Overlay districts are meant to achieve a specific purpose, such as preservation of existing neighborhood built characteristics, protecting public safety and welfare, or conserving natural areas.

Where can I find pending or approved cases?

To view cases that have already been submitted and in the process of being review by staff, visit the Current Development Activities page where cases are organized by case numbers.

The Planning Commission advises the City Council on future growth and development issues that affect the city. The Planning Commission reviews and makes recommendations to the Council on Comprehensive Plan items, redevelopment plans, changes in development regulations, requests to rezone property, and reviews preliminary site plans, group housing plans, and subdivisions.

Public Hearings are held for each rezoning case and allow the City Council to hear from people both in favor and in opposition of each zoning case.

Approved zoning can been found on the Finalized Rezoning Cases page dating all the way back to the 1980s.

How can I get a zoning permit?

The City of Raleigh oversees permitted uses of land based on specific project types. The Zoning Permits for Businesses are routed to Development Services for review, issuance and inspection.

How is zoning enforced?

The City's designated zoning officials have the responsibility to enforce local zoning regulations propagated by City Council.

Where can I find old zoning hearing minutes?

Search past minutes by year: 2013 l 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

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