Master Plans

Last updated Feb. 13, 2019 - 9:29 am

Master plans are a visual component required when a rezoning application is submitted for a Planned Development or Campus rezoning request. It provides a visual illustration of site developments proposed within a Planned Development or Campus zoning districts. As a master plan is a component of a rezoning request, Planning Commission and City Council review are required.

Master plans identify development standards and permitted uses. Components of a master plan include:

  • General layout map
  • Building locations
  • Pedestrian circulation
  • Parking areas
  • Open space and tree conservation plan
  • Utilities
  • Stormwater plan

Anyone requesting approval of a master plan must also submit a rezoning application. Master plans in existence prior to September 1, 2013, may be amended in accordance with Section 4.7.6 of the Unified Development Ordinance. If amendments cannot be approved under these provisions, a rezoning case must be submitted.

City zoning and subdivision regulations allow customization of a master plan to support a specific project type or concept. Upon approval of a master plan, an applicant may proceed to the Development Services Customer Service Center for permitting.

All final site plans are approved through an administrative process in which staff reviews the plans in accordance with the approved master plan. This process requires detailed information to be submitted at the zoning stage. After the zoning and master plan have been approved, the applicant may proceed to the Development Services Customer Service Center for permitting.


  • You must provide actual notice to all property owners in the master plan area who are not applicants in the rezoning
  • You are required to attend a pre-application conference and a pre-submittal conference
  • A neighborhood meeting is required with all property owners within 100 feet of the subject property

Approvals or Permits Issued

Approval of rezoning and Master Plan

Key Steps in the Process

  1. An applicant submits a master plan application package and rezoning application to the Development Services Customer Service Center, One Exchange Plaza, Suite 400, Raleigh NC.
  2. A coordinating planner is assigned to manage the review. The review team consists of staff with expertise in planning, transportation, transit, stormwater, public utilities, fire, zoning, forestry and greenways.
  3. City staff verifies technical compliance with zoning and development regulations, as well as compliance with development policies, standards and guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan. Staff corresponds by email with the client.
  4. The applicant is strongly encouraged to attend a meeting of the local Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to discuss the project.
  5. The Planning Commission considers the application and makes a recommendation to City Council.
  6. City Council holds a public hearing. City Council can approve, approve with conditions or deny the rezoning and master plan.

Expected Processing Time

24 business days for each review cycle while in staff review.

Several staff reviews may be necessary.

After a master plan has been accepted by staff and all technical document reviewed for completion, staff will schedule a Planning Commission meeting within 45 days. The Planning Commission will make a formal recommendation to City Council within 90 days of receipt of the application, unless additional review time is requested.


Next Steps

After approval of a Master Plan, the applicant may proceed to Preliminary Subdivision or Administrative Site Review.

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