Falls of Neuse Area Plan Update
The Falls of Neuse Area plan is one of 22 area plans currently incorporated into the City of Raleigh Comprehensive Plan. The Falls of Neuse plan was adopted in 2006. It contains policies that cover land use, roadway improvements, and balancing development in an urban watershed area.
The Planning Commission’s review of the Falls North (Falls of Neuse) area plan report and associated Comprehensive Plan amendments wrapped up on August 14 with a recommendation in favor of the plan to City Council.
The last step of the planning process involves City Council review. The Planning Commission’s recommendation will be provided to Council at its August 21 meeting. At that meeting, Council can set a date for a public hearing to allow for input on the plan.
The intent of the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments (packaged as CP-1-18) is to align planning policy documents with the area plan’s vision for recommendations for land uses and potential transportation and parks improvements in the corridor.
The Commission’s Committee of the Whole considered the item at meetings in April, May, and June, and referred it back to the Planning Commission for action at its August 14 meeting. At that meeting, the Commission voted to recommend the plan to Council. The commission also recommended changes to two plan policies that address height guidance at the Falls of Neuse Road/Raven Ridge Road area and tree conservation throughout the study area.
The recommended changes, as well as other information about the plan, are contained in the recommendation and supporting memorandum.
The review process of the study report and Comprehensive Plan amendments will conclude with City Council review. This will involve a public hearing to gather input on the plan.
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Revised draft report available
A revised project report for the Falls of Neuse area plan has been published. The revised report includes a number of changes based on comments received during two public comment periods.
The creation of the report followed a series of public workshops and involved the assistance of project consultants. Two comment periods followed, the most recent ending in early January 2018.
Comments received during those review periods have been incorporated into the revised document. Responses to all comments received, as well as a summary of changes from the first and second comment periods are available for review.
In addition to the revised draft document and a summary of the public input, staff will prepare a set of draft Comprehensive Plan amendments that will help ensure the area plan’s recommendations are implemented.
The revised document and associated plan amendments will be presented to City Council for a referral to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. Once City Council receives the Planning Commission’s recommendation, a public hearing date will be set for the Falls of Neuse area plan project report and Comprehensive Plan amendments.
Summary of Update Process
The update process has included two rounds of public review and comment following the publication of a draft report. That review period generated more than two dozen comments, which were reviewed with the project's Confirmation Group. The Group considered the suggestions in light of public input received throughout the plan process described below.
Input for the plan has come through multiple events, including two workshops and an online survey. More than 100 respondents provided input through the survey, substantially adding to the data gathered during previous events.
More input has been gathered in the form of public review and comment on the draft project report. A revised version of the report included feedback gathered during the review process.
The draft report followed a staff presentation of draft recommendations at a public
meeting on August 10. The recommendations, based public input gathered during
the plan process, relate to land use and transportation considerations along
the corridor. Participants were asked for feedback about the recommendations in
general and to provide input on two options for the area at the Falls of Neuse
Road/Raven Ridge Road intersection. Input from the meeting can be viewed from
the comment cards.
On June 21, the city hosted a community workshop for the Falls of Neuse Area Plan update process. The workshop included a discussion of existing market, transportation, and land use analysis findings and how those factors relate to the area. It also included small group discussions about potential development scenarios for key sites along the corridor. Input from that meeting and a prior public meeting will be used to shape a set of recommendations for land uses and potential transportation and parks improvements in the corridor.
The Falls of Neuse Area Plan update began with a project kickoff meeting/workshop on Wednesday, May 24. Several dozen participants provided their thoughts on issues and opportunities along the corridor.
Presentations and summaries of input from the workshops are available for download in the “Project Information” box to the right.
A “Confirmation Group” – a body of 15 residents, property owners, and representatives of institutions along the corridor – has been selected by City Council. The group will provide oversight of the planning process to ensure that it reflects the input of community stakeholders. The group’s orientation meeting took place on May 1. The first formal meeting, as well as a tour of the area with the group and project consultants, took place on May 18, with subsequent meetings on June 21, June 29, August 7, November 6, and January 8. Meeting minutes are available at the links in the “Confirmation Group” box on the right side of the page.
Purpose of the Plan
Since the plan’s adoption, there have been several changes along the corridor that merit taking a fresh look. These include:
- The widening and realignment of Falls of Neuse Road, which has gone from concept to completed project.
- New recreational resources have opened, including the Neuse River Greenway and Annie Louise Wilkerson MD Nature Reserve, with further facilities planned or now under development.
- The Wake County Transit Plan proposes all-day, hourly service between downtown Raleigh and Wake Forest utilizing this corridor. There is no transit service along most of the corridor today.
- Much of the land within the plan area has been classified as a drinking water supply watershed, subject to overlay zoning that limits development intensity.
- The corridor is largely built-out, with only a few undeveloped sites remaining. Those are surrounded by residential development.
- Recent land use controversy involving two of those sites has cast doubt on current land use plan designations.
- New residential redevelopment in and around the Falls community, of non-contextual character.
The City of Raleigh is initiating a study and market analysis of future land uses along the corridor, to assess by-right and potential development in balance with area residents’ interests and public investment in environmental protection and recreation infrastructure.
The plan update seeks to focus on four main topics:
- Opportunities created by planned expansion of transit service.
- Lessons learned from the implementation of the roadway project, and potential future changes.
- Land use policies consistent with watershed protection.
- For the remaining undeveloped sites, identification of future land uses and scale of development that are viable in the marketplace as well as acceptable to the community.