Raleigh’s UDO

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Guiding Development through the Unified Development Ordinance


Bringing Raleigh Up to Date

Raleigh is now in the final phase in implementing the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which completely rewrites the existing zoning code for the city.  The UDO was created to simplify and streamline the zoning code that governs land use throughout Raleigh. It includes zoning changes for about 30% of the city.


In May 2015, Raleigh City Council voted to finalize the Proposed Zoning Map draft, and accepted public comments at two highly-attended public hearings in July. On November  16th, the City Council approve the remapping in a unanimous vote. The new development map takes effect in February 2016.

Why do we need a UDO?

The goals of the UDO include protecting water quality within all watershed districts, promoting development patters that encourage multi-modal transportation options such as transit, and provide for orderly growth and development. The plan is intended to guide “smart growth” with increased density and more mixed-use development throughout the Raleigh, which has traditionally grown in a sprawling pattern. Density is directly related to a city’s overall energy consumption (see below), especially in terms of transportation usage and public infrastructure systems.

Overall, the city of Raleigh wants to adopt the UDO as a plan to balance sustainable growth with the protection of existing neighborhoods.


The infographic below highlights the costs of suburban development patterns.  Although it uses Canadian-based statistics, the information is relative to a traditionally sprawling city like Raleigh.


suburban sprawl infographic