Most of the decisions made in applying and enforcing zoning regulations in Wake County's zoning jurisdiction are made daily by the Zoning Administration staff. In doing so, staff often interpret the meaning of zoning regulations that are unclear and/or judge whether or not a particular requirement applies to a particular situation. To ensure that the County's zoning regulations are applied fairly, the Unified Development Ordinance established a process whereby any interested person who believes Zoning Administration staff misinterpreted a zoning regulation, misjudged its applicability or inapplicability to a particular situation, or otherwise erred in applying it, may appeal the staff decision to the Wake County Board of Adjustment.
* An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the decision being appealed (unless the Zoning Administrator certifies that a stay would cause imminent peril to life or property or seriously interfere with enforcement of the UDO).
Review of appeal applications occurs in accord with defined cycles that accommodate compilation of a record of the decision being appealed, preparation of a staff report, a public hearing and review by the Board of Adjustment.
Initiation: After preparing an application, the applicant must submit it to Zoning Administration staff within 30 days after the decision being appealed. (Zoning Appeal Application) In addition, the applicant must include the following with the application:
- A list (2 copies) of the parcel identification numbers (PINs), owners, and the mailing addresses of the owners of all parcels adjoining, including across the street from, the parcel(s) making up the property which appeal is being considered. This may be obtained from GIS staff.
- Stamped, pre-addressed business envelopes (size 10) for each owner on above list, with return address reading: Wake County Planning/Zoning Administration; P.O. Box 550; Raleigh, NC 27602-0550 [1 set]
Staff Preparation: After receiving an application, Zoning Administration staff compiles a record of the decision being appealed and prepares a staff report explaining their reasons for its decision. Staff then submits the application, record and staff report to the Board of Adjustment.
Board of Adjustment Review: In reviewing appeal applications, the Board of Adjustment acts much like a panel of judges. It holds a hearing to allow the staff, applicant and other interested parties to present competent, substantial and material factual evidence relating to the appealed decision. It then makes findings of fact supported by the presented evidence. Based on those findings, the Board decides whether or not the Zoning Administration staff erred in making the decision being appealed. The Board may affirm the staff decision or modify the decision (reversing it in whole or in part).
Note: The applicant bears the burden of presenting sufficient factual evidence to support findings of fact that allow the Board to decide in favor of the application.
Note: Because the Board may only consider evidence presented at the hearing, it is improper for the applicant or other interested parties to communicate with Board members outside the hearing.
The applicant or other aggrieved party may appeal the Board's decision to Superior Court, provided the appeal is made within 30 days after the written notice of the decision is delivered to the applicant and is filed in the Zoning Administration offices.
For more information about zoning appeals and the application review process, contact Brenda Coats: 919-856-6215; FAX: 919-856-5824; Wake County Zoning and Subdivision Administration, PO Box 550, Raleigh, NC 27602-0550.
Zoning Administration staff members are located at the Permits/Plans Review Center, Mall level, Wake County Office Building, 336 Fayetteville St., Downtown Raleigh.