​Submittal/Review Process (as of 1/1/2003)

 
Regular subdivisions involve a 3-step review and approval process:
  1. Planning Director or Planning Board approval of a preliminary plan (See Preliminary Plan Approval Review Process below) showing the proposed general design of lots, roads, utilities, open space, etc.;
  2. Subdivision Administration staff approval of a detailed construction plat for the associated development; and
  3. Subdivision Administration staff approval of a record plat showing the final layout of lots, open space parcels, rights-of-way and easements.
 
Note: Under State law, no proposed subdivision lot may be sold, offered for sale or developed until a record plat showing the lot has been approved by the County in accord with the appropriate process and has been recorded with the Wake County Register of Deeds.
 
Any person considering dividing their property into additional parcels for sale or development should first contact Subdivision Administration staff to determine whether such division is a subdivision and, if so, whether it is a regular subdivision or a minor subdivision.
 

View the Recent Applications for Preliminary Subdivision Approval

 

Preliminary Plan Approval

Review Process
It is strongly recommended that any person considering seeking approval of regular subdivision first contact Subdivision Administration staff, who will explain the review process, applicable requirements and standards, and potential issues, and provide the necessary forms and checklists. This preapplication conference also provides an opportunity for the prospective subdivider and the Subdivision Administrator to discuss how the Subdivision Ordinance's neighborhood recreation area contribution requirement can be met.
 
Review of applications for preliminary subdivision plan approval occurs in accord with defined cycles that accommodate comprehensive review by County staff and outside agencies, preparation of a staff report and recommendation, and review by the Planning Director and/or the Planning Board.
 
Initiation: After preparing an application (including plans), the applicant must submit it by one of the prescribed submittal deadlines, using the submittal checklist to ensure completeness (see submittal checklist, Preliminary Subdivision Plan Approval Application and traffic impact analysis guidelines (version 5/26/04), Preliminary Subdivision Plan Approval Checklist and Preliminary Subdivision Plan Approval Checklist of Applicable Standards).
 
Note: The fee for review of an application for preliminary plan approval is $1,000.
 
Staff Review: After an application is accepted as complete, Subdivision Administration staff post notice of the application on the Planning website (see Pending and Recent Applications for Preliminary Subdivision Plan Approval) and the County staff and outside agencies involved in the development review process (Development Review Staff, or DRS) will review it for compliance with all applicable standards.
 
Subdivision Administration staff will notify the applicant of the DRS findings and, if appropriate, invite him/her to revise the application to address those comments. The applicant must indicate within 5 days whether they intend to revise the application.
 
If the application is to be revised, the applicant does so and must submit the revised application to the Subdivision Administration staff by the prescribed deadline. The revised application is then reviewed by relevant staff members.
 
The Planning Director will make a decision to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. If the original, or the revised, application fully complies with all applicable standards and requirements or has only minor deficiencies that can be addressed through conditions of approval that are accepted by the applicant, then the Planning Director may approve the application administratively with no action necessary by the Planning Board. If the application involves a variance, or if the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Planning Director, then a staff report shall be made (including a staff recommendation), and the application shall be forwarded to the Planning Board for review and a final decision.
 
If the application involves a variance, it must be forwarded to the Planning Board. The application may also be forwarded to the Planning Board if the applicant is dissatisfied with the Planning Director's decision and requests Planning Board review in writing within 7 days of receiving the Planning Director's decision. In either case the Subdivision Administration staff shall prepare a staff report containing the final staff findings and recommendations and forward it to the Planning Board for review and final decision. The Planning Director's decision becomes final if the request is not made within the 7-day period.
 
Subdivision staff will post the staff report and notice of the upcoming Board meeting on the application on the Planning Department website.
 
Planning Board Review: In reviewing applications for preliminary subdivision plan approval, the Planning Director or Planning Board considers only whether or not the proposed development would meet all applicable standards and requirements set forth in the County's Subdivision Ordinance. They may approve an application only after concluding that the application meets all applicable standards and requirements. The Planning Director and the Planning Board may approve an application subject to conditions reasonably necessary to allow it to reach the required conclusion.
 
After hearing public comments and the Board's discussion, the applicant may ask the Board's permission to revise the application to address raised concerns. If the Board grants that request, the review process starts over (albeit accelerated) with submittal of the revised application to Subdivision Administration staff.
 
Approval of the application does not authorize any development, but authorizes the applicant – for a two-year period – to apply for construction plat and record plat approvals for the subdivision or approved phases thereof. Construction plats and record plats for a subdivision, therefore, must be consistent with the preliminary plan approval for the subdivision.
 
If the application is denied by the Planning Board, the applicant may appeal the denial to the County Board of Commissioners, provided the appeal is made within 30 days after the Planning Board's decision (see Subdivision Appeals).
 
 
 

Construction Plat Review

Review Process
It is strongly recommended that any person seeking approval of construction plats associated with an approved subdivision first contact Subdivision Administration staff, who will explain the review process, applicable requirements and standards, and provide the necessary forms and checklists.
 
Applications for construction plat approval may be submitted for the entire subdivision shown on the approved preliminary plan, or for a phase of the subdivision – as shown on a phasing plan approved in accord with the Subdivision Ordinance.
 
Subdivision Phasing
Regular subdivisions are often too large for the subdivider to economically develop as a single project. To accommodate a subdivider's need or desire to phase the financing, development and marketing of an approved subdivision, the Subdivision Ordinance allows approved subdivisions to be developed in phases. These requirements are intended to ensure that any subdivision phase, in conjunction with previously developed phases, can stand on its own as a subdivision with all improvements and open space necessary to serve its residents (in case development of the subdivision is abandoned midstream due to financial difficulty, etc.).
  • A phasing plan must show the phases of development and the requirements that will be satisfied in each phase.
  • Each phase must contain at least six lots.1
  • The number of lots and amount of required open space (including neighborhood recreation area) in each phase and any earlier phases must be at least proportional to the portion of the subdivision site area within the phase(s).
  • The degree and extent of road, water supply, sewage disposal, stormwater management, erosion and sedimentation control, and other required improvements in each phase and any earlier phases, must be sufficient to serve or handle all development within the phase(s).
1 Unless the Planning Board approves a phasing plan as part of its preliminary plan approval after expressly determining that the proposed phasing makes it unlikely that a subdivider would willingly abandon a final phase that contains a required extension of a road or other infrastructure.
 
Because subdivision phasing is so closely related to required improvements, the subdivider should obtain approval of any phasing plan before submitting any application for construction plat approval. [Although a phasing plan may be submitted in conjunction with an application for construction plan approval of the first proposed phase, any need to revise the phasing plan will require the preparation and submittal of a new application for construction plat approval.]
 
Initiation: After preparing an application (including plans), the applicant must submit it to Subdivision Administration staff, using the submittal checklist to ensure completeness.
 
 
Note: The fee for review of an application for construction plat approval is $300.
 
Staff Review: After an application is accepted as complete, staff of County and outside agencies involved in development review will review it for consistency with the Planning Board's preliminary plan approval and compliance with all applicable standards of the Subdivision Ordinance.
 
Subdivision Administration staff notify the applicant of the staff findings and, if appropriate, invite him/her to revise the application to address them. [Note: This is the only opportunity the applicant has to revise the application to address identified deficiencies. Any subsequent revisions must be submitted as a new application – with a new fee.]
 
Subdivision Administration staff may approve the application only if they conclude that it is consistent with the preliminary plan approval and meets all applicable standards and requirements. The staff may approve an application subject to conditions reasonably necessary to allow it to reach this conclusion.
 
Approval of the application authorizes the applicant – for a two-year period – to start construction or installation of roads, utilities, stormwater management devices, erosion and sedimentation control devices (subject to an erosion control plan approved by the Environmental Services Department), and other improvements approved as part of the construction plat approval.
 
If the application is denied, the applicant may reapply or may appeal the denial to the County Board of Commissioners, provided the appeal is made within 30 days after the Subdivision Administration staff's decision (see Subdivision Appeals).
 
 

Record Plat Review

Relationship to Required Subdivision Improvements
Generally, no application for record plat approval may be accepted until construction or installation of all improvements (roads, centralized water supply and sewage disposal facilities, stormwater management devices, erosion and sedimentation control devices, etc.) that are required or necessary to serve the subdivision has been completed.
 
The Subdivision Ordinance provides an exception, however, whereby an application for record plat approval may be accepted and approved if it contains a schedule for completion of uncompleted improvements and acknowledgements of:
  • the subdivider's responsibility for completing all required improvements in accord with the schedule and the preliminary plan approval;
  • the subdivider's responsibility for maintaining all required improvements until such responsibility is assumed by a public agency or other appropriate entity;
  • the subdivider's obligation to disclose the above responsibilities to all prospective lot buyers.
 
 
Review Process
It is strongly recommended that any person seeking approval of record plats associated with an approved subdivision first contact Subdivision Administration staff, who will explain the review process, applicable requirements and standards, and provide the necessary forms and checklists.
 
Applications for record plat approval may be submitted for the entire subdivision shown on the approved preliminary plan, or for a phase of the subdivision – as shown on a phasing plan approved in accord with the Subdivision Ordinance.
 
Initiation: After preparing an application (including the plat), the applicant must submit it to Subdivision Administration staff.
 
Note: The fee for review of an application for regular subdivision record plat approval is $300 for lot-by-lot subdivisions and $300 for cluster subdivisions.
 
Staff Review: After an application is accepted as complete, staff of County agencies involved in development review will review it for consistency with the Planning Board's preliminary plan approval, consistency with the construction plat approval, compliance with all applicable standards of the Subdivision Ordinance, and compliance with applicable recordation requirements.
 
Subdivision Administration staff notify the applicant of the staff findings and, if appropriate, invite him/her to revise the application to address them. [Note: This is the only opportunity the applicant has to revise the application to address identified deficiencies. Any subsequent revisions must be submitted as a new application – with a new fee.]
 
Subdivision Administration staff may approve the application only if they conclude that it is consistent with the preliminary plan approval and the construction plat approval, and meets all applicable standards and requirements.
 
If the application is approved, the applicant must record the plat with the Wake County Register of Deeds within 15 days after the approval date and submit an authorized copy of the recorded plat to the Subdivision Administration staff. Otherwise, the record plat approval expires.
 
Recordation of an approved record plat legally establishes the lots, dedications and obligations shown on the plat, and authorizes sale of lots and the submittal of applications for permits necessary to develop the lots.
 
If the application is denied, the applicant may reapply or may appeal the denial to the County Board of Commissioners, provided the appeal is made within 30 days after the Subdivision Administration staff's decision.
 
For more information about subdivision regulation, contact:
 
    Wake County Zoning and Subdivision Administration
    336 Fayetteville St., PO Box 550
    Raleigh, NC 27602-0550
    919-856-6216
    FAX: 919-856-5824
 
Subdivision Administration staff are located at the Permits/Plans Review Center, Mall level, Wake County Office Building, 336 Fayetteville St., Downtown Raleigh.