The Planning Board (in deciding applications for preliminary plan approval for regular subdivisions) and Subdivision Administration staff (in deciding all other subdivision applications and enforcing subdivision regulations) must interpret the meaning of subdivision regulations that are unclear and/or judge whether or not a particular requirement applies to a particular situation. To ensure that the County's subdivision regulations are applied fairly, the Unified Development Ordinance establishes a process whereby any interested person who believes the Planning Director misinterpreted a subdivision regulation, misjudged its applicability or inapplicability to a particular situation, or otherwise erred in applying it, may appeal the Planning Director’s decision to the Wake County Planning Board.

Note: An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the decision being appealed.
In deciding appeals, the Planning Board may interpret the meaning of subdivision regulations and/or determine how they apply in particular situations, but it has no power to vary, rewrite or overrule subdivision regulations. Variances to regulations may be considered only in accord with the subdivision hardship variance review process, and changes to regulations require amending the Unified Development Ordinance – which the Board of Commissioners may do through the ordinance text amendment review process.


Appeals are heard and decided only in accord with the special hearing and review process set forth in Article 19-37 of the Unified Development Ordinance. 

Review Process

Initiation: After preparing an appeal, the person appealing the decision (appellant) must submit it to the Planning Director, with a copy to the Land Development Administrator, within 30 days after the decision being appealed. The appeal must state the alleged error the Planning Director or Subdivision Administration staff made in reaching the decision being appealed, and specify why the decision was in error.
Record and Responses: After an appeal has been received, Subdivision Administration staff sends the appeal to the Planning Board along with a request that it schedule the appeal for a hearing at a future meeting (allowing adequate time for public notice and preparation of responses by interested parties). As soon as the hearing date has been set, Subdivision Administration staff sends notice of the appeal and hearing to the appellant and any other interested parties to the decision being appealed, then compiles a record of the decision being appealed.
During this time, other interested parties may review the appeal and submit responses to the Subdivision Administration staff.
Subdivision Administration staff cause notice of the appeal hearing to be published in a local newspaper of general circulation in the area of the subdivision site. They then submit the appeal, decision record and staff report, and any submitted responses from other interested parties, to the Planning Board for consideration at the hearing.
Note: The appellant bears the burden of presenting sufficient factual evidence to support findings of fact that allow the Board to decide in favor of the appeal.
Note: Because the Board may only consider evidence presented at the hearing, it is improper for the appellant or other interested parties to communicate with Board members outside the hearing.
For more information about subdivision appeals and the appeal review process contact:
Wake County Zoning and Subdivision Administration, 919-856-6216
336 Fayetteville St., PO Box 550
Raleigh, NC 27602-0550
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.