Wake County regulates land development within areas of the county located outside the planning jurisdictions of its 12 municipalities and the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. Policies governing land use, development and design are in the Wake County Unified Development Ordinance, which can be found by clicking the button above.
Land Use & Development Information
Past, Current, and Upcoming Development
Our department maintains records and site plans for subdivisions developed or planned in unincorporated Wake County. View subdivisions approved or developed between 2003 - July 2018.
Submittals after July 9, 2018, can be viewed in the Permit Portal.
Curious about what's happening? Check out our development map, an interactive map that shows pending and recently approved projects in unincorporated Wake County.
For each zoning district, the Unified Development Ordinance specifies permitted land uses and contains regulations controlling the intensity and design of new development. Learn more about zoning classifications and what is permitted.
Other Zoning Procedures
When an applicant believes a regulation has been misinterpreted or incorrectly applied, they can file a zoning appeal.
Where carrying out the strict letter of a zoning regulation would allow no reasonable use of the property, an applicant can request a zoning variance.
It is strongly recommended that any person seeking the rezoning of their property first contact Planning staff, who will explain the review process and potential issues.
Rezoning requests may require a Land Use Plan Amendment and are reviewed by staff before receiving a hearing and recommendation by the Planning Board, then review and decision by the Board of Commissioners.
Learn more about rezoning.
A land use designated as a "special use" in a zoning district is one that might be appropriate if special standards are in place to ensure it is located, designed and operated in a manner that is in harmony with neighboring development. Special Use Permits are granted by the Board of Adjustment through a special hearing and review process set forth in the Unified Development Ordinance.
Learn more about Special Use Permits.
Subdivision & Land Development
The Unified Development Ordinance specifies procedures and standards for dividing a parcel of land into lots suitable for development and for the provision of appropriate access and utility service to those lots. Although state law exempts some divisions of land from county subdivision regulations, most divisions of land in Wake County are subject to the UDO, either as a minor subdivision or as a regular subdivision. The Subdivision Ordinance that was in effect before the current UDO can be found here.
There are generally three types of subdivisions, each with slightly different procedures for development:
- Exempt Subdivisions: Subdivision activities which are deemed exempt by state statute or the UDO.
- Minor and Minor-Limited Subdivisions: When three or fewer lots are created.
- Regular Subdivision: When more than three lots are created or a public right of way is proposed.
Other Subdivision Procedures
When an applicant believes a regulation has been misinterpreted or incorrectly applied, they can file a subdivision appeal.
Where carrying out the strict letter of a subdivision regulation would allow no reasonable subdivision or use of the property, an applicant can request a subdivision variance.