Growth & Sustainability

The Wake County Board of Commissioners identified five goals in the Growth and Sustainability key focus area. Select a goal from the list below to learn more about the rationale, objectives, links to comprehensive plans or resources, community indicators and performance measures, and strategies.

GS 1: Preserve and enhance the County residents' quality of life through coordinated land use and transportation planning.

Rationale

With over one million residents, Wake County is one of the country's fastest-growing counties. Smart planning is required to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all residents and address development challenges such as affordability and conservation. A comprehensive and partner-based planning approach will create a guiding framework to help Wake County intentionally grow communities where people can thrive. Wake County will continue to work with municipal partners and community stakeholders to implement and monitor the plan through clear, logical and fair land planning regulations and transportation coordination. Building a more inclusive, equitable, healthy and active, sustainable and vibrant community will spur business development and inspire people to make a life here.

Objectives:

  • Develop inclusive and equitable communities13
  • Promote active and healthy lifestyles through appropriate land use
  • Support the development of sustainable and vibrant communities

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Intentional development (new development occurring in the appropriate areas)14
  • Non-automotive trips
  • Open space preservation (includes private protection and conservation area)

Example Strategies:

  • GS 1.1: Update the County's comprehensive land use and transportation plans (PLANWake) to integrate Wake County's growth plans
  • GS 1.2: Identify and consider amendments to the Wake County Unified Development Ordinance to integrate with the PLANWake (the updated comprehensive land use plan)

13 Objectives were adapted from the draft PLANWake document.
14 Performance measures were adapted from the draft PLANWake document.

GS 2: Encourage the use of public transit.

Rationale

Wake County seeks to support a safe, reliable and seamless transportation network to get people where they want to go when they need to get there. Transportation represents the second-highest household cost for most families. An efficient public transit system will enable residents to get around, alleviate this financial burden, improve the environment and stem traffic while enhancing the community's economic mobility and health.

Objectives:

  • Foster relationships with transit partner agencies
  • Advocate for the appropriate allocation of transit funds from federal, state and county sources
  • Encourage multi-modal connectivity to provide a reliable transportation network connecting residents to jobs, retail, businesses and recreation
  • Increase bus ridership

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Bus ridership rates
  • Commuter mode of transportation
  • Percent of non-automotive trips

Example Strategies:

  • GS 2.1: Identify opportunities to create affordable housing along transit corridors by leveraging public land
  • GS 2.2: Implement strategies to address transit affordability and equitable mobility in vulnerable communities and rural areas
  • GS 2.3: Identify and recommend multi-modal transportation opportunities supporting the Wake County Transit Plan

GS 3: Preserve and protect a clean and abundant water supply.

Rationale

Wake County uses a comprehensive and partner-based approach to water management that ensures all residents have access to high-quality, safe-to-drink water. Our commitment to a clean, abundant and long-term water supply ensures healthy communities not only now but in the future. Wake County's One Water approach emphasizes the connection of all water sources, including the protection of watershed and stream buffers, green infrastructure support, coordinated plans for future water needs, as well as stormwater and well water solutions.

Objectives:

  • Preserve the water supply
  • Protect clean, safe drinking water
  • Manage stormwater in partnership with municipalities – regardless of source or origin

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Watershed hydrologic/hydraulic analysis (water supply)
  • Percent of well users acquiring recommended testing
  • Percent of stormwater devices functioning as intended

Example Strategies:

  • GS 3.1: Collaborate with the Water Partnership on One Water initiatives to identify a multi-year sustainable water supply
    • Workplan includes the current groundwater study, clean and safe wells, a sustainable long-term water supply, comprehensive stormwater management plan, green infrastructure, drought protection plan, land conservation in water supply watersheds and protecting drinking water reservoirs.

GS 4: Preserve open space and expand access to parks, preserves, recreation resources and greenways.

Rationale

As the County continues to grow, demand for our natural land and recreation facilities increases. Wake County seeks to protect our green landscapes through the open space program, park and nature preserve facilities, and a network of greenways. The open space program aims to preserve and permanently protect 30% of county land (165,000 acres) as open space for current residents and future generations. Wake County's Parks, Recreation and Open Space division works to meet the growing population's recreational, health and educational needs. A network of county, municipal and public greenways connect us all, providing trails for transit and enhancing County residents' quality of life.

Objectives:

  • Continue commitment to developing parks, greenways and recreational areas
  • Preserve open space land
  • Leverage resources to expand opportunities and access to natural areas
  • Collaborate with municipal and nonprofit partners to preserve and expand natural and recreational spaces
  • Incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion in park planning and programming

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Park visitation rates
  • Acres of open space preservation (includes private protection and conservation area)
  • Open space acres procured directly by Wake County
  • Number of collaborations with municipal and nonprofit partners

Example Strategies:

  • GS 4.1: Partner with municipalities and nonprofits, when feasible, to leverage resources to procure open space and develop park and greenway resources

GS 5: Promote sustainability and address issues associated with climate change.

Rationale

Climate change is expected to impact North Carolina's temperatures, precipitation and sea levels with increasingly harmful consequences in coming years. The impacts of fossil fuel pollution and climate change often disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. To mitigate these issues, Wake County will continue its commitment to energy conservation and natural resources protection. The county will proactively reduce and plan for our use of natural resources, including energy, recycling and solid waste.

Objectives:

  • Continue commitment to reducing energy consumption
  • Continue commitment to renewable energy
  • Support initiatives that encourage community recycling and safe disposal of solid waste
  • Increase native plants throughout the County
  • Support locally grown foods

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Energy consumption
  • Facilities, Design and Construction Department design guidelines adherence
  • Landfill greenhouse gas reduction (in tons)
  • Waste diversion (tons recycled versus disposed)
  • Remaining life (years) of South Wake Landfill

Example Strategies:

  • GS 5.1: Implement the comprehensive solid waste plan to address waste management through 2040
  • GS 5.2: Identify and implement procedures to minimize odors associated with the South Wake Landfill