This is a chance for Downtown Raleigh residents to change hats, and imagine how urban planners prepare the ground for future city development.  What is critical to preserve, and what ensures an environment that is both business and resident friendly?  

Like other zoning districts within the new Unified Development Code (UDO), the Downtown Mixed Use zoning district will not just guide the future development of our city, it will define in great detail what can be done, and where.

Downtown mixed use coding is intended to accommodate the most intense mixed use and mixed housing options in the city, and implement the Central Business District land use category within Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

First, it’s important to note that old mixed use categories are replaced with new districts.

All types of buildings are permitted within a Downtown Mixed Use District, except for attached and detached housing.  

* Use of frontages may increase height and intensity opportunities (see below).  ** Transparency = minimum % of windows and doors that must cover a ground or upper story facade

Let’s consider the issue of allowable frontages.  A number of frontage designations have been prepared to address a variety of desired development patterns.

Frontage designations


The zoning maps implemented as part of the UDO are parcel specific, allowing for a variety of mixed use districts to be constructed by applying different height and frontage configurations.

Example: [DX- 5-SH] = Downtown Mixed Use, up to 5 stories with shopfront required

Neighborhood compatibility standards

Another issue is considering neighborhood compatibility standards.  These apply in the mixed use districts and may require a buffer (landscaping, wall or fence) or restrict use, height and form when the following occurs:

  1. site immediately abuts or is within 50 feet of a residential district boundary
  2. the abutting or adjacent property is zoned to accommodate a detached or attached house that is zoned for residential purposes only

In order to regulate use, categories of uses have been established.  Use categories classify land uses and activities based on common functional, product or physical characteristics.  View the table here.

Next Steps

After the public comment period ends on June 6th, the Planning Staff will report back to City Council later in the month.  Using the information gathered, City Council will decide if the draft is ready for the “official” public hearing originally scheduled for July 19th.  The current expectation is that the UDO will be approved by year end, and will become law effective January 1, 2012.

If you would like to post your own comments on this topic, go to the UDO website where you will find this article posted.  But you’ll need to act fast as the public comment period is only open for another week (until June 6th).

This is a lot to wade through, but as residents, we are uniquely qualified to present the local, personal response to what others might imagine in arbitrary, schematic guidelines.  If any of these guidelines run counter to your sensing, as one who lives in the space that others are contouring for future development, your voice is needed.  Please contribute your very valuable feedback while it can still be acted upon.

Thanks for being a mover and shaker in Raleigh!  All it requires is the time it takes to reflect on how these charts might apply to your neighborhood.  Thanks for your input.



Links to Related Documents

Downtown Zoning MapThis is a Downtown view of the color coded zoning map that will be replaced when the UDO codes are eventually applied to create a new map.

Other UDO DocumentsThese include the full draft of the UDO Consolidated Draft.