UDO Day 3: Low density becomes a little more dense

Print More

CORRECTION APPENDED: The public hearing for the UDO will be July 7, not June 7 as written in the original article.

The Raleigh planning department released its draft Unified Development Ordinance April 6. The public has until June 6 to make comments before a public hearing June 7. In order to understand what’s in this new zoning code, the Record is reading it cover to cover and will be writing about what we find six days a week.

Lot sizes will be changing in the new zoning code. One of the challenges we will face as we try to analyze the new code is comparisons with the old code. The municipal code is online, and the current zoning code is in Part 10 Chapter 2. The system is not as user-friendly as you could hope, but the search function works well.

We will get back to lot sizes and setbacks with higher density development soon, but let’s start with the lower-density zoning districts, R-2 through R-6. The “R” stands for residential and the number is the units allowed per acre, so R-4 is four residential units per acre. These districts also allow for churches, school, libraries and that kind of thing—those uses are not changing in the new code.

The new code has two options for lot sizes, conventional and conservation. The conservation option cuts the old lot sizes nearly in half across the board for residential districts.


Lot size chart

Old code New code, conventional option New code, conservation option
R-2 20,000 20,000 10,000
R-4 10,890 10,000 6,000
R-6 7,260 6,000 4,000


Setbacks, meaning how far a structure is from lot lines, are not changing from conventional versus conservation options in the new code. The one change in the new code is the minimum setback from a side street in R-2 and R-4. That setback minimum had been reduced from 30 feet to 20 feet.


Set backs chart


Old code R-2 R-4 R-6 New code R-2 R-4 R-6
From primary street (min) 20′ 20′ 10′ From primary street (min) 20′ 20′ 10′
From side street (min) 30′ 30′ 20′ From side street (min) 20′ 20′ 20′
From side lot line (min) 10′ 10′ 5′ From side lot line (min) 10′ 10′ 5′
Sum of side setbacks (min) 20′ 20′ 15′ Sum of side setbacks (min) 20′ 20′ 15′
From rear lot line (min) 30′ 30′ 20′ From rear lot line (min) 30′ 30′ 20′


Stay tuned next week for more on lot sizes and setbacks as we look at what these numbers mean and how they work in higher-density areas.


Comments are closed.