UDO Day 11: A Mixed Bag of Mixed Use

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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.

While the cleanup effort in Raleigh continues and power is restored to homes and business throughout downtown after the April 16 tornado, we’re still chugging along through the UDO.

Last week, we skipped ahead to Chapter 11 so we could learn who’s in charge of making all of these decisions, but today we’re back to the beginning and taking a look at Chapter 3, which deals with mixed-use districts.

Article 3.1 defines these districts, but generally speaking, a mixed-use district is one that mixes residential with business, either by including it or complementing it. Each district has a maximum height and can designate a frontage. We’ll learn more about heights and frontages later.

All of these mixed-use categories are new and were put in place to be compatible with the future land use categories in the Comprehensive Plan. Christine Darges, project manager for the UDO, said the reason for this was to avoid conflict in the future.

Here is each mixed-use category in a nutshell:

Residential Mixed Use (RX)

Residential Mixed Use allows for variety of housing options that include detached and attached houses, townhouses and apartments. According to the code, “RX is not intended to provide for large areas exclusively dominated by multi-unit living, but provide for neighborhoods that successfully integrate single-unit, two-unit and multi-unit living together.”

This district also provides for some retail, which could be placed in the corner unit on the ground floor of an apartment building.

Office Park (OP)

Office Park is one of the few districts that doesn’t allow for residential units. It would primarily be used for office space and limited retail and act as a transition between higher-intensity mixed use and residential areas. We’ll learn more about transitions on Day 13.

Office Mixed Use (OX)

Unlike the Office Park district, Office Mixed Use would allow for some residential housing options so that it is not predominately employment space.

Neighborhood Mixed Use (NX)

Neighborhood Mixed Use would include retail, service and commercial all within walking distance of an established residential area.

Commercial Mixed Use (CX)

Living where you work is the motto of Commercial Mixed Use. The district would be primarily used for commercial properties, but strongly encourages residential and retail units. It would also be “compatible with established residential neighborhoods,” according to the code.

Downtown Mixed Use (DX)

Downtown Mixed Use would be a mixed bag of retail, commercial and residential housing, exactly like what we see in Downtown Raleigh today.

Industrial Mixed Use (IX)

Industrial Mixed Use would include light industrial, manufacturing or research and development. It would include opportunities for residential housing, but housing would only be allowed on the upper stories of mixed-use buildings.

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