The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners will conduct a legislative public hearing Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. to consider adoption of text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The text amendments are in response to the new NC General Statute 160D which consolidates current city and county enabling statutes for development regulations into a single, unified chapter to clarify local government authority. Local governments are required to amend their development ordinances by July 1, 2021, for consistency with the new statutes.
For municipalities, compliance with the state statutes is necessary to retain zoning and development authority. Over the past several months, planning staff have been evaluating current UDO processes and requirements to ensure compliance and make improvements to the processes and standards for higher quality development with more effective public participation.
Currently, certain development projects for subdivisions, site master plans and architectural reviews are required to go through a quasi-judicial approval process, which is conducted in a court-like proceeding with decisions based on findings of fact. This often does not permit the public to participate in a meaningful way due to the rigid nature of quasi-judicial hearings. One of the proposed text amendments would allow for administrative approval of site master plans, subdivisions, and architectural reviews, which means approval decisions would be made by staff based on compliance with the UDO.
Such process changes would be coupled with other UDO changes to ensure that appropriate approval processes are paired with certain uses.
Other proposed changes include:
The removal of some uses from certain districts or the requirement of non-administrative approval processes.
The addition of more supplemental use standards for uses or zoning districts that require additional requirements for compatibility.
Changing required landscape buffers to be determined by adjacent uses rather than zoning district for better compatibility.
Strengthening building design standards as permitted by state statute.
Increasing the neighborhood meeting and public hearing notification boundary from 100 ft. to 500 ft. and requiring neighborhood meetings to be scheduled earlier in the review process to allow opportunities for greater resident input.
The proposed text amendments are designed to bring the UDO into compliance, bolster development standards, create efficiency in processes and foster more genuine public participation. For more information, contact Senior Planner Kari Grace at 919-435-9511 or [email protected].