Discretion and the UDO

Discretion and the UDO

Traffic from development impacts neighborhoods, so it is critical that Council have discretion to consider traffic on rezoning, and not leave those decisions to unaccountable bureaucrats.

Raleigh’s new UDO zoning rules are designed to promote infill redevelopment that maximizes street connections to the surrounding community.  While these are both good-planning principles, the UDO was designed to make those street connections mandatory, with no City Council discretion. There is another good-planning principle that I believe is more important than connectivity.  That is the recognition that every project is different, both in the impacts it generates and in the community setting into which it is placed. For that reason, I made the motion on April 7th to give Council discretion, as elected representatives of our citizens, in judging the vehicular impacts of a project, and deciding how those impacts should be borne by the surrounding community.

I repeated my call for this text change as part of my formally submitted list of 11 UDO Refinements on July 27.


At the August 4th meeting, one Councilor offered an amendment that would require a super-majority vote of Council to place any restrictions on rezoning street connections. That amendment was not accepted, but was sent along to the Planning Commission for review as a separate item. Both my street connection text change and the super-majority proposal are currently being reviewed by the Planning Commission.th. During this period, I worked with a land-use attorney who is a UDO expert and supports my text change effort.  Ultimately, he worked with city staff to develop the text change language that was presented to Council and approved on August 4th.

This street connection text change, along with the other 10 UDO Refinements I’ve submitted to Council and staff represent my work over the last several years as Council’s resident UDO expert.  As an architect, urban design consultant and long-time chair of Council’s Comprehensive Planning Committee, I understand the importance of getting these new UDO rules right – making sure they provide a predictable and equitable development process that yields quality growth and protects the quality of life of our citizens.