On December 1, 2020 Raleigh City Council approved, 7-1, TC-4-20 that Amends the Part 10 Raleigh Unified Development Ordinance to modify how average grade and building height are determined, the applicability of residential infill compatibility and setback standards and how side wall plane height and setbacks are determined. These changes are effective 12/31/20. This text change was brought to City Council by the HBA in January of 2020 and has been pursued through virtual platforms all the way to its adoption. We are very proud and pleased for its passage.
1. Clarify how average grade is determined and how it relates to determining building height.
2. Clarify the applicability standards and street setbacks for residential infill development.
3. Allow an increase in the maximum permitted side wall plane height and clarify how that height is determined.
OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE PER CITY OF RALEIGH STAFF REPORT: The proposed text change would determine average grade as the grade that shall be considered to be average post-development grade above sea level along the building elevation most parallel and closest to the primary street setback, however, for any building subject to the standards of Sec. 2.2.7., average grade shall be determined by averaging the four points consisting of the highest and lowest elevations of both pre-development and post-development grade. When the average post- development grade is lower than the average pre-development grade, then height shall be measured from the average post development grade. When a property slopes upward toward the rear of the lot building height is measured from the average grade above sea level of the front and rear wall plane utilizing the same averaging approaches in Sec. 1.5.7.A 2. above, in order to calculate the average grade between the pre-development average grade and the post-development average grade. When the average post-development grade utilizing both the front and rear wall planes is lower than the average pre-development grade, then height shall be measured from the average post-development grade.
The text change will revise the applicability standards for residential infill compatibility. For establishing infill principal building setbacks, the UDO uses a comparative sample of the surrounding properties. The intent is that infill development should be compatible with the surrounding properties and the neighborhood. As proposed, the comparative sample will be derived by the four closest principal buildings, or three for a corner lot, along the same block face of the street within 300 feet of and oriented toward the same street as the subject lot. The sample need not be equally distributed on either side of the subject lot. When a comparative sample of four principal buildings, or three for a corner lot, cannot be derived, then the minimum setback of the underlying zoning district would apply. The proposed standards would not apply to properties located in Historic Districts, Street Side Historic Overlay Districts, or to Historic landmarks.
The text change will also revise the maximum allowable side wall plane height and its relation to the side setback. The maximum allowed wall plane height adjacent to the side property line will be revised to 25 feet or the average height of the 2 abutting neighboring wall planes, whichever is greater. The wall plane height may be increased 1 foot for each foot of horizontal distance the wall is moved from the side setback line, not to exceed the maximum height allowed within the district. When a side wall incorporates a recession or projection of 2 feet or more, multiple side wall plane heights shall apply. Each side wall plane’s height is determined by averaging the four points consisting of the highest and lowest elevations of each of pre-development and post-development grades along that side wall of the building. In the event the average post-development grade along the side wall of the building is lower than the average pre-development grade along that wall, then side wall plane height shall be measured from the average post development grade.
A copy of the approved text change can be found here: TC-4-20.