old church in a field in southeast raleigh

Zoning, Planning, and Development

Southeast Special Area Study

Future Strategies for Raleigh’s Urban Service Area

Take the Phase III Survey

View the April 20, 2021, City Council Work Session on ETJ Extension options and a PLANWake update. Read theStaff Report and review the Staff Presentation on boarddocs.

The City of Raleigh is considering an extension of its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) into the Southeast Special Study Area (SESSA). This study will examine strategies for future land planning that will conform to the City’s long-range vision and policies for sustainable growth. It will assess the existing and planned infrastructure network (utilities, roads, and greenways), and consider the fiscal impact on City revenues, service expenditures, and capital planning. 

The Southeast Special Area Study is a planning project focused on the future land use, conservation and natural resources, transportation, and public utility infrastructure of approximately 18 square miles in southeast Wake County. The study area is roughly bounded by southeast Raleigh, Wake County’s boundary with Johnston County, Poole Road, Smithfield Road, and Old Baucom Road.  One of the largest area studies ever undertaken by the City of Raleigh, the Study Area encompasses an area roughly the size of the Town of Chapel Hill, NC (see Growth and Extent Comparison). 

Project Details

 
Type:
Area Plans
Project Lead:
Don Belk

Contact

 

Don Belk
Planner II
919-996-4641
Donald.Belk@raleighnc.gov

Service Unit:
Planning

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Strategy

Why do a Southeast Study?

The Southeast Special Area Study is a response to guidance from the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan influences development and conservation decisions through policies such as the Future Land Use Map, which describes the desired future land use. In this map, several Special Study Areas are identified as areas that will require more focused community outreach to determine the preferred land use pattern. The Southeast Study is focused on one of the Special Study Areas. 

In addition, the study area is experiencing changing conditions that make the time ripe for thoughtful planning. Located at the periphery of several cities and towns – including Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale, Wendell, and Clayton – what is now rural in nature will be affected by the nearby growth and development. This includes growing infrastructure, such as public and private utilities and transportation projects like the I-540 connection. Major questions arise as to how this growth will affect natural resources inside the study area, including the Neuse River, N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, State-recognized natural and cultural heritage sites, and remaining active agricultural land. The goal of this planning process is to involve the community in shaping a response to these changing conditions. 

Lead Department:
Planning and Development

Visioning

Understanding the Study Area – Community Engagement Phase One 

The first phase of the project involved research and discussion of the study area to establish a common understanding of the issues and challenges faced. Discussions among city departments, nearby municipalities, the county, and stakeholder organizations helped establish a foundation of information on existing conditions and known projects and opportunities on the horizon. This phase was concluded in September 2019 and included community listening sessions and an online survey. 

Read the Briefing Book. View the Community Meeting Presentation. See the results of the Summer 2019 survey

Community Ideas and Options – Engagement Phase Two 

This phase built on a shared understanding of the study area and considered ideas for land use, natural resources, transportation, and other issues. The input of residents and stakeholder groups was integrated through public meetings and an online survey conducted during Winter 2020. This brief video details the questions asked in the survey. 

Lead Department:
Planning and Development

Planning

Final Recommendations 

View the draft recommendations. Following the community’s input during Phase Three engagement, the recommendations will be refined and prioritized. A draft report will be created and presented at several public meetings.

Lead Department:
Planning and Development

Southeast Special Area Map

Where are we in this process?

Phase 3 (Final Recommendations) of the project is underway. In this phase, the recommendations will be refined and prioritized. A draft report will be created and presented at several public meetings. 

Community Engagement

Engagement with the community of landowners and residents of the SESSA is the cornerstone of this study. The two previous phases of community engagement in the SESSA are cataloged online. View results from the most recent and previous surveys. The Phase III survey will be open until June 30. There is a Phase Three community meeting that can be watched online using the passcode:  TiY?Qq6M

Stay tuned for future engagement opportunities by subscribing to Southeast Study (see sign-up box) or contact Don Belk, project manager for more information on the study. 

Why do a Southeast Study?

The Southeast Special Area Study is a response to guidance from the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan influences development and conservation decisions through policies such as the Future Land Use Map, which describes the desired future land use. In this map, several Special Study Areas are identified as areas that will require more focused community outreach to determine the preferred land use pattern. The Southeast Study is focused on one of the Special Study Areas.

In addition, the study area is experiencing changing conditions that make the time ripe for thoughtful planning. Located at the periphery of several cities and towns – including Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale, Wendell, and Clayton – what is now rural in nature will be affected by the nearby growth and development. This includes growing infrastructure, such as public and private utilities and transportation projects like the I-540 connection. Major questions arise as to how this growth will affect natural resources inside the study area, including the Neuse River, N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, State-recognized natural and cultural heritage sites, and remaining active agricultural land. The goal of this planning process is to involve the community in shaping a response to these changing conditions.

How do I get involved?

Participate in public meetings or if you can’t make it to one, you can lend your voice online. Check this page or follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) to receive notifications once dates are set.

And please don’t hesitate to reach out to Don Belk, the project manager, with any questions, comments, or concerns. Do you have a community group, business, or event you would like us to attend to provide more information? We’d love to hear from you!

Why Should I Get Involved? 

Plans such as the Southeast Special Area Study are a way to shape the future of an area. Planning affects many aspects of everyday life – what kind of housing is available, how we get around, the preservation of natural areas, and much more. Your involvement in the process helps build effective recommendations for the study area. 

Next Steps

The SESSA Project Team will present a report to City Council in late summer 2021 with the community’s response and feedback to our draft recommendations. The City Council will then have the opportunity to refer the study recommendations to the Planning Commission for further review.

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