The City of Raleigh Communications Office accepts records requests online. The automated system contacts staff in the Communications Office as soon as an online form is completed and provides a confirmation email to the submitter. This streamlines the request process for members of the media, residents, and the business community.
Please see if your inquiry falls into any of the common public request categories below, and review our frequently asked questions before submitting a request through our online system.
Step 1: Check to see if record is already available online
Planning and Development Services
- Building Permits and Certificates of Occupancy Records (currently available dating back to 2000)
- Please note the availability of documents for download can vary depending on project date and type.
- Development Records
- Raleigh Police Department Crash Reports
- Fire Code Violation Records
- Hazardous Material/Storage Tank Records
City Council & Board and Commission Meetings
Many other frequently-requested items are available through the Open Data Raleigh Portal.
* Information on Building Permits and Certificates of Occupancy dates back to 2000. Please note the availability of documents for download can vary depending on project date and type.
Step 2: Review frequently asked questions
What is a public record?
In general, a public record is any existing document or record that is made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by the City. These can be actual pieces of paper or electronic records.
I was looking for something that isn’t listed in the common City of Raleigh Records Requests. Are there other organizations that may have the records I need?
Yes! While not a comprehensive list, the City is not involved in weddings, divorces, adoptions, birth certificates, death certificates, or court cases. The organizations listed below may be able to assist you with these types of records.
- Wake County Register of Deeds has information such as marriage, birth and death records.
- Wake County Clerk of Court has information regarding a divorce, traffic violation or other court-related records, such as criminal and civil disputes.
- Wake County Environmental Health has information about wells and septic tanks.
Are there some things people ask for that there are not records for?
North Carolina does not require business licenses, so there are not records related to them. Additionally, while the City uses traffic cameras in several spots in Raleigh, those camera feeds are used only for live monitoring of traffic. There is no recording made from those cameras.
What are some items that do have to be requested?
Great question! Many records from our Planning and Development Services Department have to be requested, such as building violations, zoning site review reports, and code complaints have to be requested. Bid proposals, 9-1-1 calls, unclaimed check information and insurance claim records also have to be requested.
We recognize that having more records online would serve the public better and streamline our work, and we are exploring ways to offer more records through our website and open data program in the future.
What isn’t a public record?
North Carolina law makes many exceptions or exemptions for certain types of records. In addition, it’s important to note that
- The City does not produce analysis or breakdowns upon demand;
- The City does not create new documents upon demand either; and
- Existing documents that comply with the North Carolina Public Records Law are available, but documents are not converted or compiled upon request.
Please note that while a record you are looking for may not exist, that does not mean more information isn’t available. It might be more appropriate to make an appointment to speak with a departmental representative.
How do I request a public record?
It’s easy! Please fill out the form at the bottom of this page
Why am I being asked to fill out a form?
The City uses a ticketing system to track records requests and make sure your request is fulfilled. Requests made via the online form are seen by multiple team members. Should one person fall ill or go on vacation, another team member will be able to complete the task. This system also gives you a point of contact and tracking number for your request, which makes following up easier if you have questions at any point in the process.
How long will it take?
Requests can vary greatly. If you’re asking for a single document that is readily available, turnaround time can be very short. If you’re asking for multiple types or a large number of documents, documents from multiple departments or anything that involves a large amount of data, turnaround time can be extensive.
How far back are public records available? What time frame should I request?
Raleigh has operated with a Council-Manager form of government since 1947. Searching for “all available records” on a given topic will take a significant amount of time, and is likely to be many records that will not be useful to you. In an effort to be responsive to requests without generating unnecessary staff work, we ask for a specific date range for requests.
If a date range is not specified, a default date range of one year prior to the date of submission will be used. If you review the results, and the information you are looking for is not included, we are happy to work with you on a supplemental request.
How do I request emails?
You can request emails using this form at the bottom of this page. The City generates an enormous amount of email, both coming and going, each day. Please be as specific as possible in your email search request. We ask that you provide a list of email addresses, date range, and specific keywords you’d like searched – similar to how you would shape a search engine query – using the format below.
- Key Words:
- Date Range:
If the search criteria you provide are broad, the results may take a very long time to process and may produce such a large number of emails that they are not helpful to you. We’re happy to conduct a search based on your criteria and show you the results of your search.
Requests without these criteria cannot be processed. If you submit a request without either of the first two criteria, you will be contacted and asked to provide this information. If a date range is not specified, a default date range of one year prior to the date of submission will be used.
Please note, emails are provided in the .pst format. This is the format that the Microsoft Outlook environment uses.
Step 3: Complete the Record Request Form
If the record is not already available online, you can request a record be sent to you. We use a ticketing system to track and dispatch these requests. Using this form provides you with a tracking number and a point of contact, and makes it easier for us to process your request and contact you. Thank you for using the utilizing this tool!
*None of the text fields on this form are required. If you prefer not to complete the form, you can make a public records request by calling 919-996-3100 and asking to leave a voice mail for a member of the records request team. Please remember that if you do not share a contact method, we will not be able to get records to you.