Inside of a rehab center

Special Care Facility

Jump To:

Prerequisites Before You Apply Approvals or Permits Issued Key Steps in the Process How to Apply for and Submit an Application Monitor Your Project Paying Fees Next Steps

A Special Care Facility must obtain a permit to operate in the City of Raleigh. The City regulates the location of Special Care Facilities through its zoning ordinances.

A Special Care Facility provides psychosocial rehabilitation, skill development activities, educational services and pre-vocational training and transitional and supported employment services to individuals with severe or persistent mental illness. This includes a rehabilitative clinic and adult rehabilitation center.

Services of a Special Care Facility are designed primarily to serve individuals who have impaired functioning that adversely affects at least two of the following:

  • Employment
  • Management of financial affairs
  • Ability to procure needed public support services
  • Appropriateness of social behavior
  • Activities of daily living


Approval from the Board of Adjustment, if required.

Before You Apply

The property of a Special Care Facility must be zoned in a district that allows the proposed use (i.e., Special Care Facility). The zoning district can be found by using the City of Raleigh GIS iMaps and entering the address of the property. The permitted uses based on zoning district can be found in UDO Section 6.1.4.

Commercial Districts

Special care facilities are listed as a conditional use in commercial districts in Part 10 of the Zoning Code. A facility may require preliminary site approval by the Planning Commission or City Council, depending on location, size, and level of intensity. A special care facility is listed as limited-use in most mixed-use districts in the Unified Development Code (UDO).

Residential Districts

Special care facilities require Special Use Permits from the Board of Adjustment to locate in residential districts. If a property with any base zoning district is located within the Airport Overlay District, a Special Care Facility is prohibited.

Approvals or Permits Issued

Special Care Facility Permit

Key Steps in the Process

To permit a special care facility in a residential district, the Board of Adjustment must conduct a hearing and find evidence establishing that:

  1. The special care facility may not be located within 1,200 feet of another special care facility (determined by a straight line from property line to property line).
  2. These minimum lot areas per enrollee apply:
    a. Residential, Residential-2 and Residential-4 Districts - 1,040 square feet
    b. Residential-6 - 640 square feet
    c. Residential-10 - 240 square feet 
  3. In a residential district , one unlit announcement sign not to exceed two (2) square feet in area and 3 1/2 feet in height is permitted.
  4. Only one vehicle used by the facility will be parked or stored on the premises or residential street.

Additional development standards such as parking, landscaping and lighting may be required.

How to Apply for and Submit an Application

Special Care Facility Applications and required documentation are currently accepted via email only. Please submit your completed application and supporting documentation to

The Special Care Facility along with the supporting documentation must be submitted via email as separate PDF files. (Note: PDF is the only accepted file format)

Email subject lines should include:

  • New Submittals: Indicate “New Submittal” and scope of work (Special Care Faculty zoning permit)
  • Re-submittals: Indicate “Re-submittal” and include your case number and scope of work (Special Care Faculty zoning permit)

Monitor Your Project

Visit the Permit and Development Portal to view your project activity online. Once you have registered an account, you are able to view your project status, pay fees, and schedule inspections.

For a list of frequently asked questions, visit the Permit Portal Help Center.


Paying Fees

  • Permit fee is due when application is accepted for processing. See Development Fee Schedule for current permit fee.
  • Payment types include cash, MasterCard, Visa or check made payable to the City of Raleigh.

Next Steps

Complete an Inspection / Fire Watch Request with the Office of the Fire Marshal.



Current Planning



Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - ZoningZoning

hide translation