Northeast Special Study Area (NESSA) Header


Northeast Special Study Area

Future Strategies for Raleigh’s Urban Service Area

The Northeast Special Area Study is a planning project for approximately 8.5 square miles in northeast Wake County. It focuses on:

  • future land use
  • conservation of natural resources
  • transportation
  • municipal services
  • utility infrastructure

The study area is northeast of Raleigh’s planning jurisdiction. The area roughly bounded by the City of Raleigh to the west, Mitchell Mill Road to the north, Rolesville Road to the east, and Buffaloe Road to the south.

Project Details

Area Plans
Date Range:
Project Lead:
Bronwyn Redus



Bronwyn Redus
Senior Planner
Planning and Development

Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Unit:



Why do a Northeast Special Area Study?

Northeast Special Study Area Location Map

When the Future Land Use Map was adopted as a part of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in 2009, the Northeast Special Study Area was delineated as an area of future growth for Raleigh. At that time, it was decided that the area required additional study and engagement with the community to determine detailed recommendations for land use, infrastructure, and natural resource planning. After a recent increase in rezoning and development approvals near and within the study area boundaries, it is now necessary to complete the Northeast Special Area Study.   

The city completed a similar study of the southeast portion of Raleigh’s urban service area (SESSA or Southeast Special Area Study) in April of 2023. The results included several land use and transportation recommendations to support nodal development and preservation of natural resources. The City Council authorized an expansion of Raleigh’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) and a Rural Overlay Zoning District application in part of this area. Similar strategies may be applicable to the Northeast Special Study Area, to be determined through future study and engagement with the community members.

What’s Next?

The public kickoff for the Northeast Special Area Study is expected in early Fall of 2024. You can return to this webpage for updates on upcoming events and ways to stay involved.