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The project logo Transit Overlay Districts (TC-17-20)

The project logo Transit Overlay Districts (TC-17-20)

This text change proposes amending the existing Transit Overlay District (TOD) regulations and creating a new overlay called Transit Overlay District-Residential (TOD-R). The overlays would be located in Article 5.5 of the UDO. Read the full draft ordinance.





The existing TOD has been part of the UDO since its adoption in 2013. The intent of the overlay was to encourage transit-supportive development around the light rail service that was being planned at that time. The Wake Transit Plan adopted in 2017 abandoned light rail planning and introduced plans for bus rapid transit (BRT) service in Raleigh and Cary. The TOD and TOD-R overlays will provide the appropriate zoning for areas along BRT routes.Visit our website for frequently asked questions about TODThe key elements of each overlay are described below. 


Transit Overlay District (TOD) 

  • Height Bonus: The proposed TOD would allow an increase of 50% in the maximum building height for developments that include affordable housing units. The number of affordable units would vary depending on the height of the development but would be around 12% of total dwelling units. The overlay allows a separate height bonus of 30% for buildings that contain only employment uses, such as offices. 


  • Streetscape, Frontage, Block Perimeter, and Urban Plazas: The TOD overlay requires the most urban streetscape types in the UDO. These are the Main Street and Mixed-Use Street types. Development in the TOD would also be required to meet the requirements of an Urban Frontage. That means parking must be behind buildings, and buildings have to be close to the street. The UDO allows developers to request exemptions to street connectivity requirements, known as Block Perimeter standards, during a rezoning process. That exemption is not allowed in the TOD. Finally, the Urban Plaza style of outdoor amenity is required in the TOD. This type of amenity area is also required in the Downtown Mixed Use (DX) district and sites with Urban Frontages. The Urban Plaza standards encourage amenity areas that connect with the sidewalk and have extra features for pedestrians like benches and trees


  • Treatment of Residential Districts: Residential districts that also have the TOD present will have the normal development standards of the district replaced with the standards from Residential Mixed Use (RX). This means apartments and townhouses would be allowed, and buildings could be as tall as 50 feet. Density would not be regulated directly. Based on the allowed height, density around 20 units per acre would be possible in many locations.


  • Parking: No parking is required in the TOD. There is also a parking maximum of two spaces per dwelling unit.


  • Limited Uses: In the Residential Mixed Use (RX) and Office Mixed-Use (OX) districts, commercial uses like retail, personal services, and restaurants have limited use standards that limit how they can be included in the development. Specifically, some commercial uses are only allowed in these districts if they are in a building with other uses and, for RX, at the corner of two public streets. There are maximum square footages for commercial uses as well. The TOD would exempt many commercial uses from these requirements. This can encourage the establishment of small-scale commercial uses in existing buildings. It can also increase employment and services near transit.


  • Prohibited UsesLand uses that focus on private automobiles are prohibited. These include drive-thrus, car washes, and gas stations. Single-family and two-family housing is also prohibited. Existing single-family and two-family buildings are allowed to remain in place and be repaired or expanded. This prohibition will mostly apply to redevelopment.  


Transit Overlay District-Residential (TOD-R) 

  • Building TypesTownhouses and apartments would be allowed in R-6 where the TOD-R is also mapped. Duplexes would be allowed in R-4 in these locations.


  • Dimensional StandardsDensity in TOD-R is controlled by minimum lot area per unit instead of a number of units per acre. The minimum lot area per unit is slightly lower in TOD-R than it would be in the pending “Missing Middle” text change, TC-5-20. This means density could be slightly higher in TOD-R than in the same residential district without TOD-R. Setbacks would be uniform regardless of building type or zoning district. The size of buildings will be controlled by a maximum floor area ratio (FAR). The FAR is higher for multi-family buildings, giving an incentive to develop more units on the same size lot. The FAR is also set low for detached (single-family) houses to prevent the replacement of small detached houses with very large detached houses.


  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)Attached or internal ADUs are allowed for townhouses in TOD-R. An ADU would not count toward the number of units but would count toward the FAR.  


Public Meeting Schedule

This text change is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on April 27. The Commission may act on that date or refer to their Text Change Committee for further discussion. We will be collecting comments here through April 23. Comments after this date should be submitted directly to

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